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Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon

by Days for Girls International
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Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Women attend DfG Kit distribution
Women attend DfG Kit distribution

At Days for Girls we love to celebrate, and today we are celebrating you!  Thanks to your support, we are able to continue working toward our mission of bringing menstrual solutions and health edcuation to women and girls in some of the most remote and diffiult areas of the world; you are making our vision of reaching Every Girl. Everywhere. Period. possible! 

This past November marked 10 years since the founding of Days for Girls. What started as just one woman testing out washable pad designs has grown into tens of thousands of local leaders mobilizing resources, sewing pads, delivering health education, collecting feedback, and building relationships in more than a hundred twenty countries around the globe. The team in Lebanon has been a shining example of the power of local leadership to create real change in their communities.

As Days for Girls celebrated 10 years, the DfG Lebanon Enterprises joined hands with Days for Girls volunteer teams in Utah to produce and deliver 6,000 DfG Kits to Syrian women and girls living as refugees in Akkar district. This massive effort required global coordination to liaise with partners at the refugee settlements, mobilize women and girls in need of menstrual health solutions, produce more than 6,000 DfG Kits, and ship many of these Kits half way across the world.

Not only did this directly benefit the women and girls who received the DfG Kits and health education, it also empowered the Syrian Enterprise leaders who traveled out to the communities as representatives of DfG. With your support, they had the resources and confidence to step out as leaders and role models for the young women they serve. It has been thrilling to see the progress not only of DfG over the past 10 years, but of these passionate leaders in Lebanon over the past 1 year. Thank you for your support in making it all possible. We can’t wait to share more with you in 2019!

DfG Kits ready to go out!
DfG Kits ready to go out!
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Women's health training
Women's health training

“My friends and I hope to grow our Enterprise and reach more Syrian women. Many of these women lost their husbands and don’t know if they are arrested or dead. We want to help them support their families. We also want to reach the maximum numbers of Syrian and Lebanese women, giving them women’s health training and access to DfG Kits. They finds the Kits very health and eco-friendly, and it saves them money” - Bosayna, DfG Enterprise Member in Lebanon

For many girls and women around the world, a pad is just something you buy, use, and throw away. A period is something you quietly dread – cramps, bloating, fatigue… Or it’s the excuse you use to binge on chocolate! Yet this seemingly simple monthly event – that you might not think much about – has in fact become a doorway to opportunity, connection, and hope. Bosayna is a Syrian refugee who has been living in Lebanon for the past 5 years, and participated in the Days for Girls Enterprise Training program this past April.

By starting a Days for Girls Enterprise, Bosayna has been able to not only earn a small income to help her family, she has also been able to positively impact the girls and women around her through providing access to DfG Kits and women's health education. On top of that, she is now part of a global network of girls and women who are championing women’s health, access to beautiful menstrual products, and local leadership. Her Enterprise, and the two others that were started in Lebanon, are in full swing production mode as they gear up for large-scale distributions in refugee camps this October. The Enterprises will distribute more than 500 DfG Kits in honor of the International Day of the Girl (Oct. 11), and coinciding with the #GlobalGirlsFestival that celebrates 10 years of Days for Girls.

Bosayna is confident that she and her Enterprise have what it takes to make an impact, remarking, “InshaAllah, we can achieve our goal”.

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Participant in the Leadership Launchpad
Participant in the Leadership Launchpad

“Our training was so useful in teaching me how to begin our Enterprise and how to deliver health education for women and girls!” A quote from Firial who is one of 20 women who attended a DfG Leadership Launchpad training in Lebanon this past April thanks to your support.

She is now been busy making and selling DfG Kits and educating other Syrian women and girls in her community on women’s health

Throughout the training, the women – 17 of whom are Syrian Refugees – learned to sew DfG Kits, how to teach the Ambassador of Women’s Health (AWH) training, and how to manage their small business as Enterprise Leaders. The women also learned to conduct basic surveys that will help Days for Girls better understand the impact of menstrual health solutions and women’s health education in these communities.

Since the completion of the training, the women have taught AWH and distributed DfG Kits to more than 850 girls who are living as refugees in Lebanon. And they have just begun! With more distributions scheduled for the coming months, they are eager to continue their work of empowerment.

