Project Everest

PROJECT adopted

PROJECT OUTLINE: Female Hygiene and Sanitation - Timor-Leste

After significant success running female sanitation in Malawi, Project Everest has identified the opportunity to replicate our assessment process in Timor-Leste

  • Affordable sanitation options are not available, causing women to miss work/school and creating a dangerous environment for them to access these products;
  • Education around sanitation is limited by the taboo of the topic and creates a fog of uncertainty about safe sanitation practices;
  • Women are not supported to support other women in the provision or education of female hygiene.

There are many problems associated with limited female hygiene and sanitation. Lack of sufficient education around periods creates a culture of shame, which at best, creates awkwardness and at worst, is outright dangerous. Women often withdraw from everyday activities as a result of this shame. Women rarely get any education about menstruation and conversations tend to be very limited due to the taboo nature of the topic. Sourcing female hygiene products can often be uncomfortable and dangerous for women, as 2 out of 3 sanitary pad users receive them from a male sexual partner.

Naturally, this culture of shame and limited support affects their ability to get a complete education or work consistently with negative economic and social effects in the long term.

In the absence of affordable sanitation products, women resort to using unhygienic alternatives like dirty rags, newspaper and plastic. 

Social Opportunity

Creating a network of women to educate, support and supply other women with better resources surrounding female sanitation, it is clear that the following can be achieved:

  • More equal opportunities when it comes to education, work and spending 100% of the time (as opposed to 75% of the time) active and productive;
  • Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large;

  • Better hygiene practices will lower the risk of reproductive disease;
  • Healthier, happier and more confident women will drive forward their involvement and opportunities, increasing productivity and innovation
Proposed Next Steps

The nature of this project in Timor-Leste means it needs to be approached with delicacy and respect. Respect for the women and the impact it could have on their home lives if the discussions are not discrete and with a delicacy to ensure they feel comfortable sharing information on a topic they potentially have never discussed openly. 

An all-female team with a female team leader will head the initial research stage of this project, building genuine relationships with key members in communities, health clinics and through contacts Project Everest Ventures have been working with for several years. 

As with all projects, this project will go through an initial assessment stage that will see us understanding the attitudes toward menstruation, female sanitation practices and how that affects different demographics livelihoods or behaviours.

Once we have identified a willingness to engage with this aspect and have an understanding of what kind of solutions would be socially and financially viable for the women within our target demographic, we will begin investigating opportunities to ensure production, education and distribution involves women from start to finish. 

The initial target demographic will be the communities within Nancholi, through Nancholi Youth Organisation. 

The initial, proposed experiment will contain additional details around survey structure and key information to be gained. 

Andrew Vild 1 month ago

Status label added: PROJECT adopted

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