A Bangalorean NGO has started a fellowship that aims to educate 1 million girls and women about various issues surrounding menstrual health and hygiene.
The recently released NFHS data for 2015-2016 reveals that only 57.6 percent of women between the ages 15 to 24 use hygienic methods of menstrual protection. The survey doesn’t have figures on what methods women outside this age group use, but it’s clear that menstrual hygiene, and access to and awareness of safe menstrual hygiene practices, is a pressing issue we still need to grapple with.
And while many inroads have been made into this field, particularly over the last few years which seemed to show a sharp rise in interest in matters relating to menstruation (from pad distribution projects to menstrual art), there’s still plenty of work to be done, and this new fellowship aims to contribute to the project.
Sukhibhava’s Period Fellowship will train 40 individuals from diverse fields to educate 1 million girls in various regions all over India. The project currently focuses on Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune, and four districts in Karnataka – Kalaburagi, Hubballi, Belagavi and Mysuru.
Unlike other menstrual hygiene projects, the Period Fellowship isn’t concerned with manufacturing or distributing pads. As Dilip Kumar Pattubala, co-founder of Sukhibhava, said to The News Minute, this project is more concerned with really changing the stigmas and misunderstandings around menstruating, to spread awareness about hygiene and increase accessibility to hygiene products in a sustainable way.
After a three-week training program, Period Fellows will be deployed to various regions that they’re assigned to, to really get a sense of the “menstrual hygiene ecosystem in India”. The hope is that with that kind of sustained and immersive training, they’d be able to run their own menstrual hygiene initiatives after completing the fellowship.
The Period Fellowship pays a stipend of Rs 30,000 per month. While the official application dates have passed, they’re currently accepting applications. Check out their website here.