Project Code Red
The Compass is leading an initiative to provide 10,000 women with reusable feminine hygiene products to conquer poverty, gender inequality, and to promote sustainability.
We are partnered as an initiative with the University of Missouri - Columbia's Brady & Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development. Our work is seeking to serve Femme International's Twaweza Program and the Grevy's Zebra Trust's Nkirreten Project to benefit women in East Africa.
In Kenya, 65% of menstruators are unable to afford basic sanitary products for their periods. As a result, 1 million girls have to miss school each month due to period poverty, 1 in 10 girls have engaged in transactional sex to obtain pads, and 2/3 of rural women receive pads from sexual partners.
The Compass is dedicated to fundraising $40,000 to provide 10,000 menstruators with reusable products for the next calendar year. We are doing this by partnering with two NGOs to distribute products to women in high-risk zones. The Compass is also developing an after-program survey to determine the effectiveness of the Nkirreten Project and maximize their outcomes.
Femme International is a menstrual health NGO based in East Africa. It was founded in 2013 to address the critical lack of menstrual health education available to young menstruators in East Africa, with an overarching goal of breaking down the persistent menstrual taboo. Femme developed an education-based intervention that delivers comprehensive health education workshops to menstruators, as well as provides them with reusable menstrual products.
The Twaweza Program uses an education-based approach, and has an overall goal of improve the quality of life of participants. Through workshops, students learn about topics of menstruation and reproductive and sexual health. Then, participants are offered the choice to receive reusable menstrual cups or reusable pads. This combination of reusable products and access to information improves menstruators' physical health, decreases the shame and anxiety they feel, and improves their income-generation ability.
Afterward, the award-winning Twaweza social business initiative uses networks of menstruators as sales agents, based in their communities, to engage stakeholders, host meetings, run trainings, and sell reusable menstrual products and other key resources. This ensures that menstrual resources are available, affordable, and accessible to everyone.
After 6 months, schoolgirls reported and overall 50% increase in school attendance.
71.8% of girls are comfortable sitting at their desks during menstruation.
89% of participants feel less menstrual shame during their periods.
71.8% of schoolgirls report not missing out on any aspects of their lives due to menstruation.
Click here to view the Femme International 2023 budget and annual report.
To learn more about Femme International, click here.
The Grevy's Zebra Trust
The Grevy’s Zebra Trust (GZT) is a non profit dedicated to conserving the endangered Grevy's zebra. Recognising that the survival of the Grevy’s zebra depends on its ability to coexist with people living in northern Kenya, GZT believes these communities must be at the centre of designing and driving conservation efforts.
The Nkirreten Project specifically works with women in the Samburu region of Kenya. They currently interact with 20 schools in the region, along with tribes. Many tribal women don't have a word for "period" in their language, and haven't seen a feminine hygiene product before. In many cultures, periods are heavily stigmatized and sometimes the women face harsh repercussions for experiencing their period. Many are unable to work as a result and claim they are sick for a week each month.
Therefore, the Nkirreten Project provides women with resources to sew their own reusable pads. Women are compensated for their work, which provides them with a livelihood. As a result, the program is able to reduce menstrual stigmas, create financial independence, and reduce gender inequality in the region. By raising up the female population in the region, the Grevy's Zebra Trust is also able to better conserve the zebra population.
The Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development
The Compass is partnered with the Deaton Institute through the University of Missouri - Columbia. The Brady and Anne Deaton Institute for University Leadership in International Development supports and develops interdisciplinary research and applied programs focused on the food security and socioeconomic needs around the world with the aim of eliminating extreme poverty. The institute utilizes the strength of the University of Missouri’s global relationships and exceptional Extension abilities.
Project Code Red operates through the Deaton Scholars Program, which provides opportunities to University of Missouri students to:
Explore the value of interdisciplinary teamwork
Understand their individual role in collaborative problem solving, and
Empower local action to address global poverty