On June 3 – my fourth day in Namibia – I met with Sister Namibia, a feminist, women’s rights organization that uses media to raise awareness on issues that affect women in Africa. They showed me the just printed magazines that had arrived minutes before I arrived, containing an article about Empower Women in Africa. We were both excited to have the magazines available so I could include them in my upcoming travels and expand their reach.
I showed Mimi and Laura a kit of pads that had been made in the US by volunteers. Laura’s face lit up with excitement as she said, “We created a proposal for just this last year!” The need for access to reusable pads had been recognized in early 2012, but because of limited funding, they’d been unable to pursue their program idea.
“How much can I buy it for?” Mimi asked. I explained about our program in Rundu where women had begun sewing the pads and our price point was N$20 (with the exchange rate that day, this came out to about US$2) for one base and three inserts. I sold her one set on the spot and she was excited to share the project on Facebook and with her friends who she knew would want to buy more – all to give away to girls in rural areas.
Mimi’s excitement was palpable. She could barely sit down for our conversation and when I asked about menstruation in her culture in the Caprivi region of Namibia, she was even willing to share some of her experience with reaching menarche and what is expected of girls: