June 20, 2019

World Refugee Day 2019: ‘Your Period, Your Voice’

Joy Kauffman, MPH

 It's World Refugee Day 2019: ‘Your Period, Your Voice’
New initiative to launch in refugee settlements giving women and girls an opportunity to manage their periods with dignity.

On 20 June, a new initiative; ‘Your Period, Your Voice’ will launch and distribute 900 AFRIpads Deluxe Menstrual Kits will begin in refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. The campaign launch is in commemoration of World Refugee Day and is a joint collaboration between AFRIpads, Lunapads and FARM STEW. The initial donation of 200 kits will take place today with an initial focus on school-aged girls. Following the initial donation on World Refugee Day, AFRIpads and FARM STEW will work together through end-user monitoring and evaluation on the impact of providing reusable sanitary pads in refugee settings alongside an education curriculum.

Margaret Dipio, a FARM STEW trainer on our Refugee Outreach Team explains the value and use of AFRIpads to the girls. Later more than 200 received them! 

Today, to acknowledge World Refugee Day, a new initiative; ‘Your Period, Your Voice’ is looking to give refugee women and girls an opportunity to manage their periods with dignity. The initiative will launch in Adjumani and will see over 200 school aged girls within the refugee settlements Boroli and Pagirinya receive an AFRIpads Deluxe Menstrual Kit, underwear, soap, and an educational Girl Talk comic book.

‘Your Period, Your Voice’ will be rolled out on 20 June and over the coming months involve:

A donation of over 900 AFRIpads Deluxe Menstrual Kits (3 x maxi, 1 x super maxi reusable pads and a storage pouch). An MHM education and sensitization toolkit to break taboo and stigma around the topic of menstruation. A Monitoring and Evaluating component to assess quantitive and qualitative impact of the initiative – and to ensure we are giving a voice to refugee women and girls on their MHM challenges, preferences and needs. AFRIpads is a social enterprise that specializes in the local manufacture and global supply of reusable sanitary pads as a cost-effective, feminine hygiene solution. Having reached over 3.5 million women and girls with its AFRIpads Menstrual Kits, AFRIpads understands that providing a product solution alone does not address the complex needs of girls and women during menstruation.

The monitoring and evaluation aspect of the initiative will use the AFRIpads tried and tested mobile application to build a deeper understanding of specific menstrual challenges and needs within Northern Uganda refugee settlements. The outcome of this report will then aim to raise awareness on a global scale and will contribute to existing data which includes results from a pilot study in 2018 with AFRIpads and UNHCR in South Western Uganda.

Sarah Sullivan, Marketing and Communications Lead at AFRIpads, said:

“Over half of the world experiences menstruation yet women and girls still face extraordinary barriers simply because of their periods. This is further exasperated within refugee settings. As a result, AFRIpads is honored to be working with Lunapads and Farm Stew on a menstrual health management (MHM) initiative whose sole focus is to ensure we give refugee girls and women their voice to highlight what they need to manage their period with dignity.

“Almost 10 years of experience in the menstrual hygiene space has taught us that in order to improve the way women and girls manage their period, we need to provide more than just a product. Uganda is currently the second largest refugee hosting country in the world and also home to the AFRIpads factory so we look forward to working directly with refugee women and girls on this holistic menstrual health approach.”

Joy Kauffman, MPH, Founder FARM STEW International, said:

“Many women and girls have, for far too long, not had a dignified way to manage their menstrual hygiene. FARM STEW Uganda and International are pleased to partner with AFRIpads and Lunapads to provide freedom from shame!

“Our joint initiative, ‘Your Period, Your Voice’ will transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable women and girls. By hearing directly from refugees, we will be certain that their shame is eliminated and dignity restored.”

Lunapads, the Canadian organization specializing in washable menstrual pads and underwear, is funding this donation via their #One4Her partnership with AFRIpads.

Jane Hope, spokesperson for Lunapads, said:

“Lunapads is proud to bring sustainable, dignified periods to anyone who needs it. Refugees are particularly challenged in finding reliable menstrual supplies, and as always, we’re proud to partner with AFRIpads in this important work.”

Posted by 
Joy Kauffman, MPH
Joy is the passionate founder of FARM STEW.