Awareness using different technologies..
GOONJ has been working on the issue of menstrual hygiene for the past decade. Our aim is four fold;
- To reach Goonj’s MY Pad, a clean piece of cloth as sanitary pad, to the most un-der-served women struggling for the basics of life in the deep interiors of India.
- Initiate a dialogue in urban and rural India, on menses related taboos and myths to help spread awareness about the related health and hygiene issues to women and adolescent girls.
- Reach out more cloth to the poorest of the poor communities so that families have more surplus cloth which the women can use for menses.
- To highlight menses and sanitary napkins as an ignored basic need (of women) in the development sector and to the government.
Our strategy; GOONJ’s ‘Not Just a Piece of Cloth’ (NJPC) initiative starts with providing a physical product but stresses more on long term change in practices, behavior, education & replication. Developed with indigenous processes, out of old cloth contributed by the urban masses, the clean pad is provided at a reasonable cost while we also teach the user women to make it one on their own.
Goonj’s holistic approach
Goonj initiates discussion among urban masses on the issue; Urban women and masses have instinctive empathy, understand the universal need, they also have have surplus cloth which they need to discard.
Goonj acts as a facilitator; collects clothes, sorts clothes into wearable and unwearable, value adds by making MY Pads out of un-wearable cloth. Rural grassroots organizations help with spreading awareness and distributing MY Pads. Women learn about menses related health and hygiene issues and get MY Pads and undergarments. Women and their families work on their development issues under Goonj’s Cloth for Work initiative to get wearable cloth, which they can use later as sanitary pads…
Why cloth pads?
Because they are;
- Easily available
- Easily disposable
- Biodegradable, environment friendly
- Easily replicable
- No technological or big financial investment required
About MY Pad; Instead of trying to introduce a new product or a new design, it’s an improvisation and mass scale replication of the existing usage pattern. We are simply removing the risk elements of the existing practices, improving upon and doing a lot of value addition in terms of cleanliness and awareness.
Latest Update; In 2013 when the scenic state of Uttarakhand faced one of the worst floods in India’s history, Goonj was there to provide large scale relief material. In the second phase we are working on various aspects of rehabilitation, one of the focus areas is to reach out to young girls in schools and women living in far flung parts of the state through the NJPC programme.Organising meetings, reaching out My Pads and undergarments and making them a part of the dialogue around menses related taboos, myths and health and hygiene related issues has been a priority… More on our website www.goonj.org
- Changing mindsets around taboos and myths is a time taking work.
- Resources are needed primarily to spread the idea widely.
- We need more forums to highlight the issue,
- Need transport support to spread it deeper,
- More volunteers to organize camps.
- Need a bigger network of motivated NGO’s and civil sector organizations in urban and rural India to replicate the idea on their own level.
- Need to find ways of tapping into vast quantities of cloth sitting idle in urban homes across the country.
Some recognition on Not Just a Piece of Cloth:
- Feb’12: GOONJ won ‘Edelgive’ award in health & well- being category
- May’10: ‘Innovation for India’ award by Marico for developing innovative solution by using old cloth and other material.
- June’09: Not just a piece of cloth won GOONJ’s third Changemaker’s Innovation Award
- March 2009: CNN IBN’s ‘Real Heros’ award to Anshu Gupta in women welfare segment.
- March 2008: GOONJ won India NGO of the year award in a nationwide search & selection by Resource Alliance.
- May 2007: GOONJ’s sanitary pad project ‘Not just a piece of cloth’ won World Bank’s Global Development Market Place Award.
Awareness among school girls
Happy to receive My-PADs
Menstrual Hygiene Exhibition
Awareness among schools