2,000 women and girls have been educated on personal hygiene and the use of sanitary pads since implementation of RMF India’s social venture began in late January 2017. 1,100 women and girls have adopted the use of sanitary pads thanks to RMF’s new social enterprise program.
This project empowers communities through health literacy and connects rural communities with the government health and nutrition services available. This project aims to prove that a holistic, decentralized, community-based approach to malnutrition eradication will have better health outcomes, be more inclusive for children under 5, and will be more cost-effective in the long-run than centralized approaches, especially for rural, marginalized tribal communities. Our team of up to 75 Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs) and 6 District Coordinators has covered enormous ground across 5 districts and 600 villages in Madhya Pradesh.
During this reporting period, in addition to the 3,426 villagers who benefited from education and counseling sessions conducted by RMF India’s Community Nutrition Educators (CNEs), 128 children suffering from acute malnutrition were identified and/or received treatment:
On January 26, 2017, on the occasion of India’s Republic Day, Real Medicine Foundation started implementing a social venture program in 50 villages of Barwani block, Barwani district, with the capacity of 10 community cadres comprised of RMF India’s CNEs, known as Swasthya Sahelis (Catalysts of Change).
Swasthya Sahelis make regular visits to villages, meet with women and girls (age 14 to 49 years), and speak with them about menstrual cycles and traditional practices that women are following during menstruation. Swasthya Sahelis also counsel them to adopt hygienic practices and use sanitary napkins, helping them to break myths and misconceptions about their menstrual cycles, like avoiding outings during menstruation and untouchability.
The Swasthya Sahelis help create awareness, teaching women and girls to use sanitary pads to protect themselves from yeast infections, RTIs (reproductive tract infections), fibroids, etc., and they also discuss the drawbacks of unhygienic cloths that women and girls are using during menstruation. Swasthya Sahelis explain that cloths are not very clean, and drying in a dark place, they are not free from germs and bacteria, whereas sanitary pads are manufactured and packed in hygienic conditions. They are packed in a wrapper, which you can tear whenever you want to use a pad. This is a safe method to use sanitary pads.
RMF’s Swasthya Sahelis are also leading sessions in schools and hostels to raise girls’ awareness of their personal hygiene and encourage them to use sanitary pads during their menstrual cycle.
RMF’s Swasthya Sahelis are working with approximately 20,000 eligible women and girls in 50 villages of Barwani block.
Our Swasthya Sahelis have reached 2,000 women and girls in the last three months, educating them about personal hygiene and encouraging them to use sanitary pads during their menstrual cycles. Through creating this awareness, 1,100 women and girls have adopted the use of sanitary pads happily and changed their menstrual hygiene behaviors for a better life. Now, they feel more confident. By also selling low-cost sanitary pads, RMF has increased project sustainability by generating INR 16,125 revenue and INR 3,800 commission for all Swasthya Sahelis.
The social enterprise has had a very successful start, but our teams have reported the following challenges: