Mind the Gap
This website had not been updated since 2017 until recently. That is 4 years ago and those have been 4 very interesting years. The world went topsy-turvey at the results of an election and suddenly all of the best-laid plans vanished. Even with a new President at the helm of the United States, we have been searching for a stable footing within the COVID context. Then it hit us… We would take a small loan to rebuild and instead of building from what we had before we tried a whole new structure and system. Our problem when Trump was elected is that we were counting on USAID funds and the funding structure changed in an instant. Now we will focus on bite-sized, quick-win, sustainable projects. The first brings us back to our senses and reality as women in the world.
Young women miss school every month all over the world because of their periods. In some cases it is because they do not feel well, have cramps or headaches, but in Africa, in most cases, it is because they do not have access to sanitary hygiene products. If someone is left with a decision between food or pads, they will buy food. This is why we have started our “Period Poverty is Poverty, Period” campaign seeking to raise funds to gift young women with self-care kits often called Dignity Kits with 6 reusable menstrual pads and information about their cycles, fertility, and hygiene.
By gifting these Dignity Kits we will be able to gather information and data from the girls. While pads are not what we would typically think of as a technology, it is a local product made by hand on a sewing machine. It is an application of what we refer to as appropriate technology. Using an easy-to-access technology to create something new that is in demand. After establishing relationships with the girls we will begin to have them help us gather user feedback for the pads eventually making our own at each of the three sites (Afrossia, Benin, Kisumu, Western Kenya, and Kwale, Coastal Kenya) more sites to be added as we raise additional funds.
The pads are an entry point where the next technologies to be introduced are one of two options. 3D printers and Flow Beehives. Why 3D printers and Flow Beehives? Because both have enormous potential to be powerful change-making technologies and we have groups of women ready and willing to learn and help us to push the barrier of what we thought we were previously capable of. In our new model, it is the local partners and actors who are our strength rather than us requiring high-cost engineers that require us to constantly grant write leading to less focus on programs. In the new model, we are able to entirely focus on programs and on acting as leaders with an unshakable cause. Because in truth, that is who we are.