Welcome to the "Khud Karo" (English translation- Do it yourself) National Competition on Menstrual Waste Management at Home brought to you by Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation. It aims to mobilize people to manage soiled sanitary pads 'correctly and on their own' at home before it is disposed outside.The competition aims to build awareness on household waste and menstrual waste in terms of correct way to handle, store and dispose household waste BECAUSE EVERY LITTLE CHANGE BEGINS WITH INFORMATION.
This competition starts from today 1st August and runs all the way upto 1st November. On 15th November 10 winners will be announced who will be selected after their entry is reviewed by a panel. All genders are invited to participate even though only girls and women generate menstrual waste because men and boys can educate family members.10 winners will win an attractive prize and certificates from Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation. We will door deliver your gift as its pandemic times and a function is not feasible.
In India, homes are super clean. Everyday there is sweeping and mopping and I know few homes where mopping is done even more than once to keep it squeaky clean. Shoes are often kept outside the main door to ensure cleanliness. But the same homes do not take that interest in ensuring the waste generated in their homes are stored in a clean manner, are separated according to the different types of waste/segregated, carried out to dispose the waste to the disposal mechanism available in the village, town or city.
In Bangalore where I live, BBMP or Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the municipal corporation arranges waste pick up door-to-door from homes. Where big apartments are there, bins are installed in the basement where residents dispose the waste and the civic worker collects it on a daily basis. That way dwellers of Bengaluru are rather fortunate in contrast to my parents living in Imphal,Manipur who have not had any agency pick up waste from their homes in the past 2 years.
But even with such high end service available to us here, people do not make effort to segregate waste at home or throw their garbage correctly in the bins installed in their society building/apartments. Once I saw a lady whose balcony is adjacent to mine sweep her entire house and throw the dust and dirt collected by her outside from her balcony from the 4th floor! I took long to recover from that shock. Additionally, the site of the bins in the society are anything but pretty; cause being people do not care. Every time I go to place my house waste, I feel like puking on seeing, smelling or touching the bins and the mixed garbage because people do not care to segregate them. The landfill in New Delhi fooled me to believe it was a mountain range.
Waste management has always been a tough challenge even for the government and authorities and even though a lot has been achieved in terms of policy and new technologies being installed and used for collection, recycling and processing, there is one area that is seriously lagging behind. And that is people's involvement and commitment in waste management in their homes. The management of menstrual waste is even tougher for the municipality and civic workers.
We talk about hygiene during menstruation and our focus is mostly centered around sanitary products to use but the conversation is incomplete till we think and make arrangements about how we will throw them after use. Do users think, know and practice equal importance and responsibility towards disposal which has implications on other people like the waste pickers and civic workers and the environment?
Basic understanding on waste management scenario and the entire chain through which soiled sanitary pads go through till they reach their final destination can go a long way in changing the menstrual waste crisis in India. Menstrual hygiene and household waste management are correlated to each other. A house with no facility for collection and disposal of soiled sanitary pads will have no menstrual hygiene and good menstrual health among girls and women in the household. Do you know due to shame, secrecy and silence around menstruation, they go to great lengths to hide used and soiled pads? In the absence of proper disposal facility at home, school or office they are most likely to keep wearing a pad for long hours damaging their health and cleanliness.
No amount of investing money and human resource in waste management by the authorities, NGOs and partners can give us clean neighborhoods and safe environment till each unit, the household, takes responsibility and does their part with their garbage once equipped with accurate information and motivation to make a contribution.
Those with keen interest in the family, school or workplace in appropriate garbage handling and disposal and are personally involved with responsibility are people who have knowledge about what the waste crisis in India is.
Join Breaking the Silence Campaign and be the change you want to see in your neighbourhood, village, town or city. Join the competition that is making an effort to build awareness and social responsibility among each user of these sanitary materials to take ownership of managing menstrual waste.
Our 1st participant of the Khud Karo/Do It Yourself National Competition on Menstrual Waste Management is Nongmaithem Jerina from Manipur, a Master in Social Work (MSW) student from Rajagiri College of Social Sciences in Kerala.
It is fantastic how Jerina, 22, has taken such a profound step in segregating sanitary waste from other household waste and disposed it appropriately and then showing others how to do it, starting the ripple effect.
Jerina throws light on the local situation in terms of city waste management:
" We don't have a proper garbage bin to throw household waste in our localities in Manipur so we accumulate the waste in our house and waste collectors pick it up from our house once a week. During the lockdown this mechanism of waste collection has been disrupted; in fact nobody has come to collect our waste in these five months. Leaving no option, people throw the waste in the drains and in other cases, some have piled on the waste around their houses. In the absence of a city based disposal, I am clueless about where I should throw the soiled sanitary pads. This case is relevant in my locality and I cannot say with surety what is happening in other localities in Imphal."
The 2nd participant is Godwin Bosco from Kerala, 38, who works at Cognizant Technology Solutions, Kochi. Even though it is girls and women who generate soiled sanitary napkins, boys and men in the household have an important role in educating family members, their communities and friend circle on correct disposal of sanitary waste.
Godwin Bosco demonstrates how a guy can be in all conversations on menstrual hygiene management and safe disposal because it is not just a woman's issue, it is everyone's issue.
Our third participant of the National Khud Karo Competition on Management of Sanitary Waste (English translation: Do it yourself) is Dipak Sinha, 52, central government officer who is currently posted in Bhopal/Madhya Pradesh but hails from Guwahati/Assam. Dipak believes and lives a life of conservation avoiding wastage of available resources at all levels. The video submission will show you clearly the planning and thought that has gone behind his conservation efforts within his home.
"Every person can contribute in his/her own way to make a difference to the waste crisis in particularly bio-medical waste that includes sanitary waste."
If you want to wish to share Dipak's video-
The National Competition on Managing Menstrual Waste at Home is reaching different corners of India! People from Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal are taking up the yoke of responsibility.
Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation, a non-profit is devoted to creating change agents who do not shy away from taking action, speaking out, sharing and advocating for menstrual hygiene management.
We encourage everyone from all genders, age and vocation to participate in the competition because every household generates waste and we can inspire each other to be a part of the waste solution.
You may participate by sending in your 2 minute videos showing sanitary waste management at home to [email protected], be featured on our global campaign, win exciting prizes and certificate and be the game changer in your community.
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