MOOVE has a mission to make proper period products accessible to all women and menstruators. “Period poverty” is a term that relates to the disadvantages for those in remote and developing communities that have poor access to period products and education. To minimise this issue, MOOVE is collaborating with non-profit organisations and Yayasan Noken Papua (YAKENPA) is one of them.
Initially, Yayasan Noken Papua was built from the desire to help the youth recover from drug and alcohol addiction in Papua. It then ventured into actively spreading awareness about general health and reproduction health to HIV/AIDS awareness. Taking care of women’s menstrual hygiene in this extremely remote area was also on their list, and here’s how, MOOVE, helped by donating 1-period underwear for every 2 products sold.
Meet Ratih Eka Pertiwi, a brilliant & devoted activist as well as the Program Coordinator of Yayasan Noken Papua since 2019. She has been highly active in the NGO world since 2006 and has tons of working experience in multiple organisations. This incredible woman also achieved her PhD in Population & Global Health earlier this year.
We find her very inspiring, so we talked to her to know more about her mission, experience, drive, and goal. Find our conversations in the Q&A below!
Is there any particular event that made you start to care deeply about sanitation, health, and HIV/AIDS?
- Yes, actually especially in Papua, where we witnessed how women and girls in the area barely have access to clean and drinking water, health services are located far from their houses, and Papua is one of the provinces with the highest cases of HIV and AIDS in Indonesia.
Has there been any “eye-opening” lesson (related to the reality of health, sanitation, drugs & alcohol abuse, etc in Papua) during your PhD?
- Working with young people who abuse alcohol in Papua, I found that there are still many young people who are marginalised and have never been involved in youth programmes/activities. These young people then use alcohol to form their social groups and establish their support system. Their drinking intake is so extreme and contributes to the death and sickness of the youth.
Could you tell us more about the status of women’s reproduction care and sanitation awareness in Papua?
- I think any existing government/non-government projects do not prioritise women’s reproduction care and sanitation awareness in Papua. In fact, according to our experience working with girls and women in Papua, the demand and need for reproduction care and sanitation are very high.
What do you think is the most challenging part of your mission?
- Because most of our work is for behavioural change, this part can be challenging as it can take a long period of time and needs a lot of resources.
What are your goals over the next 5 years?
- We have planned to do our organisation’s fund-raising activity, by forming a social enterprise working with the women and girls we have been assisting thus far.
This question is about YAKENPA: when did YAKENPA start the menstrual health program? Would you please explain it more?
- We started our Menstrual Hygiene Program in 2020. Activities under this program included menstrual hygiene training in schools, and establishing peer-to-peer educators for high schools and for out-of-school children. Later in 2020, we collaborated with a women’s organisation and Churches in Papua to provide training on sewing reusable menstrual pads using existing materials, for individuals living in areas with challenging access to sanitary pads.