Project helps Kokoda villagers make menstrual hygiene kits

Papua

One thousand menstrual hygiene kits are being made by Kokoda villagers to provide sustainable sanitary products to women and girls across the region.
With support from Australian government’s Kokoda Initiative, the Seif Meri Mun project involves basic sewing training and production of 500 kits each by Network Kokoda in Sogeri and Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) at Kokoda station.
Sewing trainer and facilitator Nina Boydell said the project was to help women and girls in Papua New Guinea to better manage menstruation with dignity by supplying free reusable sanitary products to women in remote communities.
“The kits are easy to make and require only basic sewing skills,” she said. “They can be hand-sewn or sewn on a simple electric sewing machine.”
The kits would be distributed next month include reusable sanitary pads, soap, a plastic bag, wash cloth and underwear in a cotton carry bag, with information on menstruation and family planning.
The washable sanitary pads last up to three years and could be used for incontinence. A total of 39 women and two men attended a week-long basic sewing training at Sogeri and Kokoda station in December. The participants were drawn from village health volunteers and local women’s groups.
The training also included sessions by Marie Stopes on women’s reproductive health, sexual health and menstruation management.
Developing sewing skills in Kokoda communities was part of a wider initiative to generate potential income from the sale of sewn items.
Arau Arua, from Sogeri, is a trainer-of-trainers who attended the training with Network Kokoda.
“We’ve been sewing simple things like pillow cases and other things, but this project is new for us,” Arua said.

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