We are the Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI) and just like Dean Kamen, we believe that, “every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a simple idea can turn into an impactful innovation.”
Since past one and half year, SOCHAI has been working at the grass-root level for addressing the issues of under nutrition through innovation, education and entrepreneurship. We have designed and implemented innovative tools and techniques to tackle the health and nutrition issues of children, women and girls in Nepal. Among the various existing nutritional problems, iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common and serious nutritional problem, affecting 44% adolescent girls in Nepal (NDHS 2016).
Anemia among girls is greatly associated with heavy bleeding during menstruation. However, their nutrition is often found to be neglected during this time.1
To address the need to educate adolescents on nutrition, menstruation and hygiene, SOCHAI has already conducted various school based awareness programs. Last year on Menstrual Hygiene Day, we conducted a superhero themed campaign including adolescent girls to raise our united voices on issues of nutrition, hygiene, menstruation and menstrual taboos in a unique way.
Although menstruation is a natural process, that is a part of nearly every girl’s life, it is not a topic for discussion in the family. In schools, some teachers tend to avoid chapters related to sexual and reproductive health while students remain absent when such chapters are being taught. Many girls are not aware about menstrual cycle until menarche. It is imperative for women and girls to have an understanding of the menstrual patterns, as they are not adequately aware about the cycle of changes in their own body.
Being the ‘Social Changemakers and Innovators’ that we are, we constantly strive for the innovative ideas to bring social change. We have discussions in classrooms, we brainstorm ideas in tea shops, we doodle alone in the corner of our work space, we exchange messages in our group chat on how all of us together can foster positive change.
So, on the occasion of the Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018, we are re-introducing a new innovation and educational tool: The Red Cycle Menstruation bracelet. The Red Cycle is a colorful bracelet that helps learning about menstruation and tracking the average menstrual cycle in a simple, innovative, fun and attractive fashion. When women are aware about the cycle of changes in a menstrual cycle, they will also be aware about the changes in their body and the need of essential foods and nutrients required to promote balanced hormones and a healthy menstrual cycle every month.
The target group of the Red Cycle bracelet is not limited to a specific gender or age group.
- This bracelet is targeted to younger girls who are just beginning to learn about the unique experiences of the menstrual cycle.
- This bracelet is targeted to women and girls to feel more powerful and comfortable discussing their natural cycle in a colorful and fun way.
- This bracelet is also targeted to adult women planning to get pregnant to be aware of their most fertile days.
- With this red cycle bracelet, we hope to empower girls, boys and even trans- men with the information and confidence necessary to manage their sexual and reproductive health.
- Lastly, everyone can wear (or gift others ) this bracelet at all times and share the information on menstruation with someone else whenever, wherever possible.
We are hopeful that that the Red Cycle will give us more power to the break the culture of silence surrounding menstruation. It’s time we stop taking about menstruation in whispers. Let there be no barriers in understanding our biological phenomena, let there be no limitations in access to menstrual hygiene. Happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!
Please click HERE to learn all about The Red Cycle – Menstruation Bracelet.
- World Health Organization/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Worldwide prevalence of anaemia 1993–2005: WHO global database on anaemia. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2008/9789241596657_eng.pdf (accessed on 19th May, 2018)
- Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016