Menstrual Cups Coming Soon to Burkina Faso in Project Afric’up: Ya Soma

Dining for Women funds first major menstrual cup project in Burkina Faso, to be led by The BARKA Foundation, Menstru’elles, and Femme International. 

Burkina Faso- November 30, 2020

For Immediate Release:

Click here to access the online distributed Press Release.

The BARKA Foundation is pleased to announce it has received a grant for a menstrual cup pilot project in Burkina Faso from Dining for Women, a community of women engaged in education, advocacy, and grant-making to build the movement for global gender equality. BARKA will collaborate with a budding Ouagadougou-based social enterprise Menstru’elles and Femme International, a menstrual health NGO in Africa that has successfully worked with cups for 8 years.

“Together we will break the silence surrounding the taboo of menstruation, provide comprehensive training on Menstrual, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and lay the groundwork for sustainable cup and menstrual health programming on a national level”, said Ina Anahata, BARKA’s co-founder.

“Menstrual cups are a financially- and environmentally-sustainable tool that decreases many of the barriers women and girls face during menstruation. Menstruation is a normal function for half the world’s population, yet brings about a host of practical problems as well as social stigma and shame. A lack of high-quality, available, and affordable menstrual products makes it hard for women to go to work or school, have a social life, and move about freely.  Too often women and girls resort to unhygienic alternatives or do without any feasible menstrual management solution, creating a gender equity issue that impacts their quality of life, their families, the economy, and society at large”, said Jennifer Rubli, Research and M&E Coordinator with Femme International, and Master Teacher of two comprehensive workshops for this project.

This project, called Afric’up: Ya Soma (Ya Soma is an expression in Moré, Burkina’s most widely spoken language, which means “It’s Good”) is the first major menstrual cup project in Burkina Faso history and among the first in all of West Africa which has yet to adopt widespread use of cups. “There is strong early demand for cups in Burkina which we expect to continue, and our social enterprise will assure a sustainable supply of cups post-project”, said Elodie Koundouno, founder of Menstru’elles.

According to Dr. Veena Khandke, Director of Grants and Partnerships, Dining for Women, “Our donors are excited about Dining for Women funding its first project ever in the landlocked nation of Burkina Faso. The project partners are all ideally suited for the task—BARKA has deep knowledge of the socio-cultural context of Burkina, Menstru’elles will be able to sell cups after project completion to meet the demand this project creates, and Femme is a cup expert in Africa which will lend its tried and true methodology to ensure successful outcomes.”

The pilot will use a bottom-up and top-down approach that engages key government, community, and religious stakeholders, while partnering with women to demonstrate feasibility and demand. The project will partner with ten community health centers and local associations focusing on issues of women’s health in Ouagadougou. “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to introduce menstrual cups to more than 1200 women and girls in Burkina Faso. Cups are a safe, comfortable, cost-effective, and sustainable solution, with the potential to be a game changer for menstruating women and girls in Burkina”, said Esu Anahata, BARKA Foundation co-founder.

About The BARKA Foundation (BARKA)

The BARKA Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization, has UN NGO affiliation and Consultative Status with ECOSOC, and is based in both the US and Burkina Faso. BARKA implements a wide range of projects in areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), women’s empowerment, education, sustainable agriculture and the cultural arts. Since 2006 the NGO has benefitted over 65,000 rural villagers. BARKA is committed to the concept of reciprocity by building bridges between schools, civic organizations and individuals in Burkina Faso and the United States.

For more information, or to support this project visit the BARKA Foundation website at https://barkafoundation.org.

Press Contact: Esu Anahata

Email: TeamBARKA@barkafoundation.org

About Menstru’elles

Sisterhood SARL, a local social enterprise visible with the commercial brand “Menstru’elles”, is dedicated to providing access to cost-effective, healthy and environmentally-friendly menstrual solutions, while reducing stigma around menstruation and sharing positive and valuable information about Menstrual Health. They are cup pioneers in Burkina Faso, with direct and indirect sales through women ambassadors, and small-scale distribution programs. Although newly active, the team is already referenced as cup experts and plays a major role in raising awareness among health actors, associations and institutions to promote the safe and broader use of cups.

For more information or to support this project visit the Menstru’elles website at https://www.menstruelles.com

Press Contact: Elodie Koundouno

Email: elodie@menstruelles.com

About Femme International

Femme International is a menstrual health NGO in East Africa that uses education, conversation, and distribution to break taboos and address the barriers people face as a result of menstruation. They have been implementing menstrual interventions and working with menstrual cups for 8 years, working with nearly 20,000 menstruators. Additionally, they are M&E experts and working to bridge the gap between research and programme implementation, ensuring evidence is accessible and practical.

For more information or to support this project visit the Femme International website at www.femmeinternational.org

Press Contact: Jen Rubli

Email: jennifer@femmeinternational.org

About Dining for Women

Dining for Women is a powerful community of women and allies engaged in education, advocacy, and grant making to build the movement for global gender equality.

We have hundreds of chapters across the U.S., where members come together to learn about issues impacting women and girls globally, give charitably to support organizations working to empower and create opportunities for women and girls globally, and advocate for international development aid that supports women’s interests.

For more information or to support this project visit the Dining for Women website at www.diningforwomen.org

Press Contact: Dr. Veena Khandke

Email: veena@diningforwomen.org