During our many phone interviews throughout the planning stages of this year’s Kenya immersion trip, the WWANC team and I decided to offer two menstrual hygiene workshops to the members. Last Thursday, on our final full day in Kakamega, we successfully conducted workshops on pad-making and menstrual cups.
Monica Hernandez kicked off the sessions with an empowering recap of why women get their menstrual cycles and how they are not shameful. She encouraged discussion amongst the group and let them share their personal experiences. She ended her portion of the workshop with an environmentally friendly message – teaching the women how to compost the pad materials when the time comes to retire them. I was excited to Learn about the pad-making process by a local Kenyan woman named Mary. Not only did the women relate well to her, but she also offered realistic solutions such as where to buy the products to make the menstrual pads.
I am proud to say that Women’s Global Connection formed a partnership with The Hello Cup, a menstrual cup company based out of New Zealand, earlier this year. The talented women at 261 Fearless put me in contact with the woman-owned business after a Skype call regarding WWANC starting their own chapter of the all-woman’s running group. After a conversation on the WGC mission and projects in Kenya, Mary Bond, Girl Boss at The Hello Cup, generously decided to donate 200 menstrual cups to the project! I was so excited to present information about the product to the women and encourage them to spread the word to the women in their lives. As I have presented such information before, (formally in previous workshops, and informally to anyone who will listen) I knew I had a task ahead of me. The cups aren’t an easy sell, at first, but once people get passed the shock phase, they tend to really like the idea. Such was the case for this group! It’s always entertaining to see people’s reactions when you demonstrate the process. Not unlike myself, I think people love how eco-friendly and sustainable the concept is. The cups can last up to ten years and with the right hygienic practices are completely safe. I was so happy to see the women develop an interest in the cups, and eventually become excited about sharing the information with their daughters, sisters, and mothers. Similar to the message Monica conveyed in her presentation, I reminded them of the importance of talking about menstrual hygiene and encouraged them to confide in each other, WWANC, and WGC whenever they have questions, concerns, and curiosities.
The WWANC team will be partnering with schools to conduct trainings and distribute cups to young girls and women who currently have limited access to safe menstrual health solutions and education. This is a revolutionary step in the empowerment of young women!
Author: Tamarra K. Mencey