Menstrual Hygiene Week with AASW | Aga Khan Academies

Menstrual Hygiene Week with AASW

29 May 2019
Affordable and Accessible Sanitation for Women (AASW), will be celebrating menstrual hygiene week from 26 May to 02 June! This year they have collaborated with Operation Period to host 15 events in 4 countries namely, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya, and the USA. The aim of the week is to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene and break the prevalent taboo and social stigma surrounding menstruation. 

According to the World Bank in 2018, 500 million girls around the world didn’t have access to menstrual hygiene. These girls use old rags, cloth, leaves, tissues, blankets when they’re on their reproductive cycle. Some of these girls lock themselves up in a room, miss school and don’t carry out their daily activities when they are on their reproductive cycle. Menstruation is also seen as taboo in our societies and girls face a lot of social stigmas globally. Sadly, because of not having access and all the social stigma and taboo, these girls are trapped in the vicious poverty cycle that is passed on from generations to generations.

Back in 2017, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I watched a very inspiring documentary by Al Jazeera named “India’s Menstruation Man”. With little knowledge about the reproductive cycle, I had a short conversation with my mum and found that when she was small just like so many girls around the world, she didn’t have proper access to menstrual hygiene. Keeping that in mind, and blending in my altruistic nature, my skills, values, passion to bring change, all lead me to launch Affordable and Accessible Sanitation for Women (AASW) as part of my Personal Project an initiative that aims in giving girls access to menstrual hygiene globally and breaking the taboo and stigmatization that surrounds menstruation as a topic.

Affordable and Accessible Sanitation for Women (AASW) in collaboration with Tunaweza Women with Disabilities produces and distributes sanitary packages that are reusable, cost-effective, environmentally friendly and embarrassment-free. These packages last for up to 3 years, are 100% biodegradable, cost between $3 to $5 and the best part about it is that it doesn’t even look like an ideal sanitary pad. AASW also applies a uniquely sustainable and exponential approach that equips girls with the necessary skills and knowledge to not only give themselves but also give them communities access to menstrual hygiene. In the longer run, AASW aims to create entrepreneurial opportunities to empower girls to take themselves out of the vicious poverty and help the rest of their community get access to menstrual hygiene.

Since 2017, AASW has been working with a total of 300 girls to get access to menstrual hygiene with 7 different teams in 6 different countries, namely; Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan, India, Nigeria (in collaboration with Spark Inspire) and UAE. AASW has also had over 25,000 engagements on our social media platforms on our various awareness campaigns such as the #myperiodstory and #AASWFactoftheWeek. AASW also holds various events and session to spread awareness and educate people such as the AASW Community Circle.

In the next 12 months, AASW aims to reach out to 51, 000 girls, get registered as a non-profit, continue breaking the social stigma and taboo, and continue to spread awareness and educate people about menstruation.

Schedule for this week: 

Tuesday 28 May: Fact of the Day + Treasure Hunt 2 prizes) + photo booth + Thought Chart + lunch time surprise

Wednesday 29 May: Fact of the Day + Treasure Hunt + Word Search

Thursday 30 May: Fact of the Day + Treasure Hunt + assembly performance

Friday 31 May: Fact of the Day + Treasure Hunt 

Friday 07 June: "7 days a month. Period" event (paid and open to the pubilc), more information to follow soon. 

Treasure Hunt Details: Each day of the week, you will receive a clue through your mentor that will lead you to find things that are found in the AASW Reusable Sanitary Package. The person who finds a treasure on each day will receive a Tuckshop voucher worth Ksh.200 and the person who finds the most treasure throughout the week will win a bigger prize. Ask any of the AASW members and executives for any clarifications. 

We are hoping for you to fully participate in all our activities as we come together to spread awareness about menstruation and break the taboo and social stigma surrounding menstruation as a topic. 

By Ziyaan Virji (DP1).

Read about the development of this project here.

Follow their Facebook page for more updates @AffordableandAccesibleSanitationforWomen