Help Prevent Period Poverty and Stop the Stigma This September with a Vote for Irise International

Posted on 26 Aug 2020 by Amy Jackson

Irise International Logo

Irise International is an award winning charity that was founded in 2011 and aims to create a world where no one is held back by their period. The charity works both in the UK and in East Africa to overcome period poverty and shame, through delivering practical and educational menstrual health programmes, carrying out research, and advocating for changes to practices and policies.


In the UK

Through their work here in the UK, Irise is on a mission to end period shame and empower young people to reach their potential and create change.

- Transform Period Shame - The stigma surrounding periods often prevents young people from accessing menstrual products, as well as the support and guidance they need, which in turn can have a negative impact on body confidence and self-image. Irise work to break the stigma in order to help young people access the support and products they need.

- Leading Towards Change - Irise’s network of young people is there to challenge the traditional views and structures within society that have caused periods to be neglected and stigmatised.

- Influencing Policy & Practice - The charity works to represent the diversity and experiences of people who have periods in order to create an equal, more inclusive society where there is no such thing as period poverty or shame.

- Understanding - Periods have been neglected for far to long. Irise aims to change this by working to understand how periods affect people and which support methods work best. By gathering good data, this means that periods can be integrated into wider policies and practices.

In March 2020, the charity announced their Empower Period Programme, which allows young people to lead their own period positive projects within their communities and to join the nationwide conversation about periods.


In East Africa

In East Africa, periods have been identified as a key reason for why young girls miss school. Irise also works in Uganda to help build period friendly schools and communities, so that young girls are no longer fearful of periods and are able to reach their full potential.

- Access to Menstrual Products - The charity supports local manufacturers, trains entrepreneurs and establishes local markets in order to create access to sustainable and affordable menstrual products within the most marginalised communities.

- Education - Irise work with national and local governments to help train schools and teachers in delivering period education. This allows it to be integrated into existing curriculums so that period education becomes a norm.

- Changing Harmful Social Norms - In these countries there is often a lot of stigma, myths and taboos around periods. Irise partner with local champions in order to empower locals, leading to a positive, lasting impact within the communities.

- Shaping Policies - The charity shares their knowledge with policy makers and local leaders, allowing them to shape their interventions. Ultimately, the aim is to empower every school and community in East Africa to become period friendly.

The charity’s work has shown a great deal of impact on these communities, including a 50% reduction in period related absenteeism among girls in schools, which has reduced dropout rates and improved exam performance. Their work has also helped to change attitudes among school boys too, with a reduction in bullying and discriminatory behaviours, as well as an increased number of supportive attitudes. Teachers have also reported an improvement in their knowledge and confidence when it comes to educating pupils about periods. There has also been a 52% increase in household incomes and improved status within communities as a result of training entrepreneurs.


How You Can Support Irise International

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, vulnerable people with periods are still feeling the devastating consequences. While Irise’s emergency appeal has helped supporters to raise much needed funds, there are still many vulnerable women and girls both in the UK and abroad who are still feeling the impact.

This September, we are delighted to be supporting Irise International in our charity poll. You can help them win 20% of this month’s profits by casting your vote for them.

If you want to find out more about the charity, make a donation, or even get involved with their work, visit their website.

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