Days for Girls International

Creating a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions.
Dec 22, 2016

The Big Difference of a Small Thing

Amel Association training
Amel Association training
  • 2 waterproof shields,
  • 8 flannel liners,
  • 2 baggies,
  • 1 soap,
  • 1 washcloth,
  • 2 underpants, one cloth drawstring bag.

The DfG Kit costs $12-$15 to create. Small but mighty. As 2016 comes to a close, we reflect on the impact our project has made for Syrian women.

Over the last year, we were able to get 3,140 DfG Kits to women in need throughout Lebanon. Partners like ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid), IRC, Akkar Network for Development, and Mercy Corps made it possible to get DfG Kits into informal refugee settlements and remote areas where it would not have been possible otherwise. Over 100 women have been trained to sew DfG shields for themselves and family/friends, and our friends at ANERA have created two micro-enterprises to help get DfG Kits to women quicker than waiting for volunteers to bring them from abroad! Not only will these women help their sisters in need, they will be earning a small income for themselves as well.

In the year ahead, we will continue to distribute and support Syrian women who have fled to Lebanon, but we will be expanding our reach. As 2016 ends, we have been busily working to connect with new partners in Turkey, Jordan, Greece, and inside Syria itself. Some of our goals for 2017 include:

  • Distribution at least 10,000 DfG Kits to Syrian refugees
  • Assist the Lebanese micro-enterprises in expanding their production and creating a solid supply chain
  • Partnerships with NGOs working in formal camps in Amman, Jordan
  • Equip the Amel Association Community Center (Beirut) with sewing machines and fabrics for their beneficiaries to make their own DfG shields and liners (we have already trained a seamstress to teach there)
  • Coordinate distriubutions with DfG Muscat and DfG Dubai, and assist them as needed financially for projects involving Syrian refugees in their countries
  • And my personal goal: to get DfG Kits into the hands of the Syria Civil Defense's ("White Helmets") two all-female teams

The support of Global Giving donors has made all of this possible and will continue to keep us going through 2017 and beyond. The struggle for Syrian women today is enormous. We will ease their burden by giving them one less thing to worry about! We do not want any woman to have to decide between food and pads. We do not want any woman to feel undignified or unclean because of lack of sanitary supplies. We will be there.

Dec 22, 2016

Reflecting On 2016

Christine, Micro-Enterprise Leader from Kira, UG
Christine, Micro-Enterprise Leader from Kira, UG

“I have always had the passion of sewing. I love selling the DfG Kits because I get an income, but also I feel people value the Kits if they have contributed something towards it.” Christine from Kira, Uganda is just one of the incredible Micro-Enterprise Leaders who got her start in 2016. As the draws to a close, we have taken this time to reflect on the incredible progress that our teams have been able to make with the support of our Global Giving network. This has been a year of tremendous growth and strategic planning, always asking ourselves how we can do better and reach more girls with access to sustainable hygiene and health solutions.

Our Enterprise Team was able to finalize a set of training resources that have supported our Country offices to further develop our Micro-Enterprise model. The Micro-Enterprise model allows local women to start their own small businesses making and selling the DfG Kit, which in turn provides sustainable access for their communities while also generating an income source for the women themselves. A partnership with Projet Juene saw this model expand all the way to Madagascar, where they have trained a group of women to sew and sell the DfG Kit. In Toliara, Madagascar, yet another Micro-Enterprise has blossomed to meet the needs of women in the southwest.

Across the continent in Ghana, our passionate leaders, Bernice and Prince, have been tirelessly moving around the country training girls to make their own DfG Kits, along with essential women’s health education. Overnight bus rides, rattling minibuses, and bumpy dirt roads haven’t been able to stop them yet. In just the five months that they’ve launched this training program, they have been able to directly reach over 1,200 girls. And they are on target for an even bigger impact in 2017!

Our Uganda team also saw tremendous growth in their third year of operations, directly reaching over 13,000 girls and women in 2016, a 60% increase from 2015. 1,000 of those girls reside in the Karamoja region of Uganda – one of the most rural and underserved regions in the country. Through the two-day training program, these out-of-school teens learned a new sewing skill, along with important health education they can teach to family and friends. At the end of a recent training, a loud commotion drew the training team outside. They found one of the training participants, a girl of just 15, surrounded by her friends on the pathway towards home. She had just thwarted the assault of a stranger using the self-defense moves she had learned that same day in the training program. An incredible, if deeply unsettling indication of just how critical this education is.

It is the support of Global Giving that makes this kind of direct impact possible, changing lives one Kit at a time, and building empowered communities, with each leader trained! In the words of Christine, “most of all, I love providing a valuable solution the women and girls of Kira.” Thank you to our Global Giving family, for providing such valuable solutions to women and girls around the world. We can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring!

Girls celebrating their DfG Kits in northern Ghana
Girls celebrating their DfG Kits in northern Ghana
Micro-Enterprise Leader in Madagascar
Micro-Enterprise Leader in Madagascar
Sep 30, 2016

Looking Through the Business Lens

Jane at her graduation from DfG University
Jane at her graduation from DfG University

Maracha lies in the north-western corner of Uganda, just on the border of Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a small and rural district settled into the West Nile Region of Uganda. A dry and arid setting, the landscape is both beautiful and vast. And within Maracha District resides an especially spectacular lady – Jane, and beautiful and determined school-teacher with a passion for both girls and for health. Jane attended the November 2015 Session of DfG University – our two-week residential training program that helps women launch their own small businesses making and selling DfG Kits (washable pads).  From the moment she arrived, Jane emerged as a leader in her class, generating smiles and laughter in every session.

 

Admittedly, we were a little bit nervous about Jane’s business prospects when she returned home. The West Nile region is one of the poorest in Uganda, and many families do not have disposable income for items other than the necessities. On top of that, gender equality is a particularly challenging issue in this area, where women are given little agency to advocate for their needs within the home. So, we were nothing short of blown away when we checked in with Jane just 4 months later.

 

A site visit to Jane showed us that she had mobilized a small army of women to help her sell the DfG Kits all over her community. She had sold her entire starter pack of 50 Kits – and not all in one go to a big organization, but one by one to the actual women and girls who would go on to use them. That is 50 women and girls who no longer have to worry about what they will use. 50 women and girls who can go about their days with ease and comfort when they are menstruating. 50 women and girls who lift their heads high with the pride of having purchased their very own DfG Kit. This was an incredible turning point that showed us the possibility and the potential of empowering women with business to improve health and hygiene in their communities!

 

We have worked tirelessly in the past year to refine our Enterprise training resources so that we can promote sustainable, long-lasting access points for menstrual hygiene products and education. It is our vision to see local women owning this process and being the ambassadors for menstrual hygiene in their communities, and with women like Jane, this is coming to fruition. The support from Global Giving has helped us employ local Ugandan women to go out and train other women, and to provide critical reproductive health and hygiene education to girls and mothers. 

Close up of DfG Kit Components
Close up of DfG Kit Components
DfG Team discusses program strategy & planning
DfG Team discusses program strategy & planning
 
   

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