By Sandy Clark and Cyndie Berg
When Global Washington NGOs come together, sparks fly, so it’s no surprise that a partnership between Splash and Days for Girls (DfG) would create fireworks. Combining forces to improve health awareness and conditions for kids – we have leveraged our collective strengths to double our impact, reaching thousands of youth in schools.
Starting in Nepal, where Splash and DfG already have established programs, we set out to raise awareness of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in 28 Splash schools through education, while creating sustainable access to environmentally friendly and cost-effective DfG female hygiene products.
Together, for Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th, we reached over 10,000 girls and boys in Kathmandu, Nepal. Our teams recruited and trained 50 teachers and volunteers to fight stigmas, break barriers, and increase knowledge on menstruation. To make sure it was truly a celebration, our local teams worked with students and teachers to develop games, plays, and other creative activities. The school-wide events engaged students in a lively discussion aimed at reducing the stigma about periods.
The power of joining together goes well beyond a single day’s celebration, or a single washable pad. In a country where girls are still restricted from participating in activities such as using a kitchen during their periods, this program helped change how girls and boys view their world. With celebrations and programs like ours, a new generation is coming. A generation that takes pride in what is natural and will not settle for shame.
Because of the success we’ve had together thus far, Splash and DfG have continued our partnership beyond Nepal. We hosted an event to educate and celebrate in Seattle, in which seventy-four guests joined the conversation and were reminded why menstrual hygiene matters. We also recently submitted a proposal to expand our partnership model and bring it to Ethiopia, working in partnership with two local NGOs – WhizKids and Selamta Project.
We are excited to expand opportunities for girls and ensure better health for thousands of kids in the countries where we work. It is our hope that other organizations can learn from our collaboration to achieve greater impact globally, working together!
Splash, a nonprofit enterprise, believes every child should have clean water, clean hands, and clean toilets. Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs for kids in urban Asia and Africa, we support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Splash serves children of all ages, catering to different demographics based on the institution being served. In China, we work in orphanages with children ranging from infancy to young adulthood. In other countries, our primary focus is working in schools (kindergarten to preparatory school), which reach children aged five to eighteen.
Founded in 2007, Splash has completed 1,600 projects serving 400,000 kids in eight countries: China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam. Over the next five years in Kolkata, India; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Kathmandu, Nepal, Splash aims to reach 100% of public schools to ensure that over one million children have clean water, clean hands and clean toilets.
Days for Girls (DfG) is a global NGO dedicated to empowering local communities to support girls and women with sustainable feminine hygiene products, education, and income-generating opportunities.
Its vision is to break the silence surrounding menstruation by changing the narrative from shame and embarrassment to one of dignity and celebration. They approach this through educational programs, advocacy, DfG Kit distribution, and micro-enterprises. This four-tiered approach has already led to exponential growth and impact. Since 2008, DfG has distributed DfG Kits to 650,000 girls and women in 101 countries and is set to reach one million by 2018.
DfG serves all women and girls of reproductive age and places particular emphasis on girls who lack access to menstrual hygiene solutions — a common reason around the world for girls to miss school. DfG Kits last for two to four years, giving girls back days of education and opportunity that they would otherwise miss without hygiene solutions.
Sandy Clark is the chief development officer at Days for Girls International.
Cyndie Berg is the director of business development at Splash.