Firial’s Enterprise name, Tomorrow is More Beautiful, perfectly describes not only her vision for her Enterprise, but her pathway back home. We hope to grow our Enterprise… and we ultimately hope to take this project to Syria when we go back.”

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Enterprise Members from Women Charity League
Enterprise Members from Women Charity League

"I always hear about issues that women face due to lack of personal hygiene, but because of customs and traditions, i cannot always ask about this subject. Now I am very happy because I will be able to understand this informationa scientifically and in a correct way." Fadiyeh speaks with purpose when she imagines the impact that her Enterprise will have in Akkar district for the Syrian refugees in her community. Through the Ambassador of Women's Health training, Fadiyeh is being empowered with the confidence and knowledge she needs to shatter stigmas for women and girls, and support more open dialogue surrounding important women's health issues. 

Navigating the best route to reach Syrian refugees has been both challenging and rewarding as we have explored various partnerships, learned about the cultural, social, and economic context, and puzzled through the supply chain. With the support of Mercy Corps, we were able to conduct a baseline evaluation of menstrual health needs and perceptions of washable pads in early February. Through focus group discussions, facilitators learned that the taboos around menstruation were already slowly started to crack as mothers opened up more to their daughters. However many girls still described their first period as a time that was disturbing, upsetting, or confusing. At the same time, interest in washable pads was mixed as some considered it an old fashioned solution and others were intrigued at the cost-saving and environmental opportunities. It was nearly unanimous that learning a new skill for a small business was a much needed investment for the young women!

Armed with this information, our organizations determined the best way forward was to work directly to the local partners who are operating on the ground. Thus the February trainings were pushed to the end of March as DfG Project Manager, Khayrieh Al Assaad, mobilized our Enterprise Leaders across Akkar district.

In just a few days, the DfG International training team will travel to Akkar to conduct our Leadership Launchpad training program for Enterprises, and conduct our first of many distributions at various refugee camps throughout the district. DfG Kits and fabric are already on their way, and sewing machines have been purchased and are awaiting use. As Fadiyeh says, "I am excited about this project because I will support my family with a small income from sewing, and be able to deliver some health information to Syrian women refugees - and even in a small way preserve the environment." We're excited too, Fadiyeh! 

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Cesi Monroe with DfG Kits ready for travel!
Cesi Monroe with DfG Kits ready for travel!

"All my bags are packed I'm ready to go..." That's the song that's going through our heads at the end of this year as we prepare for the program launch in February! Three team members from Days for Girls International are headed to Tripoli and Saida, Lebanon in February to conduct the training of trainers program with Mercy Corps that will officially kickstart two Enterprises at refugee youth centers. This has been many months in the making, requiring collaboration and cooperation from team members across the globe to map out supply chain, customize and translate training materials, identify project sites, and agree on high-impact deliverables. 

The training of trainers will equip partners at the youth center to conduct DfG Kit distributions, sew & sell DfG Kits locally, and provide women's health education in their communities. With access to a washable, reusable solution, families can save money and girls & women will be able to utilize a sanitary solution they can rely on month after month. Recent follow up data from Kenya showed that one-year post-distribution, 87% of girls were still using their DfG Kits to manage their menstruation. Additional research from Lebanon shows a strong interest in washable pads among mothers and younger teens (with older teens requiring additional education to be convinced). Our wonderful partners at Mercy Corps conducted a basic needs assessment on menstrual hygiene and couldn't wait to get this solution to their centers. 

Not only is this an exciting project in and of itself, but it also has tremendous meaning for the menstrual hygiene movement in the region. The support from GlobalGiving means that, for the first time in DfG history, we will have a permanent presence in the Middle East, providing the ability to reach girls & women across the region! In the past year alone, DfG has received DfG Kit requests from individuals and groups in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and so many other countries. A presence in Lebanon means increased opportunities to meet these needs. And that is something to celebrate!

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Organization Information

Days for Girls International

Location: Mount Vernon, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @daysforgirls
Project Leader:
Erin Hale
Mr. Vernon, Washington United States
$73,205 raised of $130,000 goal
 
1,085 donations
$56,795 to go
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