A Bloody Problem: Period Poverty, Why We Need to End It and How to Do It

In her efforts to unite the philanthropic resources to fight period poverty, … to inform and inspire the next generation of philanthropists – The Foundry.

WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Kulczyk Foundation, a Polish private family foundation, and Founders Pledge, a community of entrepreneurs committed to finding and funding solutions to global challenges, have launched a new report on period poverty. A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it – which reviews the current state of funding and solutions to ending period poverty – finds that there is no unified approach to data collection, fundraising or implementation of period poverty programmes.

Polish philanthropist and businesswoman
Polish philanthropist and businesswoman

The report is part of a new commitment from Dominika Kulczyk, a philanthropist and the richest Polish woman, who provided funding for the report as part of her search for the most efficient and cost-effective programmes addressing period poverty globally. In her efforts to unite the philanthropic resources to fight period poverty, Dominika Kulczyk joins Founders Pledge and their group of individual philanthropists and family foundations coming together to inform and inspire the next generation of philanthropists – The Foundry. This group of visionary donors supports Founders Pledge’s mission to direct philanthropic dollars towards the most effective charities and organisations around the world.

Period poverty has been an invisible issue for years, despite an estimated 1.9 billion girls and women currently menstruating. Menstruation stigmatised is often and invisible, contributing to millions of girls and women worldwide not having what they need to manage their menstrual hygiene, ultimately missing out on education, job opportunities and life quality.

The report reveals the scale and burden of the problem globally, the harms caused by a lack of access to sanitary products, and the effectiveness of activities to tackle period poverty. The report estimates that total current spending on period poverty worldwide is between $10 and $100 million per year – suggesting this is a hugely underfunded issue when comparing it to the total donations to charitable causes which annually are approximately $449.64 billion in the US, and £10 billion in the UK alone.

A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it offers a unique perspective on the state of period poverty, but most importantly draws attention to the most cost-effective programmes around the world.

Dominika Kulczyk, Founder and President of the Kulczyk Foundation said,

“Access to complete menstrual health and hygiene is a basic human right. Without it, women and girls cannot pursue full lives with dignity and confidence. It is deeply unfair that girls in all parts of the world miss out on better education, and women on work, because they were too poor to have a period.

“We have neglected this issue for too long, and I’m proud to have worked with Founders Pledge to take the first step towards understanding how we can make the biggest impact, quickly. What’s clear, is the need to unite the international community on global standards for reducing period poverty, and better fund those programmes that deliver the highest impact for women and girls who every month have to choose between a meal or a sanitary pad.

“I invite the international community to join me and work together to end period poverty.”

The report recommends greater focus on building a strong evidence base, and investment into eight organisations currently committed to delivering effective interventions. It identifies 80 organisations addressing period poverty, with eight organisations demonstrating the most cost-effective practice.

Eight organisations which are listed as the most cost-effective when it comes to ending period poverty, and which stood out across factors such as a solid theory of change, high quality evidence generation, and organisational strength, are:

Days for Girls, headquartered in the US with offices in Uganda, Nepal, Ghana, and Guatemala

Inua Dada Foundation, headquartered and operating in Kenya

Irise International, UK and Uganda based

NFCC, headquartered and operating in Nepal

Population Services International, headquartered in the US, Europe, and Kenya

Sesame Workshop’s Girl Talk program in Zimbabwe, headquartered in the US

Simavi, headquartered in the Netherlands with operations across Africa and Asia

WoMena, headquartered in Denmark and Uganda

David Goldberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Founders Pledge said,

“One of the most important steps in addressing the lack of complete Menstrual Health and Hygiene globally is finding the most effective solutions through rigorous research, and identifying the organisations implementing high-impact interventions. This report takes valuable steps in that direction and I hope it will help donors and governments tackle this issue with a clearer understanding of what barriers must be overcome.

“Founders Pledge is thrilled to team up with Dominika Kulczyk and her foundation to boost the impact of philanthropists working to beat period poverty. Her work and support for women-led projects is a great example of her leadership and philanthropic abilities in Eastern Europe.

“I would like to encourage philanthropists to come together and support Dominika’s movement, especially now that we have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the programmes in this space. With a unified and coordinated approach, I believe we can end period poverty.”

Marni Sommer, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University,who contributed to the report said,

“There has been remarkable growing attention to addressing the menstruation-related needsof girls, women and all people with periods around the world in recent years, however thereremains a long way to go. The social and economic impact of COVID-19 also threatens toreverse progress made to address period poverty, along with ongoing stigma around menstruation that hinders girls’ and women’s equal and successful engagement in education, work and society.

“The Kulczyk Foundation’s important review and investment in menstrual health and hygiene not only supports critical efforts to address these issues, but serves as a clarion call to donorsand governments that there is much left to do, and collective efforts and resources areneeded for rigorous, impactful action going forward.”

