June 16, 2020
STORIES CORNER: Real Relief Way

Real Relief Way

Real Relief Way is an Danish entrepreneurial private company founded in 2013. They won in the Daily Life category at the 2018 Danish Design Awards for their innovative towel and reusable menstrual pad made of antimicrobial fabric. We spoke to Trine Angeline Sig to hear what challenges and opportunities they are facing during the process of reopening, read on to hear about their ideas of relief work.

What did you find the most difficult when it came to reopening? How did you overcome this difficulty?

The difficulty is not reopening itself.  Its reopening, knowing that the focus for many has shifted during the lock-down. This means that girls and women suffering from period poverty are left unsupported.

Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, handwashing facilities, and waste management. Crises exacerbate period poverty and make it more difficult for people to receive the information and resources they need to manage their periods, putting their health and well-being at risk. You can join us and take action on this issue here.

In Kenya the Corona Virus has affected period poverty tremendously. The situation is so extreme, that in some cases girls are forced to trade sex for sanitary products.

How did you come up with a strategy for reopening? Did you involve external actors or research other solutions?

Yes, we have continued to do our part to make the voices of girls and women heard. Global organizations such as Global Citizen are also working hard to cover the topic.

“An estimated 70% of 400 million global health care workers are women, yet the need to protect them while they menstruate remains an afterthought, even in a crisis.”

Read more at: Global Citizen to educate yourself on this important topic (link)

In recent years, menstrual hygiene management has received due importance in government policy, planning and action. In addition, civil society has actively acknowledged and stepped up to solve women and girls’ menstrual hygiene management challenges. However, crisis situations including floods and covid-19 have exposed persistent gaps between effort and on-the-ground realities. There is a need for corrective measures to be taken in the immediate future to build resilient menstrual hygiene management practices.

What changes did you come up with, in your strategy or day to day operations?

We are working hard to come up with the models to reach those in need i.e. getting local women involved in local production of Safepad.

What are your expectations for the future (how do you think COVID-19 echo time will impact the sustainability/green agenda)?

We hope and expect to see a green agenda going forward. As a company, we feel more prepared to adapt to new developments heading forward. A resilient future requires a responsible industry and sustainable supply chain.

Some possible solutions for Covid-19 relief work are:

    • Short term distribution through relief centres and food supply operations
    • Facilitate linkages from wholesalers to community level women entrepreneurs, SHGs
    • Substitution of wood pulp with locally available materials like jute, banana fiber

Increase dependence on reusable products

    • Provide knowledge and information on making cloth pads, maintenance, safe use
    • Involve men, boys and community stakeholders to ensure women have access to private and clean WASH facilities via targeted messaging
    • Explore co-production of masks and cloth pads to ensure adequate supply of cotton cloth

Communicate safe hygiene practices using digital platforms, influencer videos, IVR, direct community outreach.
Engage local administration for unlocking storage in schools, CHC/PHC, with ASHAs, integrating WASH and hygiene along with Covid-19 related messaging, gender segregated WASH facilities that are clean, safe and private in quarantine and isolation centres.
Provide guidance on segregation and safe disposal of menstrual products and mask at levels of household, community and health facilities.

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