UNICEF & Stayfree® help educate over 1.7 million girls on Menstrual Hygiene Management across India
Stayfree® has been a pioneer in creating menstrual hygiene awareness among young girls and women. The brand, in association with UNICEF, has educated over 1.7 million girls on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) for the last seven years. The initiative helped strengthen the adoption of MHM guidelines across states like UP, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, MP, Rajasthan, and Assam by empowering 10,000 + trainers to ensure the program became self-sustaining.
The initiative also gave momentum to MHM-friendly schools known as menstrual hygiene labs in selected schools in Uttar Pradesh, to reduce dropout rates of girls entering their menarche cycle. Stayfree® has helped scale up UNICEF’s efforts through consistent on-ground efforts and high-impact campaigns backed by its understanding of the menstrual hygiene space, across the period of the partnership.
Commenting on their long-standing association, Manoj Gadgil, Vice President, Marketing, Johnson & Johnson - Consumer Health, India said, “Stayfree® has always believed in normalizing period conversations and promoting best practices for Menstrual Hygiene Management and our partnership with UNICEF is a testament to the brand’s steadfast commitment to this core belief. The brand has built a strong ecosystem through targeted initiatives such as #PeriodAmbassadors wherein efforts of young girls and their fathers who have made a difference were acknowledged and celebrated through various initiatives. Stayfree® has brought about a significant cultural shift amongst local communities, debunking myths around period taboos, and giving impetus to open conversations on improved menstrual hygiene practices. In partnership with UNICEF, the brand will continue to strive towards the objective of bringing about sustainable, long-term social change in society.”
Commenting on the partnership, Nicolas Osbert, Chief WASH at UNICEF India said “UNICEF recognizes the need to break the silence that surrounds menstruation by imparting appropriate knowledge – not limited to girls and women, but also men and boys on the importance of menstrual hygiene, empowering girls to talk freely about menstruation and facilitating behaviour change. UNICEF works with partners like Stayfree®, reaching over 1.7 million girls with awareness-raising interventions, sensitizing and engaging more than 10,000 trainers across states to support menstrual hygiene management practices.”
The initiative encompasses various grass root level interventions to create awareness about menstrual hygiene, including the creation of children-friendly MHM content to build resonance amongst the target group. This initiative has helped raise awareness to facilitate easier communication, greater understanding and more importantly fostered community dialogue. To ensure this program is self-sustaining, capacity-building programs with sufficient support is extended to trainers.
Bihar & Uttar Pradesh:
In Bihar, alliances with stakeholders such as State level CSO partners, teacher’s forums and Government counterparts, played a key role in mobilization of people on MHM. These alliances successfully reached out to more than 80,000 women and children directly through various activities including RedDotChallenge, online webinars, online Quiz, poems and article competitions, Facebook live talk show etc.
In Uttar Pradesh for effective planning and implementation of different MHM activities and to raise awareness among the community, 3,507 stakeholders of Varanasi and Mirzapur district were trained/oriented on various MHM topics.
Across Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, more than 50,000 rural SHG women and 1 lakh adolescent girls have been reached with MHM messages on proper hygiene during menstruation, usage of safe products apart from breaking taboos around MHM. Around 23,524 and 26,161 community adolescent girls and women (mothers/SHG members) were reached by Se-Va Dal Leaders/Federation Champions/FLWs to promote safe and hygienic menstrual practices respectively. 10,421 Males of Sewapuri block-oriented for MHM enabling environment.
The company continues to educate young girls through such initiatives thereby, generating awareness and encouraging them to discuss the subject at home as well as their peers. A successful example of one of the many lives touched upon by Stayfree® through the MHM is Basant Lal from Mirzapur, a father of eight daughters. His daughter, Priya Devi became a peer educator on menstrual health management, for a project by UNICEF, supported by Johnson and Johnson, in her village, he provided complete support and even attended menstrual health workshops led by her. Today, Basant Lal continues to be an ardent supporter of menstrual health for girls in the village.