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Period Poverty: A Global Challenge

Safe and affordable menstrual hygiene products are essential to ensuring the sexual and reproductive health of women, girls, and all people who menstruate. Period poverty, or the lack of access to such products, remains a key barrier to menstrual health around the world. This problem can also have social and economic consequences, forcing those who can’t afford menstrual hygiene products to stay home from work or school while menstruating.

Roof and Roots: A Local Solution in Lebanon

In Lebanon, worsening economic conditions have hit women and girls hard, causing period poverty to rise. The Lebanese social enterprise Roof and Roots, supported by ACTED, UN Women, and funding from the Government of Japan, has been working to address this problem on two fronts. The organization trains and employs local women to manufacture and distribute affordable menstrual products, while also facilitating discussions and educational sessions to help break taboos around menstruation and reproductive health.

Hiba Mohammad Hussein: A Personal Struggle

Hiba Mohammad Hussein, 34, and Itab Bayoud, 46, are two Tripoli locals who have faced period poverty and menstrual stigma in their lives. Now working with Roof and Roots, they are helping to ensure other women and girls don’t have the same experiences. Hiba, a mother of two, began working with Roof and Roots in 2021, making sanitary products and raising awareness on reproductive health.

Breaking Taboos: Educational and Awareness Efforts

By promoting safe and healthy spaces for all menstruators, Roof and Roots aims to secure access to essential menstrual resources, including information, sanitation facilities, non-judgmental and supportive environments, supplies, and products. Through frequent conversations, discussions, and awareness campaigns, initiatives like Roof and Roots strive to destigmatize periods and increase the knowledge of the community, improving mental and physical well-being for those who menstruate.

Other Initiatives Tackling Period Poverty in Lebanon

Various international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have implemented initiatives to limit and eradicate period poverty in Lebanon. Dawrati, Fe-Male, and Jeyetik are examples of local NGOs that distribute menstrual kits, organize awareness sessions, and work to break the period poverty stigma. International NGOs like UNFPA, Days for Girls, and Plan International have also researched period poverty, distributed menstrual dignity kits to those in need, and conducted awareness sessions on methods to deal with periods and other related topics in Lebanon.

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