#LetsFaceItPeriod –Campaign by NFCC and Bushtember Foundation

Kota’s partner organization NFCC International along with the Bushtember Foundation launched their #LetsFaceItPeriod campaign on September 1st with an event at the Centre for Social Innovation in New York City.  It’s all about menstrual hygiene, the availability of hygienic practices, and better ways to manage it for women around the world.

           Investing in women’s health, particularly in sexual and reproductive health, is critical for saving lives and reducing ill-health among women and their children; fulfilling their internationally recognized right to good health; and eventually increasing women’s education and their contribution to the economy. The lack of hygiene facilities and pads/tampons, painkillers and other supplies contributes to an extraordinary number of missed days of work and school, and in many countries causes girls to drop out of school entirely. Part of the reason is the reluctance of both men and women to bring up the topic in any context.

           The campaign aims to start the dialogue on menstrual hygiene management around the world and to break taboos and stigmas that continue to exist in developed as well as developing countries. It also aims at raising funds to support women’s health and empowering NGOs around the world that dedicate their work to Menstrual Hygiene Management Programmes.

           The festive launch event featured delicious food by ARK Catering, and was accompanied by an impressive group of speakers including Canadian author and artist and Rupi Kaur, whose March 2015 Instagram photo of a fully clothed woman lying in bed with a period stain was deleted twice by Instagram. Her Facebook response to the photo being ‘censored by Instagram’ made headlines around the world, and she then received an apology from Instagram as the photo was restored. Her photography series around menstruation was created to  “demystify the period and make something that is innate ‘normal’ again.”

           Other speakers were Tanzanian fashion model Millen Magese and supermodel Mari Malek, founder of Stand4Education. There was also a video message from Kiran Gandhi who recently ran the London Marathon without a tampon while having her period. She did so to raise awareness about women around the world who have no access to feminine products and to encourage women to not be ashamed of their periods – key attributes of the #LetsFaceItPeriod campaign.

The 5 beneficiary organizations that the funding will support are:

1. Femme international
2. Stand4Education
3. Girls Health Ed
4. Make them Visible
5. Huru International

Kota wishes NFCC and the Bushtember Foundation success with their September campaign!

AI Adopts Controversial Sex Work Resolution

           The result of the debate described in the previous two posts: Amnesty International’ s International Council Meeting 2015 adopted a controversial resolution, which recommends that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.

Read the full text here.

           A strongly dissenting opinion written by Jessica Neuwirth, human rights lawyer who worked at AI, and founder of Equality Now and Donor Direct Action, read it here.

           According to Neuwirth, “Sweden has made a legal distinction between those driven into the sex industry by poverty and discrimination and those who buy sex as an exercise of power and privilege. Its model law criminalizes only the buying of sex and offers support services to those who are bought. This progressive feminist method aims to decriminalize prostituted women without legitimizing the men who buy them.”

           Without the benefit of having been present at the discussions, we wonder why this sensible view did not prevail?

Kota Expert Insights: Aga Wilson & Mari Malek on Women’s Collaboration

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The Kota Alliance Members Aga Wilson  (international development expert and the Executive Director of NFCC International) and Mari Malek (DJ, model, and the founder of Stand4Education) are passionate about improving the conditions for women and girls globally.

           NFCC International works on sexual reproductive health and empowering women and girls in Nepal. The organization has also been closely involved in the disaster relief efforts of the recent earthquake to ensure that women and girls have access to basic necessities. Stand4Education facilitates access to education in South Sudan. Their approach includes empowering women and children through education, fashion, music and art. In addition, Aga and Mari are fierce advocates for mentoring and women’s collaboration in the non-profit sector.

Who We Are:

           Meet Aga, Mari, and their organizations in this Kota Expert Insights Google Hangout:

Why Women’s Collaboration Matters:

           The approach of both NFCC and Stand4Education is to mentor, support, and engage women in collaborations. This is why and how they do it:

For more information on NFCC International, please see/contact:

Email: info@nfccint.org
Facebook:  NFCC International
Twitter: @nfccint
Website: www.nfccint.org

More information on Stand4Education, please see/contact:

Email: mari@stand4education.org
Facebook: Stand For Education, Inc.
Twitter: @stand4ed

*   *   *   *

           The Kota Alliance is a new New York-based non-profit that aims to support organizations working on gender issues and women’s rights. The core purpose of Kota is to help underserved organizations to excel and to collaborate, by offering both programmatic and technical support. In the future, Kota will also provide office, co-working and, conference space, event space and lodging for visitors – all at affordable prices. This will be accomplished by creating the space as a social enterprise, and use of the building at market rates by anyone wishing to contribute to the cause.

           In late Spring 2015, Kota organized an event,  #KotaDay to offer opportunities for networking and co-learning — in essence, to showcase its core mission. The day featured keynotes by economist and authorDambisa Moyo;  Lopa Banerjee, Chief of the Civil Society Section at UNWomen; and Sheryl WuDunn, Author of A Path Appears. Some hundred participants also attended 14 interactive workshops, topics of which ranged from girls’ rights and women’s in conflict situations, to fundraising and legal issues.

This series of posts features Expert Insights from selected workshops and their leaders. Hope you find them useful for your non-profit or related work!

Mari Malek and Aga Wilson giving a Keynote on Women’s Collaboration, #KotaDay2015

Mari Malek and Aga Wilson giving a Keynote on Women’s Collaboration, #KotaDay2015