The CouldYou? Menstrual Equity Initiative
seeks to eradicate period poverty by 2040
The CouldYou? Menstrual Equity Initiative
seeks to eradicate period poverty by 2040
1 in 10 girls miss school every month during menstruation
1 in 4 teens in the USA have missed school due to lack of period products
500 million women globally experience period poverty every month
64% of teens in the USA believe society teaches them to be ashamed of periods
Globally, menstruation is still heavily stigmatized due to a lack of education and cultural beliefs which can lead to shame and limit a girl’s access to hygienic period products and her interaction with their community.
In some areas, bathroom facilities can lack running water, soap, or privacy making it challenging for girls to change disposable period products and wash.
In US public schools, despite 60+ menstrual equity laws, bathroom lack period products and those that do offer products limit availability to one bathroom and cannot make provisions to meet a girl’s need during after-school and holidays.
In some areas where CouldYou? works, access to any period products can be very limited and very expensive so a girl may need to resort to using other materials such as cloth, paper, leaves, or use disposable period products longer than recommended which can be uncomfortable and can cause leaks as well as lead to serious medical complications. Where other options do exist, they can be cost-prohibitive, and families must prioritize their spending on food and other essentials often leaving menstruators to go without. This means days of missed work and days of missed school.
Contributing to this problem in the US, is that despite the more than 60 state and federal menstrual equity laws, period products are narrowly defined as tampons and pads which limits the distribution of period products to disposal pads and tampons. Disposable period products are expensive, not sustainable, and can lead to health problems.
This is a problem that extends far beyond schools; it affects community medical centers, correctional facilities, refugee centers, and shelters. Paper period products cost thousands of dollars per menstruator. Dependence on disposable period products has negatively contributed to period poverty. The truth is you cannot end period poverty without the menstrual cup.
PE·RI·OD POV·ER·TY: a lack of access to menstrual health products, education, hygiene facilities, waste management, or any combination of these.
PERIOD POVERTY IS A HEALTH DISPARITY, and affects MILLIONS globally, including US women and girls. It’s a health crisis for menstruators.
Early menstruation and increased vulnerability are associated with depression, delinquency, school dropout, and substance abuse. In lower-income areas, girls face substantial challenges to managing menstruation in school, with some girls resorting to transactional sex to purchase sanitary products.
Think this isn’t a problem in the US? Think again. Close to 12 million women across the U.S. aged 12 to 52 years live below the poverty line and most don’t have access to period products. Estimates vary, but in the US 553,000 people experience homelessness on any single night, 28% of which are single women. Independent studies show indigent girl students miss up to 50 days of school each year because they cannot afford period products.
CouldYou? founder and CEO Christine Garde Denning talks about period poverty on New York’s NY1 news.
CouldYou? on ending period poverty.
The CouldYou? Cup is Affordable
The CouldYou? Cup costs just $10 and lasts for 10 years.
We currently have over 125,000 girls on our wait list for the CouldYou? Cup.
Please consider a $28 Get-1 Give-1 donation to get a cup for yourself and to give a cup to one girl on our wait list.
The figures below show how much the average menstruator spends on these products, compared to the CouldYou? Cup:
The CouldYou? Cup is Healthy
The menstrual cup does not absorb the body’s natural defense mechanisms, rather it allows the body to continue its essential cleansing and protective functions.
The medical grade-silicon menstrual cups contain no bleaches, deodorizers, absorbency gels or pesticides. They do not cause irritation and are perfectly suitable for women with sensitive skin or allergies.
Menstrual cups are comfortable, odorless and leak-proof, and do not have to be removed when using the bathroom.
Girls can safely wear them for up to 12 hours without having to change them.
The CouldYou? Cup
⇒ Can be used for up to 12 hours
⇒ Is reusable for 10 years
⇒ Has a 91% acceptability rate
⇒ Is made from 100% medical-grade silicone
⇒ Can be fully recycled
⇒ Saves staggering mountains of waste
The CouldYou? Cup is Sustainable
The average woman discards approximately 150 kilograms of period products in her lifetime, around 90% of which is plastic. 26% of earth’s population are menstruators, so those more than 2 billion people will generate more than 300 billion kilograms of tampon and pad waste in their lifetimes.
Unlike pads and tampons, menstrual cups are reusable, eliminating waste and the need to carry bulky spares.
Through our partnership with Stericycle, at the end of 10 years, the CouldYou? Cup can be safely recycled into clean energy.
The CouldYou? Menstrual Equity Initiative seeks to end period poverty by 2040.
To achieve this goal, CouldYou? is distributing the CouldYou? Cup, a zero-waste menstrual cup made of 100% medical-grade silicone.
