Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America

by Days for Girls International
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Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America
Menstrual Equity for Girls in Latin America

Recently, Days for Girls expanded our outreach in Latin America to include Haiti and the Dominican Republic (DR). This expansion would not have been possible without our incredible donors and partners. We are excited to share updates with you, particularly about a project DfG is implementing with our important partner, Convoy of Hope, which utilizes the funds you have generously donated through GlobalGiving!

Days for Girls (DfG) and Convoy of Hope (CoH) have worked together to bring menstrual dignity to vulnerable women and girls since 2019. Our first projects were focused in the Bahamas and Kenya. Originally, menstrual kits and health education were distributed through CoH’s program centers. With the collaborative expansion into Haiti and DR, kits are now being produced and compiled through DfG Social Enterprises. So far, the Haiti and DR Enterprises have completed and delivered the first installment of 7,200 kits (3,500 kits in Haiti and 3,700 in DR). They continue to produce the remaining 17,800, which will be delivered later this year. These Enterprises are run by DfG entrepreneurs and their employees, all of whom are local women. 

Speaking of the importance of employing this type of locally-led approach, Jessica Williams, Chief Communications Officer at DfG, reported, “Days for Girls has always believed in sustainable solutions, and, in supporting and elevating local people to identify and address the challenges in their community, we believe they are the experts.”  She continued, “Our Social Enterprise program allows us to have a holistic response to menstrual equity, putting the power and solution in the hands of the local people. Only they know what is needed specific to their community, culture and geography.”

Not only do DfG Social Entrepreneurs create our washable menstrual kits as a way of supporting themselves and their families, but they also serve as leaders in their communities, becoming mentors and advocates for female-positive policies and education. The impact of these leaders and the women and girls they serve will be felt for generations to come. 

Thank you for your contribution to improving the lives of women and girls, and thank you for helping us to reach Every Girl. Everywhere. Period.

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With the help of our amazing donors, Days for Girls (DfG) is expanding our reach in Latin America! We continue to provide women and girls in Guatemala with DfG patented, washable, long-lasting pads as well as vital health education. Likewise, we are continuing our support for our social enterprises in Guatemala, as well as advocacy for menstruation-supportive policies, practices, and legislation. But we are thrilled to announce that using your donations, we are expanding our reach to include Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Ecuador!

Of the 23 million Latin American young women, 64% are affected by poverty. The impact of Covid-19 in these communities has caused a decrease in health education due to school closures and a sharp increase in teen pregnancies. Days for Girls products, education, and advocacy are needed now more than ever in these regions. Our social enterprises are equipped and ready to handle the need, using locally driven community outreach. 

DfG’s social entrepreneurs serve as educators, mentors, and leaders for women and girls in their communities. Recently, a social enterprise in Ecuador implemented a project to reach 400 girls in the Imbabura indigenous region in Northern Ecuador. Other social enterprises in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are currently in the process of producing 25,000 DfG menstruation Kits for a project in partnership with Convoy of Hope. Once production is completed, the Kits will be distributed with Convoy of Hope and partner Mission of Hope to 25,000 girls in Haiti. Each menstrual Kit represents a girl who will not miss school and activities she enjoys because of her period, or a woman who will be able to provide for herself or her family without period poverty holding her back. Women and girls will gain back days to reach their full potential.

We know that when we invest in girls, their potential is unleashed, and entire communities are elevated! Thank you for your part in this important endeavor.

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Did you know that to date, Days for Girls has reached over 2.3 million girls in 144 countries? This has largely been due to our amazing donors--and you are part of that group! Thanks to your donation to DfG’s Unlimited Potential of Mayan Girls project through GlobalGiving, we are able to continue to work to improve the lives of women and girls in Guatemala.

Days for Girls’ core programs consist of four primary services: livelihood development, health education, menstrual products, and volunteerism/advocacy. The focus of each core program is to eliminate menstrual inequity by providing viable, cost effective, and culturally appropriate menstrual health solutions. In this report, I will focus on our livelihood development program, so that you can see how a portion of your generous funds are used to provide men and women in Guatemala with knowledge, tools, and mentorship to run their own businesses and thereby create a viable income.

At Days for Girls, we recognize that local leaders are best positioned to drive sustainable, long-lasting change in their communities. As DfG Social Entrepreneurs, local leaders in Guatemala are able to serve menstruators in their communities while also earning an income. It’s a win-win system that uplifts and transforms their communities from the inside out. 

