Along with my classmates from Lund University, together we wrote a project proposal which, fictionally, has been approved by the European Commission as part of the course assignment.
After hours of discussion and reflections, the decision was to deal with the lack of menstrual health education and accessible menstrual products in the district of Chitwan in Nepal. We created a fictional NGO called Re(cycle) aiming to contribute to SDG 4 – Quality education, SDG 3 – Good Health and Well Being, and further SDG 5 – Gender Equality by setting a new record of school attendance for girls between the ages of 12 and 17.
The problem analysis indicated that these girls are missing school because of the lack of menstrual products and because of the taboo around it. The lack of awareness and knowledge on the issue contributes to challenges in breaking the harmful traditions against females in general, and practices around menstruation in particular. An example – which is to be addressed by the project – is Chappaudi, a tradition which often causes sickness and death as the women are isolated in unsafe huts because they are seen as unclean.
Our solution stood in the creation of banana fiber pads at the local level and to involve the schoolgirls themselves in the production. Therefore, the most sustainable way was to collaborate with local banana plantation farmers who, according to the analysis, would be willing to sell the leaves as they would otherwise go to waste.
The sustainability of the project could be secured if the local and national government of Nepal include menstrual health and the production of environmental-friendly sanitary pads in the curriculum. Hence, the project includes a comprehensive advocacy plan and I and my classmates hope to proceed with the project once we enter the development working sector.