As normal as menstruation cycle is among women, hiding the issue in the name of shame or sin is equally normal in Nepalese rural community. Considered as a major taboo, women are forbidden to discuss about it publicly especially among the presence of male and undergo various restrictions in touching different places. The sense of impurity and shamefulness is so deeply subsisted in people that have kept women away from basic awareness about menstrual hygiene. Women are still using cloth pieces during the menstrual period being prone to infections and not being able to put their views about menstruation openly. This has not only subordinated rural women in present time but has bounded them from not enjoying their reproductive rights properly.
ICA Nepal in the realization of the high time for menstrual awareness, has taken a step forward by training the local women to produce sanitary napkins on their own. Total 10 women were trained on producing the local cost sanitary napkins on August 2016. The training led ahead to start their own micro enterprise where women will be handling the production and sales of the napkins. This is a highly remarkable steps of ICA Nepal towards addressing one of the major women health issue and promoting menstrual hygiene as well as empowering women economically and encouraging local entrepreneurship.
Following the training of production of sanitary napkins, the five days long promotion, sales and marketing training was also provided for 25 more women from this 17th-21st November, 2016. The training focused on teaching various aspects of marketing to the women group, on developing marketing strategies and promoting their products to local area. The training resulted being very effective which enhanced the participant’s confidence and knowledge on their product.
The major point we want to highlight here is that this small initiation is not only focused on providing the income generation platform to the women but on bringing the bigger change in society. The proper promotion of sanitary napkins will ensure the change in practice of using hygienic products, increased awareness on local and individual level about menstrual hygiene and reduce the tendency of oppressing menstruation talks. The training period showed itself how women can open her mind if the male members help to create a comfortable environment to discuss these issues. Women can come out of their boundaries and take the lead to create better change in the society.
ICA Nepal thus hopes to empower women to bring the healthy change in this traditionally misleading practice. We vision for the day where women will free themselves from the tag of impurities during menstruation and be responsible towards her menstrual and reproductive health. ICA Nepal will be expanding its approaches in other innovative ways to reach more rural communities for promotion of menstrual hygiene in coming future as well in which we hope we will have all of your support.
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