Women’s Project Report by Sue
We are proud to have Sue Adlam-Hill as the IYH Women’s Project Manager. She joined us in 2018 and has been an utter God send. She did a one week visit familiarisation trip to Nepal with Jo in Februsty 2018 and a three week trip with Pauline meeting all the teachers and partners for meetings in December 2018. She understands the strategy, culture and has a gift for making things happen calmly and efficiently. She has worked with Days for Girls and a TMO to make this project such a success.
Here is Sue’s report from a one week trip she made this February with Jane Halsall (another gem). This report is focussed on the Women’s Project.
Update from Sue Adlam-Hill, In Your Hand’s lead for the Women and Girls’ Health workshops.
It was fantastic to be at Shree Songhai Devi School for the last of our scheduled Women and Girls’ Health workshops. We’ve really got the hang of running these now, so no surprise that it went well. What did surprise us a little was the number of attendees. When we’d first spoken to the community about the idea they had estimated some 65 to 80 attendees. As we got closer to the actual date the number kept increasing, so to be on the safe side we ordered 100 Days for Girls washable menstrual packs. But it just wasn’t enough though for the 140 women and girls who showed up on the day! This fabulous turnout just brings home the appetite for health education and for dignity-based solutions to helping women and girls manage their periods safely and hygienically.
The organisation that should take most credit for the workshops is Days For Girls. We know the Nepal team well now, and they are a team of strong and professional women who manufacture the packs and deliver the three hour workshops right across the country. The training is all in the Nepali language. Our trainer this time was Rajani, a young social work student and Days for Girls employee, and she was brilliant at getting the message out there, working the very crowded room, engaging the audience and making them laugh. It’s no easy task to run training for 140 women and girls in such a tight space - the women were sat on hard wooden school benches, many holding babies. The room had no electrical supply and Rajani used a large flip chart sized book with illustrations and her very strong communication skills to get the messages across.
The training begins by talking about the human body, changes as we grow older, and a whole lot of discussion about reproductive organs (male and female) and why women have periods. It explains how periods are central to life, and to our ability to reproduce. It explains why it’s wrong to see periods as taboo, and as something to be ashamed of. There’s then a big focus on hygiene and on sexual health. Women of all ages attend these workshops and as usual, although shy at first, the interest soon picks up and some women begin to ask questions about their own issues and conditions. We’re also pleased that Day For Girls broach the issue of consent in their workshops, and there’s a short self-defence session to reinforce a woman’s right to feel and be safe. Only after the learning is complete do the Days For Girls washable menstrual packs get brought out. The contents of the packs are explained and then each woman receives her signed-for pack.
Everyone who attended the workshop has now received a pack. In a few months we’ll go back to do some evaluation work: Have the training messages stuck? Are the women using their packs? But based on what we’ve seen elsewhere we’re confident that this health educational event is one that can make a real difference to the lives of the women and girls in Nepal.
Thank you to our wonderful donors whose generous donations have allowed us to run 7 workshops in the last 18 months. Thanks also to Hari, the Head Teacher of Shree Songhai Devi school who helped get such a great community turnout for our final workshop. Thanks to the Days for Girls team in Nepal, whose courage and energy inspire us. And finally, thanks to the wonderful NGO team at The Mandala Organisation. Their local knowledge, logistical support and big hearts translate our dreams into reality.