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The Mpower Menstrual Cup

Categories: ALL THE NEWS , Health
A menstrual management solution for all women

The menstrual cup (MCup) is a non-absorbent reusable barrier cup that collects menstrual blood. It comes in 2 sizes and is made from medically approved 100% pure silicone (which means no impurities like colour) in an FDA certified factory AND is also now officially a certified “Proudly South African” product. See FDA link for Shaft Technical Mouldings: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/ims/mkex/ims/ims-fr.cfm 

The Mpower Menstrual Cup’s local design and manufacture ensures that safety and design standards are monitored and controlled by the owner. The storage bag provided with each Mcup is made by a community project based in Ottery, Western Cape called The Sewing Project. Here, unemployed women are skills developed in sewing techniques and are paid a per bag rate to make the storage bags.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE MCUP

Eco-friendly
One Mcup is the equivalent of 1200 pads and is therefore a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to pads and tampons. The Mcup is reusable so no need for regularly purchasing, using and disposing of traditional pads/tampons. It does not contain latex. With the Mcup there is nothing to throw away, or to run out of.

Hygienic & Reliable

The Mcup is easy to clean as the lining is totally smooth and the tab is flat. It is odourless and entirely invisible with no strings and provides more reliable protection as it opens to form a seal that resists leakage. It is non porous and non-absorbent.

Effective

The Mcup holds up to three times more fluid than the average tampon or pad. It can be used before first sexual intercourse and in conjunction with an IUD or contraceptive diaphragm. As it is non-absorbent it is safe to use before the onset of menstruation so ensures maximum preparation.

Comfortable & Convenient

The Mcup is available in 2 sizes. It is comfortable as it is made from soft flexible silicone rubber. Ideal for an active lifestyle eg: running, gym, yoga, swimming etc. and can be worn overnight. It needs to be changed less frequently than even the highest absorbency tampons and is convenient to carry in your bag.
South Africa still faces a number of social challenges among them high unemployment (reaching 40% in our communities), lack of food security, poor housing, crime and a high HIV/AIDS prevalence. These problems are more pronounced in township communities due to historical imbalances.

Women in particular face many challenges on the economic and social front and sometimes bear the brunt of trying to rise up the social ladder while supporting and nurturing their families and extended families. Poverty takes its toll on women and compromises on their health and wellbeing. In South Africa there are an estimated 13 million women of reproductive age (15-49-years-old) who may need menstrual management solutions. An anonymous national tampon and pad retailer has speculated that only about 40% of these women regularly purchase tampons or pads.
The majority of South African women are unable to afford any form of sanitary health solution. There is anecdotal evidence that young women and girls, from poverty stricken and/or rural areas, miss several days of school each month because they are menstruating and lack sanitary ware. Many are forced to use alternatives such as rags, toilet paper, newspaper, or ‘recycled’ (previously used) tampons and pads
Although poor sanitation is correlated with absenteeism and drop-out of girls in developing countries, efforts in school sanitation to address this issue have ignored menstrual management in latrine design and construction. (Menstrual Hygiene and Management in Developing Countries: Taking Stock, November 2004 by Sowmyaa Bharadwaj and Archana Patkar)

The worldwide environmental impact of disposable feminine hygiene products is considerable. Approximately 160 million pads/tampons get thrown away on South Africa every month and take approximately 500 years to decompose.

Most of the waste is sent to landfills or burnt, but a good portion of it passes through sewage treatment plants ending up in oceans, as litter on beaches and endangering wildlife.
A 2006 study found that sanitary pads are twice as harmful to the environment as tampons. Sanitary pads contain processed plastics, specifically polyethylene. The process used to manufacture this plastic contributes to global warming and ozone depletion, while also emitting sulphur and nitrogen oxides, contributing to acidification.

With the Mpower Menstrual Cup we can help building empowered, informed and dignified women. Menstruating is a natural part of being a girl/woman. No one should have to struggle with managing their periods and being left with the feeling of disempowerment, loss of dignity and embarrassment.
Too many girls and women in this country don't have the funds to buy themselves sanitary wear which means they use cloths or rags, newspaper or other unsanitary solutions. This puts them at risk of infections and is very disempowering.

Many girls and women stay away from school, other activities and obligations during their period to avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of cloths or nothing. For the school girls this means they miss out on average 250 days of their high school. Consequently many girls drop out perpetuating the cycle of illiteracy, unemployment and disempowerment. -we need to break this cycle by reaching out to offer a sustainable solution for all girls and women.
 
We are working towards creating more awareness and to make the Mcup available to all girls and women and improve women’s/ girls’ personal and collective well being in reducing gender inequalities and increasing social cohesion.

This will benefit the community by capacitating local women, reducing waste and enabling women/ girls to be active members of their community.
With education and access to information all girls/women can achieve better chances at success and dignity.

Mpower Menstrual Cup’s objectives are to:

  • Raise standards of sanitary dignity
  • Promote gender equality
  • Enable girls to attend school every day of the month
  • To develop positive, creative strategies to improve the social and economic status of women and girls
  • Raise awareness of reducing waste and respecting the environment
  • Provide a unique solution to a problem that is commonly known
  • Offer real benefits that improve a girl child’s quality of life
  • Implement tangible change
  • Supply a sustainable, easy to use product (Mpower menstrual cup)
  • Implement and deliver a campaign with widespread distribution channels, excellent follow up and innovative practice
  • To build relationships and open opportunities for dialogue with organizations who are working to break through barriers for the women and girls of Africa
  • Make it matter in human terms
  • Facilitate empowerment through access to information

To achieve these objectives we will:

  • Support and challenge all schools to raise standards and promote dignity
  • Work with partners to spread best and innovative practice and create solutions
  • Provide a high quality locally manufactured menstrual cup called the Mpower Menstrual Cup
  • Move from differentiation to actually making a difference to women, communities and society.
  • Continuously train and develop our staff
  • Provide or secure high quality, best value services
  • Be teachable
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