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Leading Women’s Health Brand has come up with a unique campaign to Bring Menstrual Health …

Seed funded by Matrix Partners in December 2017, &Me recently received the second round of funding, jointly from Matrix Partners and Sauce.vc for …

(MENAFN – ForPressRelease) 22 In a country where purchasing sanitary napkins is still an embarrassment and the word menstruation is surrounded by taboos, &Me, a leading Women’s Health Brand, has come up with a unique campaign,’#Unstoppable’to crush the stigma attached to periods by inspiring dialogue circling menstrual health awareness and education. The 3 month-long campaign which started on 1st July has been planned in three phases (‘She is Unstoppable’, ‘You are Unstoppable’ & ‘We are Unstoppable’), each of which celebrates women and their journeys of overcoming menstrual health challenges to remain Unstoppable.

The campaign in the first month featured over 20 celebrated women achievers from across corporates, businesses, sports, and the digital world who discussed their personal journeys and untold stories of menstrual health. Sharing experiences of Archana Vohra (Director Small, And Medium Business, Facebook, India), Delhnaz Irani (TV & Film Actress), Rani Rampal (Captain of Indian Hockey Team) amongst other prominent women from their fields, &Me opened up the stage for these so- called forbidden talks.Speaking about their menstrual excursions, these successful women inspired a million others to break the deep-rooted anathema linked with periods.

‘At the workplace, we are in an environment where there are men also. While periods are a reality, a lot of women do not accept it. There is some phobia/stigma attached to it, that it is bad and something that you should hide.’ says Aparna Sharma, a successful author, and the Former Country Head at Lafarge India.

Overcoming the shame and secrecy around periods, everyday women, ‘the local heroes’ shared their stories around menstrual health in August. Bringing the focus on ‘You’, the common women, &Me’s campaign encouraged them to participate and tell their tales under its second phase, ‘You are Unstoppable’. For instance, sharing her menstrual challenge, Amulya Garg, an engineering student, recalls that during her PT exam, she was unable to run and couldn’t even tell her teacher about the pain she was suffering from.

‘It wasn’t easy to talk about it freely in the open. The same classic statements were passed, ‘how can you speak about it in public?’. It was a beautiful but tough experience. I was excited about entering womanhood but couldn’t talk to anybody about it due to social taboos,’ said Amulya.

Talking about the campaign Sheta Mittal, Co-Founder, &Me, said, ‘The campaign was eye-opening. We were surprised by how candidly women shared their menstrual health stories, just because someone was there to listen and provide a solution. We heard stories of survival and women being in constant pain and discomfort, having to hide it from their family, friends and close colleagues. With our campaign, we wanted to bring awareness as well as a platform where an unapologetic conversation around periods could start and we are happy to have done that successfully.’

In a period of just 12 months, &Me has built a strong community with over 1 lakh customers and has reached more than 2.1 million people with the campaign. In the third and the last leg of the engagement, the brand will take its customers behind the scenes and showcase their unstoppable growth journey under ‘We are Unstoppable’, the final phase of the powerful campaign.

‘In today’s competitive market, appealing customers is extremely difficult if you do not connect with them. Our campaign hit the chord right from the beginning, we reached above 7 lakh people in the first month itself. The success of the campaign is extremely gratifying as it brings forth the ever neglected struggles of women through their menstrual journey, something which has been long due and unattempted before.’ adds Sheta.

Founded in 2017, &Me is a brainchild of IIT and Standford Alumnus Ankur Goyal and is co-founded by ex-NIKE and Harvard Business School graduate Sheta Mittal. &Me is solving for unique functional needs of women, combining Ayurveda with Nutritional Science into a portfolio that includes 5 health drinks for women. The brand is credited with launching India’s 1st range of PMS drinks, which helps women during pre-menstrual symptoms of bloating, cramps, and mood swings. &Me’s first-ever PCOS/PCOD drink aims at bringing hormonal balance, and its Beauty drink focuses on making hair and skin healthy from within.

Seed funded by Matrix Partners in December 2017, &Me recently received the second round of funding, jointly from Matrix Partners and Sauce.vc for further growth. The company’s vision is to create and own a ‘Women’s Health’ section in every store, online and offline.

About The Co-Founders

Ankur Goyalis the Founder and CEO of &Me. An IIT Delhi and Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus with over 8 years of experience and a passion for innovation in the food and beverage industry, Ankur has worked with Nestle and Paper boat in the past.

Sheta Mittal is the Co-founder of &Me. An Aerospace Engineer from IIT Bombay and a graduate from the Harvard Business School, Sheta has worked with NIKE, Boston Consulting Group and Future Group in the past.

About The Company

Headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka, &Me is a Women’s health brand with a mission to empower women with health by solving for her unique functional needs. &Me’s current portfolio includes 5 Women’s health drinks, including India’s 1st range of PMS drinks, which helps women during pre menstrual symptoms of bloating, cramps & mood swings. The first-ever PCOS/PCOD drink aimed at hormonal balance, and our beauty range focusing on healthy hair and skin from within.

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