Menstrual cups are better for the environment, girls’ and womens’ bodies, and are the most cost-effective option.
One CouldYou? Cup costs $10 and lasts 10 years, and through our partnership with Stericyle, after the 10-year life of the CouldYou? Cup, it is recycled into green energy.
In the US, CouldYou? is committed to expanding the definition of period products in the 60+ state and federal menstrual equity laws to allow for the inclusion of the menstrual cup thereby saving vital funds and providing menstruators a healthier, safer, and sustainable solution.
CouldYou? is on a mission to distribute the cups across the globe.
The CouldYou? solution works.
The CouldYou? Cup has over 91% acceptability of the menstrual cup and nearly 100,000 users of the cup across the world.
Users from different countries, cultures, and faiths report positive experiences from using the CouldYou? Cup and benefit from conversations about menstruation and menstrual health.
A recent study conducted in Ghana shows that CouldYou? menstrual equity interventions work:
Before our intervention
Reported using "unhygienic" products such as plant material
Before our intervention
Reported missing school on a monthly basis during menstruation
After our intervention
Reported missing school on a monthly basis during menstruation
⇒ To distribute the CouldYou? cup to marginalized women across the globe.
⇒ To normalize menstruation by including all people on conversations about menstrual health. It is not just a woman’s issue.
⇒ To provide employment to those who have limited economic opportunities by partnering with community-based non-profits that provide employment to women in need.
⇒ To empower women and girls because a period shouldn’t stop anyone from receiving an education.
⇒ To change the definition of “period products” currently in over 60 state and federal menstrual equity laws to include the menstrual cup.
⇒ To measure the efficacy and impact of our programs by emphasizing monitoring and evaluation, allowing us to continuously improve and adapt our programs.
⇒ To find a solution to ending period poverty that is sustainable, holistic, and mutli-disciplinary: The CouldYou? Cup alongside inclusive menstrual health education.
CouldYou? has numerous projects aimed at normalizing menstruation
as well as combating stigmas and misconceptions associated with it.
The CouldYou? Cup music video
CouldYou? – in partnership with Positivo Mozambique – produced “O Copito,” a music video to break some of the taboos and stigmas associated with menstruation and to introduce the CouldYou? Cup.
The video features young women from Inhambane, Mozambique.
The CouldYou? Cup comic book and cartoon
The widely acclaimed CouldYou? Comic Book, which has been distributed to thousands, was adapted into an animation by FX Animations Mozambique.
It was broadcast across Mozambique and Ghana with the purpose of normalizing menstruation and introducing the CouldYou? Cup.
The united nations
sustainable Development goals
CouldYou? supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.
They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
Learn about how CouldYou? Cup contributes to 11 of the UNSG goals.
Interact with the goals below to learn more.
The UN's goal is to end poverty in all its forms everywhere.
CouldYou? increases girls’ access to basic hygiene/health needs, and reduces girls’ exposure and vulnerability to social and economic shocks.
The UN's goal is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
CouldYou? provides employment for marginalized women, ensuring their ability to feed themselves and their families in collaboration with Zero Hunger Ghana.
The UN's goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
CouldYou? decreases reproductive health risk due to reduced usage of toilet rolls, paper, rags, and leaves for menstruation among rural/vulnerable girls.
The UN's goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
CouldYou? reduces menstruation-related absenteeism among vulnerable girls and increases primary and secondary school completion rates.
The UN's goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
CouldYou? supports inclusive and effective learning for all, devoid of social stigma, increasing school completion rate among targeted girls, and enhancing access to sexual and reproductive rights.
The UN's goal is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
CouldYou? improves menstrual health, personal hygiene, and sanitation among rural/vulnerable women/girls.
The UN's goal is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
The UN's goal is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
CouldYou? increases economic participation of marginalized women, bridging the inequality gap in access to productive resources, increasing incomes of marginalized vulnerable women.
The UN's goal is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
The UN's goal is to reduce inequality within and among countries.
CouldYou? reduces inequalities between wealthy and poor, between boys and girls and between rural, peri-rural, and urban populations.
The UN's goal is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
CouldYou? supports sustainable communities, hires knowledgeable local representatives to solve community problems, and collaborates with local organizations already working on our issues.
The UN's goal is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
CouldYou? increases access to sustainable menstrual hygiene products, reducing waste from disposable and environmental unfriendly menstrual health products.
The UN's goal is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
The UN's goal is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
The UN's goal is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
The UN's goal is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
The UN's goal is to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.
CouldYou? partners with local, sustainable, legitimate organizations, establishing community partnerships to ensure that we have the largest and most effective impact.
