Thursday, February 22, 2024

BC and United Way fund ‘period poverty’ pilot projects on southern Vancouver Island


Some people can’t afford menstruation products. 

A new announcement from the province and United Way will be the latest step in the ‘end period poverty’ movement to have all hygiene products related to menstruation become affordable or free.

“People with lower incomes who menstruate can be caught without products and face stigma and social isolation,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. 

“This can also impact people who work or attend school. That’s why we’re working with United Way BC to deliver regional grants so local community organizations are empowered to create projects that will eliminate period poverty.”

Southern Vancouver Island is one of five regions that will benefit from the new funding.

Through a provincial grant, United Way has now dispersed $225,000 toward 10 period poverty pilot projects throughout BC. 

On Vancouver Island there are two pilot projects being funded; one in Victoria will receive $20,000 and one in Duncan will receive $25,000. That brings a total of $45,000 in funding to the island.

Victoria’s pilot grant funding will go to the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour. Their goal is to engage a cohort of Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour, including transgender and two-spirit people, who use the hygiene-kit service to create understanding access to products and reusable menstrual products, and expand service to improve delivery time of kits.

Duncan’s funding is going to the Cowichan Women’s Health Collective. They’re looking at developing and distributing an online survey that examines how to increase access to free menstrual products for people with limited resources in the Cowichan Valley area.

BC says that the projects are meant to test new ways of distribution for menstruation products and they will all be subject to studies and examination of effectiveness in reducing stigma.

The funded projects will all be completed by August 2023 and the results will aid United Way’s ‘Period Poverty Task Force’ in developing period poverty ending recommendations for the province by March 2024.

Curtis Blandy

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