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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Swiss Embassy, SPARK! Philippines! Launch #PeriodTowardsEmpowerment Project

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On Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines, and SPARK! Philippines announced their partnership for the #PeriodTowardsEmpowerment project. The initiative aims to break the persistent taboos surrounding menstruation, raise awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management, and introduce locally manufactured reusable sanitary napkins, significantly reducing environmental waste. 

The #PeriodTowardsEmpowerment project aims to implement a comprehensive knowledge-building program that fosters discussions about menstrual management, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Participants will explore how socio-cultural norms and long-held beliefs contribute to gender insensitivity and perpetuate misconceptions about menstruation, which can trigger various forms of gender-based violence. 

One of the project’s objectives is to significantly reduce waste generated by disposable sanitary napkins. These napkins, typically made from non-renewable resources, involve cutting down trees, consuming large amounts of water, and generating greenhouse gas emissions during production. After a single use, they contribute to the growing problem of landfill waste. In contrast, reusable napkins made from renewable materials require fewer resources and can be reused multiple times, leading to a substantial reduction in overall waste production. 

Furthermore, the project will empower women in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, through training to manufacture reusable sanitary napkins locally. These eco-friendly alternatives not only provide a cost-effective option compared to disposables but also 

help combat the stigma surrounding menstruation. Distributing these reusable napkins to young schoolgirls in Dumalinao, Zamboanga del Sur, will complement the broader period empowerment and awareness program. Additionally, the initiative will incorporate education on menstrual health and introduce “Sophia, The Chatbot,” utilizing technology to facilitate accessible reporting avenues for gender-based violence. 

Through collaborative efforts of the #PeriodTowardsEmpowerment project, the project seeks to create a lasting impact by promoting gender equality, fostering safer and healthier communities, and empowering women and girls with the knowledge and resources they need to thrive. 

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