International Medical Corps has been transforming local rural knowledge and behaviours in Zimbabwe through 'Community Health Clubs'. We are currently leading on over 300 clubs across Zimbabwe. After consulting club participants, International Medical Corps has identified an urgent need to improve menstrual hygiene management practices in rural Zimbabwe. Menstruating women are largely excluded from public and family life, and often use harmful materials for menstrual management.
A combination of issues have been identified as limiting women and girls' ability to practice safe menstrual hygiene: 1. A lack of access to affordable sanitary products and sanitation facilities 2. Cultural and religious myths and misinformation around menstruation 3. An absence of menstrual hygiene education which would support safer practices and reduce stigma.
This project empowers local people to run sustainable income generating activities, producing and selling affordable reusable sanitary pads. It is estimated that one pad costs just 1.50 to make and can be used for up to one year. 10 individuals from Community Health Clubs - running across Zimbabwe - will be trained to run these enterprises and on proper menstrual hygiene. They will disseminate their learning to other club members, who will join the income generating activities.
Not only will women and girls in the community benefit from accessible and affordable sanitary products and reduced stigma associated with menstruation, it is hoped that club members will invest in improved sanitation and hygiene at home. Increased financial security will offer insurance against predicted food shortages and economic shocks. An expert consultant will conduct robust monitoring and evaluation and share their findings with academic journals and NGOs, extending the project's impact.