Long before they stepped into their current leadership roles, EWB Carleton’s co-Vice Presidents of Advocacy, Tejas Kokatnur and Nicole Littlejohn, came across an intriguing group spearheading work in the area of menstrual health. The Pad Project, famous for their Netflix documentary, “Period. End of Sentence”, works with youth activists and educators, as
well as community members in rural India, Nepal, Kenya, and Sri Lanka, to make menstrual products and sexual and reproductive health education more accessible for menstruators. Tejas and Nicole got in touch with a member of the education team at The Pad Project to help host a documentary screening and Q&A session with members of the Carleton Chapter and the broader Carleton community, and the relationship with the Organization immediately blossomed from there.
Despite the many challenges that virtual events can pose, the Chapter reported the screening to be a major success, and was even able to secure an ongoing relationship with The Pad Project team. The attendance and energy at the event were both high, in large part thanks to a tight-knit Carleton engineering community and the local EWB Chapter’s reputation for putting on meaningful, enjoyable student events. In part because of the event’s success, the Advocacy Portfolio at EWB Carleton will be moving forward with a research project that will help to inform better waste management and sustainability within The Pad Project’s product line.
Though the research project is still in its early stages, it has many of the Carleton advocacy folks excited about the prospect of scaling their work with The Pad Project and the influence that they can have more generally in the global development space. They are one of the first engineering groups to work with The Pad Project, and have helped to influence discussions on bringing more engineering and sustainability work into the organization’s operations. If all goes well, there is even hope that this project could expand and include other EWB chapters and members to help really amplify the work that The Pad Project is doing with environmental care.
Linking this back to EWB’s work and focus on the Impact Framework areas, the collaborative work that The Pad Project is doing with EWB Carleton and other ambassadors across North America overlaps significantly with EWB’s work to address global poverty and inequality. The work directly addresses Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by tackling the barriers to continued education that many menstruators face. It also very directly fits within Universal Security, by influencing local economies and creating viable, sustainable jobs through the operation of manual pad machines. Finally, the work that Carleton’s team is planning to do moving forward with the organization will help to influence the broader Energy, Climate, & Environment landscape by working to reduce the waste that is caused by menstrual products in general.
We are excited to see where EWB Carleton’s work goes with The Pad Project, and are confident that this new partnership can serve as an example for other chapters and local changemakers looking to elevate the work their great organizations in their communities are doing. Keep an eye out for more updates and news on EWB Carleton’s work in the future - we’re sure this isn’t the last that we’ll be hearing from them!