Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) is all set to embark on a crowd-funding initiative to create awareness on menstrual hygiene during disasters and provide support to women through the installation of sanitary vending and disposal machines at flood shelters.
In this context, ASDMA will also mark its 11th foundation day on March 23, 2022 with a "Marathon for Resilience" to sensitize women on menstrual hygiene.
This is for the first time that ASDMA has undertaken a crowd-funding initiative wherein it will appeal to citizens to take part in the state emergency preparedness targeting women and adolescent girls.
"Since schools in Assam are mostly used as flood relief shelters, therefore these centres can be equipped with sanitary pad vending machines wherein regular supply of biodegradable pads will be maintained," a statement from ASDMA said on Tuesday.
Every year as a part of its foundation day celebration, the ASDMA touches upon issues that are of utmost importance in context to disaster management and mitigation and creates awareness about it through various initiatives.
"Similarly, this year, the authority has taken up the issue of Menstrual Hygiene Management during emergencies, which is an area that remains unattended during the relief measures for a long time. Access to safe and dignified menstruation is a fundamental need for women and adolescent girls. However, due to various constraints this vulnerable group remains deprived of the basic needs related to menstrual hygiene," it said.
"Since schools in Assam are mostly used as flood relief shelters, therefore these centres can be equipped with sanitary pad vending machines wherein regular supply of biodegradable pads will be maintained," a statement from ASDMA said on Tuesday.Especially in rural areas of the state, menstruation is considered a taboo induced with stigma, which limits discussion thereby creating a barrier on information exchange.
"This acts as a constraint to the development of a community which is informed and aware of the culture of safety. Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) envisions a future where every girl can learn, play, and safeguard her own health without experiencing stress, shame, or unnecessary barriers to information or supplies during menstruation," it added.
The idea of the crowd funding initiative has been undertaken in order to engage the citizens and sensitize them about the importance and impact of Menstrual Hygiene Management.
"At the same time, it will instill a sense of ownership among the community in order to ensure proper management and use of the sanitary vending and disposal machines and also to maintain sustainability of the activity. Thus, a minimum registration fee will be charged from the participants during registration for the marathon and the fund generated will be utilised for the installation of the sanitary vending and disposal machines at the flood shelters," the statement said.
People of any age group can participate in the marathon by registering online from the ASDMA website.
The marathon will start at 6am in the morning on March 23 from ASDMA headquarters in Dispur and the participants will have to cover a 10-km distance from the Assam Secretariat to the Ulubari flyover and back to the Secretariat.