Project Baala- Making Menstruation a Non-Issue in India

Sustainable solution to the myths around menstruation in India and the use of unsafe menstrual products such as old rags, leaves and sand.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Project Baala

Year founded

2016

Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

New-Delhi

Location(s) of impact

Country: India
New-Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh ,Telangana ,Jharkhand ,Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujurat, Chennai

Website

http://projectbaala.com

Facebook URL

https://www.facebook.com/projectbaala/

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The national guidelines on menstrual health by the government of India for adolescent girls, reveal that 100% of all girls in the country have had no discussion on the process of menstruation. This study also shows that 87% of the girls use old unsterilised rags as menstrual absorbents and employment of such techniques has resulted in 3 out of every 5 girls missing school. This information gap and unavailability of safe menstrual absorbents has led to 4 in 5 girls reporting low self-confidence on beginning of periods.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

With several years of experience in volunteering and witnessing the situation of underprivileged girls in rural India through the surveys, we created Project Baala. Baala (meaning young girl in Hindi) aims to tackle the main problem about female menstrual hygiene that we recognised in India: the expense of modern sanitary products, problems of disposal, complete lack of awareness and information and the social taboos surrounding menstruation.
Thus, we developed a two-fold solution for the same. Project Baala aims to eliminate this unfair trade-off between education, food and sanitary products. The Baala solution entails the following two-part structure:
1)Educating about Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene : Through a fun and interactive 2 hour session, we educate the young girls on the core understanding and issues of menstruation and environmental impact of sanitary products.
2) Distribution of Baala Pads: The girls get 3 napkins each which can be used upto two years.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We have impacted lives of over 10,000 women across 9 states in India since a year of operation. After 3 months of conducting workshops in an identified area, the team goes back to the workshop areas for a feedback survey.The feedback shows on average: (1) 93% of girls report regularly using the Baala pads during menstruation. (2) 82% girls who used the pads stated that they did not find any problem drying was highlighted as a problem by the rest) (3)98% girls were satisfied with the amount of information they were given in the Baala workshop (4) 73% girls reported an increase in school attendance during periods after attending the Baala workshop (5) 98% girls reported feeling more confident about themselves after Baala workshop.

Environmentally- over 125Kg i.e. 1 football field of menstrual waste is generated by a single woman by using modern non-biodegradable sanitary products. Project Baala has made over 10,000 women reduce 1,250,000Kg of waste and is continuing with it's efforts

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

The initiative is supported by corporates, organisations and individuals who seek to take up the Project as their CSR initiatives. The annual budget from each source can be estimated as:
1. Individual Donation : 5%
2. Grants : 10%
3. Corporate Contributions : 85%

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

India has seen various initiatives in the menstrual hygiene space- in the form of public distribution of disposable pads and empowering women to create low cost pads.
While both above solve for menstrual hygiene, they do not solve for two equally critical problems- 1. Poor Awareness around menstruation 2.Environmental implications of converting India into a disposable napkin-using nation
Project Baala is a one of a kind initiative which takes an integrated approach to provide holistic solutio

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Our Aha! moment stemmed from a deep feeling of despair and helplessness.
While volunteering across slums in India and Ghana, we discovered that girls were losing days of school and women days of wages because of something as basic as menstrual absorbents. Losing wages and education has a much higher cost for the underprivileged and the cause of it was absolutely heartbreaking to understand.
 These were girls and women we had grown close to whilst volunteering, hearing their stories instilled immense disappointment which we were not comfortable with. Our Aha! moment came after a few months when applied the same principal of using non-disposable versus disposable cutlery and the associated feasibility and financial, environmental costs. We realised that we had come up with a sustainable, simple and effective solution to change the lives of millions!

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

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