We are really happy to finally show you the impact evaluation from 2019 year. This year we are a little late, because analysing the result from 4 teams has been giving us 4 times the work from last year. But we hope you are going to be as happy as we are with the results.
The remote villages where we have been present have been 18, in 4 municipalities, in Achham. We think that monitoring the project is essential. That is why we went to the villages where we were in 2019 and we evaluated the program and its impact.
We teach menstrual health management, reproductive and sexual health education workshops and activities to involve communities. We also teach photography workshops to facilitate the expression of the girls, film screenings, and meetings with the municipal authorities and religious and spiritual leaders of all the villages. In the course of the project, in 2019, we have distributed 1,467 menstrual cups to school girls and young women. They received menstrual cups, a metal bucket to boil the cup, and soap. Work was done on how to use it. 7,829 direct beneficiaries were reached during 2019.
In the face-to-face follow-up, every two months, with the users of the menstrual cup, the trainers and local mentors and coordinators helped. We also took into account girls who do not use menstrual cups, to assess the difference between girls who use them and those who are not users, and to see if the tradition of chhaupadi can be changed only through education.
Talking to the girls, we saw that a very high percentage use the cup, even six months after training. And they would recommend it to other girls. 94% of the girls explained that they followed some type of menstrual restriction before and after the training and implementation of the cups, but when asked if the tradition has changed since then, 75% of the girls reported having made changes in the chhaupadi tradition.
Some girls reported changes in access to food: now they can eat vegetables, some can eat fruit, and some can drink milk. Some girls reported that, after participating in our workshops, their mothers allowed them to have a thicker blanket in the Chhaupadi hut and since they do not stain, they do not have to be washed every day. Most of the girls said that they no longer have to sleep outside when they have their period, since nobody knows that they are menstruating. Some girls sleep in separate rooms and some still practice chhaupadi, but now they feel clean and safe. Some also reported that since workshops and training they are no longer required to participate in chhaupadi exclusion practices and are now allowed to cook and eat. They mentioned that they are now allowed to touch the animals at home, some girls no longer hesitate to touch water sources or visit the temple without hesitation, or reported that they feel comfortable going to school when they have their period, since the use of the cups nobody can tell if they are menstruating or not. They also believe that it is easier to work when using the cups. The women who agreed to talk about their experience said that they feel much cleaner using the cups, since the blood does not leave their body. These girls and their families also feel safer, and also because they don’t have to wash their clothes due to blood stains.
It is important that girls who do not use the menstrual cup have also undergone changes since we started training in menstrual health management. 57% of these girls have made changes during menstruation. Like the girls who use the cup, they revealed that after the training workshops we did they were able to touch the animals. eat vegetables or drink milk, sleep in their bed indoors, in a separate room, have a thicker blanket if they continue sleeping in a hut, touch water sources. 58% declared to be in a separate room inside the house, while 33% still sleep in a chhaugot and 6% even sleep outside, despite having no chhaugot.
This year we have managed to maintain the presence of 4 different teams, working on the ground simultaneously. Thanks to the goodwill of the trainers, the monitoring of the project went well, and we were able to obtain many comments from the beneficiaries. Survey findings show that our initial idea that cups can break the taboos surrounding menstruation and chhaupadi works.
In 2020 the project will not be expanded to many other towns. We will try to reach more women and help them stop chhaupadi, assisting and encouraging them with the help of mentors and training visits.
Our area staff will be made up exclusively of local girls – from Achham. It is important to highlight that the local counterpart of the year 2020 is made up of women committed to the project, who have created a social company (cooperative). Specifically, we are talking about three Nepalese women who have worked with us throughout the year. They have been trained to work on these types of projects and to know how to raise funds from cooperation organizations around the world and from private entities, and in generating their own capital. Thus, the project can be managed more efficiently, and we can have trainers in each municipality who will take care of their menstrual cups’ users and actively promote awareness of the chhaupadi problem throughout the year. You can read the document with all the details of the evaluation of the 2019 period here.
Text by Clara Pinilla, Josep Marín and Clara Garcia i Ortés
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