We received a grant last year from St. Andrew’s Anglican Church to purchase 100 menstrual cups as an experimental pilot program. A menstrual cup is a small, flexible, funnel-shaped cup made out of surgical grade silicone. It is inserted into the vagina to collect, rather than absorb, menstrual fluid. Menstrual cups overall are a much healthier option for a woman’s body than using disposable pads or tampons.
We targeted girls ages 16 and up in high schools and young, working mothers. Upon completion of the education sessions, participants were allowed to choose between our two sustainable menstrual management options. About 50% chose cups and 50% chose the hand-sewn washable pads and shields. During the six-month pilot program, an average of 20 cups monthly were distributed in six lakeside communities: Jocotepec, El Molino, San Pedro Itzican, San Pedro Tesislan, San Cristobal, and Chapala.
We will continue to provide the option of kits containing menstrual cups when it is age-appropriate. Although the cups are a more expensive sustainable menstrual management method than the washable pads, the cups last up to 12 years, making them a great cost-effective alternative in the long-run for our DFG program participants, in addition to their health and wellness benefits.