Like every year in search of the most effective and popular social action project globally, the British Council and Active Citizens organised the "Global Active Citizens Social-Action-Project Competition 2018" for all the participants who were trained at the Active Citizens Youth Leadership training programme between the period April 2017 – March 2018. This year it was youth-led community project ‘Safe Period’ from Bangladesh won the competition.
What is "Safe Period’ and why?
In the rural communities of Bangladesh, menstruation is a big social taboo. It is often seen as an impure counterpart of women’s lives. Girls with underprivileged background are the most vulnerable victims of this taboo. They are often misguided by elders, and due to the lack of hygienic facilities and poor sanitation support in the communities, young girls fail keeping themselves clean during the days of menstruation. This often leads to the development of diseases, which can damage the reproductive systems and or even cause death. ‘Safe Period’ Social Action Project aims to break the taboo by creating the awareness around menstrual hygiene for lower middle-class teenage girls and people of the rural communities.
The journey of ‘Safe Period’:
A group of Active Citizens – Robin, Fateema, Jui, Imraul, Naznin, Tuhin and Hafiza – took on "Safe Period" as their Social Action Project after completing their Active Citizens training in 2017. Through the training sessions, they learned about team-building, project management, advocacy, how to stay motivated and motivate others to fight for the cause they believe in.
After few group meetings and discussions, they communicated with two schools in Dhaka, where the school authorities permitted them to conduct friendly workshops on "Safe Period" for the girls aged between 12 to 18 years. During the workshops, they interacted with the girls and identified the areas where help was needed and the necessary steps to eradicate their problems and fears about menstruation. With repeated counselling they raised awareness on menustrual cycle and how to stay healthy during menustration. Following that, they included a gynaecologist and a nutritionist in their programme for more in details conversation on menustrual hygine and support required during period. Furthermore, to reduce the rate of genital infections which is caused by the use of small cloths as pad (common in both semi urban and rural areas) during menustration the active citizens communicated with BRAC and arranged low cost sanitary pads for the semi urban and rural girls. These young group of Active Citizens believed that through peer group sharing and friendly approach this issue can be solved at all level and prevent diseases related to poor hygine maintain during menustration.
As the winner of the global Active Citizen Social Action Project Competition 2018, ‘Safe Period’ will be awarded in the Active Citizens Global Meeting, which will be held in London in 24 September 2018. Mehedi Hasan Robin, pioneer of project, has been invited to attend the meeting and present the project in the Social Action Project showcase.
Like "Safe Period" everyday our Active Citizens are designing and implementing numerous projects in thier local community that benefits the community directly.Through our Active Citizens project, we encourage young leaders to play an active role in their local communities by developing awareness of the values of global citizenship and putting this into their action through social action projects in their local communities