Karnali Alliance on DMM
Working to make Dignified Menstruation Management (DMM) a reality for all in Karnali is an important focus for SUSWA (especially under outcome area 3). Supporting the provision of improved WASH facilities, with privacy, access to water, sanitary materials and disposal access in combination with strengthened capacity of local institutions (schools and health centers!) and local government to work for social norm change, are important steps towards DMM.
During this years International Menstruation Hygiene Day SUSWA was still in its inception phase. However, this didn’t prevent us from setting an ambitious goal to celebrate on the day – forming a Karnali Alliance on DMM with the Social Development Ministry and other projects, programmes, I/NGOs and so on, active on DMM in Karnali.
Despite SUSWA working on local government level, we see the formation of an Alliance on a Provincial level as an important step for sustainable change towards DMM in SUSWA project municipalities. Changing social norms takes time and requires efforts on all levels. By forming an Alliance, SUSWA’s approach to DMM can be province-wide, and SUSWA can also learn from others working on DMM as well as collaborate on e.g., organizing trainings and events.
To this end, Bimal and Hanna met with the Women’s Development Officer, Anita Gyawali, who agreed to chair the alliance, and we quickly put together a concept note on the formation of the Alliance to pass around to other organisations that may be interested in joining.
To form the Alliance, we stated in the concept note that we had to be a minimum of 3 members. Some in SUSWA, no names named, thought this goal was too ambitious. On the day of the signing the minutes of the intent to form the Alliance at the Social Development Ministry, the Alliance had already grown (in a matter of hours) to 14 members! SUSWA agreed to function as secretary and stand for meeting cost for the first year of the alliance.
Below the members, outtakes of the concept note, and pictures of the signing.
Anita Gyawali, Women’s Development Officer, signing the…
Forming an alliance committed to promoting and creating a DMM enabling environment in Karnali.
KA DMM would function as an informal, loose network/ membership-based alliance, with no membership charges. Anyone working in menstruation and related area in Karnali province is eligible to become a member, e.g., Bilateral agencies, INGOs, NGOs, civil societies, media, private sector, CBOs, Women and Youth Groups, researchers, academicians, national celebrities and other individuals interested and active in the field of menstruation. Forming such a network would allow for Karnali specific collaboration on e.g., public awareness/education, policy advocacy, innovation and research around dignified menstruation and menstrual health and hygiene, as well as providing an advisory network for the Ministry of Social Development on DMM issues.
The suggested vision for KA DMM is to support the vision of MHM PA’s but on provincial level:
A province where Dignified Menstruation becomes a reality and is practiced everyday by everyone.
Future activities of the KA DMM suggested below:
- Data sharing on DMM related findings from research, baseline surveys etc. to strengthen provincial understanding and oversight
- Identifying a Karnali Goodwill Ambassador on DMM
- Collaborating on Sanitary pad making training, also promoting local skills and income generation
- Working together on School DMM related topics, e.g., WASH facilities and DMM education
- Holding ToTs or internal capacity building, Local resource persons (LRPs) development on specific DMM related topics, sharing best practices
- Create shared DMM directive to be signed at Palika level
- Organize Provincial-wide activities on days such as International Menstruation Hygiene Day
- Create District-wide supply chains of e.g., sanitary pads
- Political leaders’ commitment to work for DMM
- Dialogue on MHM issues at provincial and local level
- Extending network at local level
Karnali Alliance on DMM members:
Chair: Ms Anita Gyawali, Women Development Officer, Ministry of Social Development
Co-Chair: Nabin Kumar Sahi, KIRDARC
Secretary (1st Yr): Hanna Kankkunen, SUSWA
YGGP – Youth group network
SAC Nepal – Social Awareness Center
Dalit Sewa Sangh – Dalit rights organisation
CODEC Nepal – Collective Development Expedition Center