Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon

by Days for Girls International
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Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon
Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon

On August 26, 2022, researchers at the University of Beirut published a new study on menstrual health challenges in Lebanon during the severe economic crisis that has impacted the country over the past two years. Researchers interviewed stakeholders from the government, healthcare and nonprofit sectors to understand women’s menstrual health experiences. The study identified several specific ways that the economic crisis has impacted menstrual health management:

  • A lack of Ministry of Health budget allocation towards women's health means that period products have not been subsidized in the same way that other hygiene-related products have (like razor blades).
  • There is only one local producer of pads in Lebanon, and the raw materials used to make those pads are currently not subsidized. As a result, locally produced pads are as expensive as imported brands.
  • New challenges of water scarcity have impacted the ability of women and girls to properly use reusable products like cups or washable pads.

Interviewees shared that the result of these challenges has been significant:

  • Women are resorting to the use of makeshift products (such as old clothes or cotton).
  • Women and girls experience anxiety and shame about not having products and fear of stigmatization due to leakage.
  • Women and girls are missing days of school and work when they do not have products to manage blood flow and need to stay at home.
  • Women and girls are experiencing skin and genital infection from makeshift products or use of disposable products for longer than recommended, in order to stretch finances.

Days for Girls Lebanon is responding to these challenges among both Lebanese and refugee communities, working to ensure that women and girls in Lebanon are supported in managing their periods with safety, health, and dignity.

Recently, the DfG Lebanon team provided DfG washable pad kits and comprehensive menstrual health education to 40 Syrian refugee women and girls in Damour – about 20 km south of Beirut. Our partner who sponsored this distribution reported, “What we were hearing from the young girls and ladies that came for the teaching was that they did not have any education on their bodies and how beautiful it is to be a woman. After the teaching we were able to have the girls make menstrual bracelets that were so well received to help them understand how the menstrual cycle works day by day. Thank you for what you do for Days for Girls. It is very important to spread the news of this program and reach out to more girls with this teaching."

In total, DfG Lebanon has reached 2,100 women and girls this year. This would not have been possible without the generous contributions of our amazing donors. Thank you for your part in helping to insure dignity for women and girls in Lebanon.

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Thank you for your generous donations to Days for Girls’ work of bringing menstrual equity to women and girls in Lebanon. The current need for menstrual health solutions in Lebanon is great. UNICEF Lebanon recently reported that 87% of women in the country have changed their purchasing habits of menstrual supplies due to economic concerns, 76% of women are finding it difficult to even access menstrual supplies, and many simply cannot afford disposables. When faced with the choice of buying food for their families or period products for themselves, women are choosing to feed their families. With your donated funds and the help of amazing partners, we are doing all we can to fill this gap and ensure that as many women and girls as possible can have menstrual dignity. 

Recently, our three Lebanon Social Enterprises joined forces and merged into one powerful group of advocates for girls. Our new “Super” Enterprise is located in North Akkar. In collaboration, our entrepreneurs are working hard to fill a number of important orders for menstrual Kits in the region. The results of their hard work include:

  • A completed order of 1000 Kits for Marsa Sexual Health Centre;
  • A completed order of 300 Kits for Concern Worldwide;
  • A completed order of 740 Kits for two local organizations;
  • Collaborating with a university in the United Kingdom for a study on washable pads in Lebanon, and filling an order of 20 washable pads for their research preparation.

The feedback we receive from those using our pads is that they work! Lasting up to 3 years, our washable pads give women and girls peace of mind, confidence and security - qualities particularly important to those living in politically and economically uncertain communities.

Thank you for your part in bringing dignity to women and girls in Lebanon.

For more information, follow us on Facebook or Instagram: @DaysforGirlsLebanon

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You are playing an essential role in providing menstrual dignity for vulnerable refugees in Lebanon. Using your generous funds through Days for Girls’ Menstrual Health Equity for Women in Lebanon project through GlobalGiving, we are ensuring that women and girls have the tools they need to manage their menstruation while attending school and providing for their families. The following are our most recent advancements in menstrual equity in Lebanon.

  • In 2021, DfG Lebanon seamstresses produced 7,565 DfG Kits, the highest number of locally produced DfG Kits since we began in Lebanon. 
  • We completed our 2021 partnership with UNFPA and SOS Children's Villages Lebanon, producing and packing 5,000 Kits as well as training social workers on the distribution of washable pads. These Kits will be distributed in the coming months.
  • We reached 100 refugees in partnership with German NGO, Hildashaus.
  • We participated in the Jeyetna Menstrual Health festival.
  • We completed a project with ReHope Korea, reaching 700 refugee women and girls.
  • We provided 125 Kits for Kooyrigs, an Armenian humanitarian organization.
  • And, we already have orders for over 1,000 Kits for 2022 and are working on sourcing bulk fabric as the supply chain has become more difficult due to the economic situation in Lebanon.

