Using the power of technology and low cost innovation to tackle the problem of menstrual hygiene management of Internally Displaced Persons.
What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)
A lot of women and girls in IDP camps cannot afford menstrual hygiene management products to keep them safe during their menstrual period. Most of them resort to using leaves, paper or even rags for their period which is highly unhygienic. Most of the girls also miss between 3 to 5 days of school each month because they cannot afford the menstrual hygiene management products needed to manage their period. This has had serious health and educational consequences like getting infected with various reproductive and urinary tract disease, falling behind in class, being held back or dropping out of school. Some others resort to risky behaviors like transactional sex to pay for essential items like menstrual pad, which increases a girl’s vulnerability to premature sexual debut, early or unplanned pregnancy, child marriage and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. Not having access to menstrual management products keeps women from participating in socio‐economic activities when on their periods, resulting in a loss of economic activity in their communities as well as disenfranchisement of the women.
The WiseUp Initiative Period Kits uses the power of mobile technology and low-cost innovation to tackle the problem of menstrual hygiene management. The Period Kit offers a pack of 5 low cost reusable sanitary pad accompanied by a menstrual tracker available as a mobile service which helps women to monitor the cycle and allow them to manage their sexual and reproductive health with information and independence. We also teach women, girls, men and boys how to make reusable pads and about menstrual health education in an attempt to break the taboo around speaking about menstruation and dispel the misinformation spread about this natural process. The Pads are produced locally in by local women from local materials which are antimicrobial treated making them very affordable. The pads are easy to wash and reusable, for at least 12 months.
A description on how Period Kits Work and what we hope to achieve
Geography of focus (500 characters)
The Project will be implemented at the 4 IDP camps in Abuja namely Lugbe IDP Camp, Area One IDP Camp, New Kuchingoro IDP Camp and Durumi IDP Camp. I have chosen these communities because they are one of the most neglected by the government and a needs assessment of their needs shows that menstrual hygiene management products and education are high priority.
Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)
Our idea builds many bridges: the women and girls and their access to menstrual hygiene management product and education. Our primary goal is to see every woman and girl live a life of dignity. We would create employment and support the local economy. The project will not only offer economic empowerment to the women but also provide health awareness within the communities so women and girls can access proper hygienic methods to manage their menstrual health and hygiene.
What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)
We do not have many organizations that are committed to ensuring sustainable dignity of women and girls in IDP Camps in Nigeria especially in the area of menstrual hygiene management. Other initiatives that are committed to menstrual hygiene management give disposable pads which are not sustainable for the women as there is lack of regular supply. Our idea offers a sustainable model for ensuring that every woman and girl lives a life of dignity and their menstrual health is adequately managed. This is done through the use of the reusable menstrual pad which is accompanied by a menstrual tracker available as a mobile service which helps women to monitor the cycle and allow them to manage their sexual and reproductive health with information and independence. We also teach women and girls how to make reusable pads and about menstrual health education in an attempt to break the taboo around speaking about menstruation and dispel the misinformation spread about this natural process.
What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)
With the current problem of lack of affordable menstrual hygiene management products, the implementation of our solution will bring about a solution to the problem thereby bringing about a reduction in the number of women and girls who get infected with diseases and infection acquired due to the use of dangerous and infective materials. There would also be a reduction in the number of girls who fall behind in class, being held back or drop out of school. transactional sex, premature sexual debut, early or unplanned pregnancy, child marriage and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS will also reduce in the community. women and girls will live a healthier life of dignity and pride. With the implementation of this project, more women and girls will participate in socio‐economic activities resulting increased economic activity in their communities.
What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)
During my community health rural rotation, I met a school girl who was hawking groundnut. I stopped her to buy groundnut from her. While she was selling the groundnut to me, we got talking about her education and she mentioned to me about her plans to also become a medical doctor. During the course of our discussion, she told me about how she wished she was a boy because of her absenteeism in school during her menses. She told me how she misses school at least 3 times in a month and how it is really affecting her academics as her parents cannot afford the disposable sanitary pads. We both did a calculation of the number of classes missed in a year and we realized that for every 3 days missed in school when 8 lessons taught in a day over the 9 months in a school year, she’ll have missed 216 lessons in a single year. She also told me how some of her friends resort to using paper, leaves and rags for their menses which causes infections. Since then, I committed myself ending this problem.
Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)
Lugbe IDP Camp and Area One IDP Camp also has over 1000 women and girls, New Kuchingoro IDP Camp and Durumi IDP Camp both have over 3000 women and girls. Most women in the IDP camps are victims of the Boko Haram terrorist and security insurgencies in Borno, Maiduguri, Jos and some other northern states and cities in Nigeria. They trauma of the terrorist attacks has been traumatizing for them and a lot of them are still finding it hard to forget. Most of them do not have jobs and skills that can help them to be economically independent making them not able to afford basic needs especially menstrual products. Our project will not only provide them with reusable pads that can be used for up to 12 months but we will also teach them how to make reusable pads and about menstrual health education in an attempt to break the taboo around speaking about menstruation and dispel the misinformation spread about this natural process.
How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)
Most of the women who will be working on these projects are members of the community who are currently affected by the problem of lack of menstrual hygiene management product or have been affected by the problem. Through this project, we would provide training and assistance to community health extension workers, community seamstress and other women in the community who will be helping us in its implementation. Most of the community women will be adequately trained as they could easily eradicate the cultural and potential trust barriers we might likely encounter with community members. This project will also create employment and empowerment opportunity for community members who will be involved in various task involved in the implementation of the project. This project will also create a platform for us to work closely with school heads and teachers thereby effective tackling the problem of absenteeism of girls in school.
What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)
We will use a simple and effective partnership model to bring our project to these IDP Camps. The WiseUp Initiative has established partnerships with organizations which are also addressing sexual and reproductive health issues and menstrual hygiene management for the production and distribution of the Period kits and menstrual hygiene management education.
Partnership: Technology partners: We hope to work with InfoTek Perspective Services towards incorporating the menstrual tracker to our pad.
Implementation partners: We would work closely with The MindSet Initiative and The Gender Network in the production of the reusable pads and teaching the girls how to make reusable pad and menstrual hygiene management.
Human resource partners: We would work closely with the Department of community health at the Local Government Office and the Nigeria Medical Students Association.
What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing
Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled
Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing
Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries
Idea Proposal Stage
Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.
Group or Organization Name
The WiseUp Initiative
Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)
The WiseUp Initiative, founded by Dr. Olabode Ekerin is a non-governmental organization committed to increasing access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for all Nigerians through education, advocacy, research and capacity building. Our human centered and innovative approach to solving sexual and reproductive health issues of women and girls especially menstrual hygiene management makes us a disrupter. Our interest in menstrual hygiene management is stemmed out of our undying passion towards seeing a Nigeria where every woman and girl lives a life of dignity and no girl is limited by her period. Other member of the team includes Dr. Lawal – Akapo Anifat, a medical doctor and sexual and reproductive health expert, Dr. Aroworade Samuel who is also a medical doctor and sexual and reproductive health expert, Adelaja Aderinsola, an unapologetic feminist and final year medical student with strong interest in Public Health and Nima Jinadu, a physiologist with interest.
Type of submitter
We are a registered Non-Profit Organization
Organization Headquarters: Country
Organization Headquarters: City / State