What Is The Pad For Pad Program?

March 2020

Pad For Pad is Eco Femme’s menstrual health education and free washable cloth pad distribution program for adolescent girls from low income backgrounds in India. This program provides a way for girls to gain free access to the Eco Femme’s washable cloth pad and learn valuable information about how to manage menstruation in a healthy and sustainable way.


How Does It Work?

The program was launched in 2012 to build a bridge between Eco Femme’s international customers and adolescent girls in India from low income backgrounds who share the common experience of menstruation – an idea we like to call “eco-sisterhood”. Pad donations are built into the cost of pads sold abroad and these donations are clubbed, enabling us to offer free menstrual health education sessions and free washable cloth pads to girls in government schools and rural communities. (In India customers can choose to add a donation when they purchase pads on our online shop or donate independently).

A full kit and session costs Rs. 550/girl and we welcome additional donations.


Does Pad For Pad partner with organisations?

Yes! Most of our outreach to girls happens via implementation partners across India. To learn more about some of our partnerships, please take a look at our interactive partner map.

We have a complete Pad For Pad tool-kit to enable partnering organisations or individuals to implement the session (or supplement a pre-existing program) and offer washable cloth pads to girls (age 10-19) through your institution for free.

To better understand our criteria for partnering, please take a read of our Requirements for Pad for Pad partners If you are able to fulfil the criteria and we undertake a partnership agreement together, we will provide you with a soft copy of our Pad For Pad facilitator’s guide which includes all the information and resources you will need to conduct a session. Washable Cloth Pad Kits will also be provided for each girl you plan to reach. We provide training for the chosen facilitators – usually remotely via a training call – who are new to teaching about menstruation. We can conduct face to face training but costs will normally need to be covered by your organisation for this. Otherwise there are no costs involved for you to join us in partnership.

For every batch of girls you work with, 2 sessions must be conducted: a 3 hour educational session which can be split into 2 sessions, and a feedback/evaluation session at least 3 months after the first session.

The intent of this program is not to promote brand Eco Femme – it is about menstrual health education and informed choice, offering cloth pads in a spirit of sharing and solidarity. Products are offered freely and without compulsion to accept. It must be explained to the girls that women and girls around the world have chosen to use cloth pads instead of polluting disposable products, and that their donation is an expression of their wish to ensure that every girl should have access to clean menstrual products. If a girl does not want to try the pads, that is ok. It is her choice to take the kit or not after the education session.

Image of the Standard Washable Cloth Pad Kit that will be provided. Includes: 4 All in One pads (Eco Femme Day Pad Plus size) made from cotton flannel and with a leak proof layer; a travel/storage pouch; and instruction leaflet (available in English, Hindi and Tamil). Note: Colour and pattern of pads and pouch may vary from that shown in image. 

Variation: Under certain conditions where access to sunlight is scarce e.g. in urban slums, dense living conditions such as

institutional settings, or areas where extended rainfall is the norm, we have found that the foldable model of pad (which sun dries very quickly) may be a better option. If you think this would be the case for your area, we are ready to provide the same kits exchanging the All in One pad model with the Foldable pad model.


Why Target Adolescent Girls?

Educational impact: Knowing that menarche and menstruation are normal,

healthy signs of growing up can help girls to feel better about their changing bodies and themselves and to experience less anxiety as development progresses. For this reason, we target adolescent girls who are still becoming familiar with their menstrual cycle in order to answer their questions and assuage fears.

Some girls miss school on their period days or drop out altogether because they do not have access to menstrual products or because they experience unmanageable discomfort. Providing information, resources, and products mitigates this problem and allow girls to continue their personal development by staying enrolled and fully participating in school.

Give them healthy options: In June 2011, the Indian government initiated a scheme to provide free disposable pads to adolescent girls (age 10-19) in rural India. This scheme means that at least 90 million disposable pads are tossed aside or burned each month! Considering that consumer patterns are set early on, we would like to offer girls in this age group information about alternative menstrual products that don’t generate waste.

Independence: Most girls do not have independent purchasing power. The choice of sanitary product is generally made by the parents, and limited to what the mother (or other female relative) already knows about (usually just recycled cloth or disposable pads).

Culture: We work mainly with rural girls because in the rural areas there is still a strong culture of using cloth for menstruation. Rural areas also have less access to sanitary products and a lack of facilities to dispose of sanitary pads in a safe manner.


What topics are covered during a menstrual health educational session?

The Pad for Pad sessions are designed to give girls the skills to manage their periods hygienically and with dignity, and the chance to relate to menstruation as a normal, healthy experience. It is often the first chance girls have ever had to ask questions and express their curiosity about menstruation.

The topics covered during this session as are follows:

  • Female Anatomy, Menstruation, and the Menstrual Cycle —Girls learn about changes that happen during The menstrual cycle is explained in detail and they are instructed in menstrual cycle tracking giving them a powerful tool for cultivating body literacy. They learn how to recognise the difference between a normal cycle and when to seek help.
  • Taking Care of Ourselves During Menstruation – girls learn about nutrition and iron rich They learn asanas and exercises to maintain a healthy body and enable participation during menstruation in normal activities of daily living.
  • Menstrual Products — Girls learn about different menstrual absorbents and the proper use and care for products to ensure safety and good health and sanitation. Product analysis enables them to understand the health and environmental risks of disposable sanitary napkins and gives them a possibility to make informed product choices.
  • Safe space for practice speaking and sharing with each other about menstruation and cultural practices thus gaining confidence to become peer mentors for each other and overcome shyness and

If you would like to participate or learn more, please write to [email protected]

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