Without support from our incredible donors, we would not be able to accomplish our goal to provide menstrual equity to those in need in Lebanon. You are essential to this work! Former US First Lady Michele Obama said, "We're in this together. Because these girls are our girls. They are us. They each have the spark of something extraordinary inside of them just like our daughters - and our sons - and their fate is very much our responsibility."

For more on Days for Girl’s global advancements in menstrual equity, see our 2021 Year End Report. Thank you for joining hands and linking arms for women and girls!

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Photo courtesy of Anera
Photo courtesy of Anera

Thank you for your support of menstrual equity for women in Lebanon. Using your funds, we are continuing our outreach in the embattled country. And we have exciting news to report!

First, teaming up with Anera, we recently distributed 2,200 menstrual kits and health education to Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese women and girls at the Nahr El Bared Palestinian Refugee Camp, as well as the Akkar region, the city of Halba, the village of Bourkayel, Wadi Al Jamous, and Bebnin. Anera reported, “Many of the young women are initially somewhat skeptical about the idea of washable pads — but they come around to the idea as they learn more about the product and how they provide an effective solution that eliminates monthly costs and lasts years. Older women, on the other hand, are often reminded of the washable cotton cloths that they and their mothers once used, before commercial pads were introduced to the Syrian market.”

Secondly, Khyrieh Al Assad, Days for Girls Lebanon Country Representative recently participated in a panel discussion addressing complications with menstrual dignity in refugee settings during the pandemic. In the discussion, Khyrieh reported findings from a recent survey that showed that 60% of women and girls felt unsafe while changing their menstrual materials. She reported that often multiple refugee families share a single washroom facility (for both males and females) without locks. Women reported that they have lost their sense of privacy during lockdown because men who were unable to work often occupied that shared space. Days for Girls advocacy experts are addressing these infrastructure issues. With donated funds, we are implementing simple retrofits such as designated male and female washrooms, doors that lock, and bright lighting around wash facilities.

Lastly, in September, Days for Girls Lebanon signed a tripartriate partnership with UNFPA Lebanon and SOS Children’s Villages Lebanon to reach a record number of women and girls in Lebanon. Our goal is to reach 5,000 women and girls by the end of the year with tools to handle their periods with dignity and education that will arm them with the knowledge to make informed decisions that will positively impact them for the rest of their lives. 

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our donors. Thank you for making the well-being, equity, and education of girls a priority. Together, we will reach the goal of a world where periods are never a problem.

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At Days for Girls, we are leading the charge in our commitment to provide women and girls the basic tools and knowledge to handle their menstruation with dignity. This is largely due to your support, our GlobalGiving donors. Thank you for your generosity and your continued commitment to some of the world’s most vulnerable women and girls. 

We are pleased to share with you the latest achievements of our Lebanon Country Coordinator Khayrieh Al Assad and the DfG Lebanon Team:

  • Khayrieh was a panelist for the "Periods In and After the Pandemic: Refugee Spotlight" Webinar held the week of Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28) which you can access here.
  • Khayrieh was featured on Episode 9 of the DfG Podcast as part of our International Women's Day celebration.
  • Chaza Akik DrPH of the American University of Beirut interviewed Khayrieh as part of a UNFPA commissioned study on menstrual hygiene in Lebanon. The findings of the study were recently released in this study: "Assessment of the potential acceptability and utility of using reusable sanitary pads, and perceptions of awareness-raising on menstrual hygiene among vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugee women and girls" .
  • The DfG Lebanon Social Enterprises sold 100 Menstrual Kits to Concern Worldwide and 800 Menstrual Kits to Jeytna.
  • DfG Lebanon is in the process of registering as a local Lebanese NGO. This will open up our scope and opportunity to reach more women, girls, and communities in the region.
  • DfG Lebanon continues partnering with Anera and Americares in Kit distributions. To date, these organizations have donated 9,000 Kits as part of our Lebanon Emergency Response Project.

With your support and the hard work of our incredible Lebanon Team, we are ending period poverty for so many in Lebanon and the region! It is our goal to assure every girl that she matters, regardless of her life circumstances. Thank you for the important role you play in helping us make this goal a reality.

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Organization Information

Days for Girls International

Location: Mount Vernon, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @daysforgirls
Project Leader:
Erin Hale
Mr. Vernon, Washington United States
$76,895 raised of $130,000 goal
 
1,176 donations
$53,105 to go
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