International Women’s Day 2018 #PressforProgress
Posted by naomi on Tuesday 6th March 2018
This year, the theme for International Women's Day has been declared as #PressforProgress. To celebrate this important day, we would like to take this opportunity to recognise the incredible work of three very important partners who are all pressing to make change and bring progress to Ethiopia.
Dignity Period works to providing school girls all over Ethiopia with menstrual hygiene packs, allowing them to remain in school by managing their monthly cycle. By working to reach some of the most remote areas of Ethiopia, Dignity Period are ensuring that no girl gets left behind, and that her geographic location is not a barrier to receiving an education. Each menstrual hygiene pack includes a reusable, washable sanitary pad which can last up to 18 months, a pair of underwear and a comprehensive educational booklet which is also distributed to school boys. Just $10 can supply a menstrual hygiene pack for two girls for 18 months.
It is clear that giving girls the opportunity to continue their education enables them to have a greater chance of achieving their full potential, allowing them to create their own change in their communities. Dignity Period is pushing for progress one school at a time and ensuring that something so simple should not stand in the way of girls going to school.
The Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD) is an organisation which addresses violence against women and girls through prevention, rehabilitation and economic empowerment. The organisation runs three safe houses across Addis Ababa for women and girls and provides shelter, food, counselling, medical services and legal assistance. AWSAD supports women and young girls who have been victims of rape, domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. Just $40 can help cover the cost of a night in the safe house for a woman.
ASWAD pushes for progress on the individual level by providing these women and girls with greater opportunities than they ever would have faced alone, enabling them to live lives of their own making, free from abuse and poverty.
Women and Health Alliance (WAHA) works across three areas in Ethiopia, providing free fistula repair surgeries for some of Ethiopia's most marginalised women. These women often spend years, if not decades, suffering the debilitating effects of obstetric fistula: a birthing injury where a hole develops in the birth canal as a result of long, obstructed labour, leaving the mother incontinent and the baby often stillborn. $75 can help cover the cost of a fistula repair surgery for a suffering mother.
Thankfully, WAHA takes a holistic approach to treating these women, not only curing them physically but also providing transportation to and from the Gondar Fistula Centre, quality pre and post-operative care, psychological counselling, and training for former fistula patients to become Health Extension Workers in their own villages. These Health Extension Workers are integral to the health and wellbeing of future mothers and children all over Ethiopia, encouraging expectant mother to seek maternal health services and never birth alone. WAHA is pressing for progress at the community level, determined to change attitudes to birthing and maternal health and ensuring future mothers and their children never have to experience the horrific aftermaths of obstetric fistulas.
International Women's Day is a chance to officially recognise the invaluable work that women do every day to eliminate the obstacles faced not only by themselves, but by women and girls around the world. We are incredibly humbled to be working alongside these inspiring organisations who continuously #PressforProgress and strive for change for all Ethiopian women and girls. If you would like to support our work, please donate below.