Unfortunately, the topic of menstruation is still strongly stigmatized. Many women don’t have access to safe female hygiene products. We want to change this, one step at a time. Starting in Bangladesh, selling menstrual cups on a non-profit basis. Even more important, we believe education is the best way to empower people.
Step 1: The Field Study
Currently, we’re working with our partner CMMS on a field survey in Bangladesh. This will be the very first time menstrual cups will be properly introduced into the Bangladeshi market. The study will be conducted with 450 young women in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka and will be accompanied by a workshop explaining everything about menstruation and menstrual cups. These women will give feedback about the usage of period cups. The data will be used to finalize details of our selling project.
Step 2: Local Distribution
With the information gathered from the study we will establish a local distribution network for the cups. Working together with women from Dhaka we will sell cups for a low prize. They may buy period cups in bulks from us and can then redistribute them with slight profit for themselves. This network is advantageous to common sale, because in many contexts product and topic are still treated very sensitive. We will also offer free further workshops to the women who want to start selling the cups. They may then pass on their knowledge to other girls. However, we will cooperate with local stores as well and might open up an online shop as we proceed.
Step 3: The Long-Term Goal
Thinking long-term, this project is designed to become autonomous – without further aid from us. When all structures are set and the procedures of supply and workshops are coordinated, Poculum will become independent from our university group of students. So, until then there are some ways to go. After Dhaka, the period cup should also become available in more rural areas in Bangladesh and we might even expand onto neighbouring countries. Local coordination and communication will be handed over to local employees in the project. All material flows will be automated, and the selling network will be lead by local partners.
Inspired by projects working with menstrual cups in other countries, we were looking for a place where the innovative cup is still unheard of and would be most beneficial. The current situation regarding menstrual hygiene in Bangladesh leaves room for improvement, to say the least. Products like pads and tampons are, if at all available, rather expensive for the local population. We see the importance to work towards change and are proud to be part of a movement that encourages menstruation issues – starting in Bangladesh.