Whether in person or virtual our Enterprise Training Program is instructed by expert DfG staff and leaders. The modules include:

  • An Overview of the Menstrual Health (MH) field 
  • MH Communications
  • MH Advocacy
  • MH Education for females and males: Training in both content and teaching techniques
  • Enterprise Business Training: Including marketing, accounting and financial literacy, developing a business plan, and strategy fundraising for growth
  • Sewing DfG Washable Pads: Sewing, quality control, and support from a dedicated Enterprise sewing specialist

To learn more specifically how our Social Enterprises in Guatemala are thriving, check out the Facebook pages of our San José Poaquil Enterprise and our Amachajul Casa Enterprise.

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It's been a busy couple of months for Days for Girls Guatemala! This spring, they launched a new independent film called Kik’ Voces Menstruantes (Kik’ Menstruating Voices), and hosted viewing parties in a number of large cities throughout the country. The short film, shot in documentary-style and available in Spanish with English subtitles, features 22 Guatemalan women as well as local menstrual health advocates who share their stories, give advice, and advocate for women. Throughout the film, using knowledge gained first-hand, these same women expel dangerous myths such as:

  • Women should not eat avocados during menstruation;
  • Women should not shower during menstruation;
  • Menstruating women need to hide themselves from public view;
  • Disposable pads cause infections;
  • And, when a woman is on her period, she cannot get pregnant.

Some of the girls in the film describe feeling shame when their bodies first went through the healthy process of menstruation. A particularly poignant portion of the film is when older women describe their frustration and fear of how to approach the topic of menses with their own daughters. 

Days for Girls Guatemala Country Director Nilvia Gonzalez wrote, “It’s a human right for girls to have education about their bodies.” Using funds donated though GlobalGiving, we are changing the narrative on menstrual health. It is our goal to highlight, address, and put an end to these heart-wrenching experiences! We aim to empower women and girls with education and the tools necessary to make the best decisions for themselves and to ultimately end period poverty. But we cannot accomplish this without the support of our incredible donors. So we thank you for your commitment to providing dignity to those we serve.

We are excited to see what is next for the women and girls in Guatemala! As they use their voices to address a topic they previously considered taboo, they can start using their voices to reach every girl with dignity. Period.

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Thanks to your gift, the Unlimited Potential of Mayan Girls GlobalGiving campaign women and girls continue to receive vital tools and education to ensure they are able to handle their menstruation with health and dignity. Days for Girls Guatemala shifted its primary focus during the past year due to the pandemic. Our ability to conduct traditional DfG menstrual Kit distributions was limited as schools closed. However, using your donated funds, our Guatemala team found innovative ways to continue serving the indigenous populations across Guatemala and the region. The following are just some of their recent activities and successes.

  • DfG Guatemala and Social Enterprise leaders conducted virtual sessions of our Ambassador of Women’s Health (AWH) workshops over Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Live.
  • DfG Guatemala leaders met with various local community leaders to promote menstrual health advocacy.
  • Our Guatemala office recorded a documentary on menstruation in Guatemala (which we look forward to sharing with you soon).
  • For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we hosted an event to encourage Guatemalan young people to become involved with social projects.
  • With our partner Worldwide Education & Research Institute (WERI), our leaders participated in the inauguration of the National Menstrual Network. This included a retreat involving 50 girls which focused on female empowerment and menstruation management.
  • Partnering with two other organizations, DfG Guatemala began Escuela de Mujeres Lideres (School of Women Leaders), a training program consisting of five modules over three months. Using lessons learned during the pandemic, the program is conducted virtually in order to include participants in different regions. The curriculum includes: (1) Women’s Rights; (2) Leadership; (3) Menstrual and Mental Health; (4) Community Communication; and (5) Projects in Action.
  • Under the leadership of our Guatemala country office, DfG Dominican Republic, DfG Ecuador, and AMACHAJUL Maya Girl Social Enterprises achieved Gold Status, putting them in the top tier of DfG Social Enterprises.

We are so proud of all that DfG Guatemala has accomplished, notwithstanding the limits imposed by the pandemic! This would not have been possible without your support. Nilvia Gonzalez, DfG Guatemala Country Director expressed, “Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be part of this incredible movement around the world to empower girls.”

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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
Mount Vernon, WA United States
$46,429 raised of $75,000 goal
 
497 donations
$28,571 to go
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