Learn more about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
what could you do to
ERADiCATe PERIOD POVERTY?
Get a CouldYou? Cup and give a CouldYou? Cup!
Donate $28 and you will receive your own CouldYou? Cup and one cup will be donated, in your name, to a girl on our waitlist.
Your donation includes shipping in the United States, however we ship worldwide at our cost price.
Sign our manifesto and make history!
We can end period poverty with the CouldYou? Cup. Signing the manifesto means educating yourself and others on period poverty, understanding how the CouldYou? Cup can help end period poverty, and most importantly, be willing to talk about menstruation without shame, regardless of age or gender.
Add CouldYou to your company’s employee matching program!
Are you a company or NGO who wants to provide the CouldYou? Cup for your employees/clients for our wholesale price of $10?
Join NBC, Disney, Estée Lauder, and other great companies by adding us to your employee matching program!
Make a donation towards the eradication of period poverty!
Make a donation to the CoudYou? Cup campaign and help ensure that no girl misses school because of her menstruation.
Menstrual health education is a key component to effective use of the CouldYou? Cup.
Although the menstrual cup has been around since the 1930s, many menstruators do not know they have this cost-effective, hygienic, and safe option. And many communities globally do not fully understand the religious or cultural implications, acceptance, and myths around using a menstrual cup.
Because there are more questions than information readily available, menstrual health education is a vital part of introducing the cup. We want cup users to feel confident about how to use the cup, and also benefit from the careful research scientific and cultural research that has gone into creating the CouldYou? Cup. Education will work towards destigmatizing conversations around menstruation.
Without it, no progress will be made towards a solution.
Community meetings for the whole community where we introduce the CouldYou? Cup and its benefits, as well as address any and all questions and concerns the community may have.
Life skills for boys and girls, because menstruation and menstrual health isn’t just a women’s issue and we need to stop treating it as such.
School nurse and clinic nurse education
For CouldYou? Cup distribution in US schools, we provide an accompanying video and training for school nurses to be able to instruct a new user. Our local representatives tailor the elements of these classes based on the needs of the individual communities.
CouldYou? creates jobs in the communities where we do our work.
We employ marginalized women to sew the cotton pouches that each cup is distributed in. We work closely with local non-profits to identify programs and groups in each community we serve to create this employment opportunity.
Some of the groups we employ are:
⇒ Young sex trafficking survivors in Uganda, in partnership with Rahab House.
⇒ Mothers of severely disabled/ill children in Mozambique, in partnership with Equip Mozambique.
⇒ Girls who have experienced sexual trauma in Mozambique, in partnership with The Liberty Project.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is central to the CouldYou? approach to achieving results-based management (RBM) and provides useful information about the level of risk in our projects.
For CouldYou?, achieving accountability expectations means processes and practices that enable us to keep our stakeholders informed of our work, taking into account and balancing their interests, and ensuring equitable responses to their concerns.
For example, after being told by our local representatives in Ghana that in rural parts of the country there was a need for consent education, we adapted our classes to add a consent component to the outreach.
The class on consent focuses on teaching boys and girls the values of self-love and respect, and that you always need consent.
Our monitoring and evaluation is organized into four main modules with each playing a pivotal role in our ability to monitor and assess progress at country levels and partnerships as a whole.
Routine tracking and reporting of key information and indicators that measure progress at every level.
Provides the foundation for tracking funding and value for money results.
Measurement of projects to ascertain impact, efficiency, effectiveness, relevance and sustainability. We conduct several types of evaluation research to understand how change happens, and ex-post impact evaluations.
Wider communication and dissemination of key achievements and findings — both across the partnership and with the public — to ensure accountability and learning for constant improvement.
NGOS: PARTNER WITH US
A call for expressions of interest
CouldYou? seeks to build and sustain partnerships with local NGOs and communities to scale up the delivery of menstrual cups to vulnerable women and girls.
It is CouldYou?’s objective to sustainably deliver the menstrual cups to communities through partnerships with local NGOs, churches, community influencers, school districts, and government institutions
The ability to manage one’s menstrual health with adequate knowledge, safety, and dignity and without stigma is an essential human right.
However, in vulnerable communities, too many girls and women are not well prepared when menstruation begins. They lack access to information, products, and infrastructure needed to comfortably manage menstruation.
Girls’ and women’s health, well-being, and rights are compromised when they must isolate themselves from their families; avoid work, community activities, or school; and face risks to their physical safety because of their basic biology.
Adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to negative outcomes related to menstruation, including effects on their overall self-esteem and confidence.
The CouldYou? Cup project is sustainably addressing the menstrual health needs of marginalized women and girls through improved access to information and the menstrual cup.
The applicant must:
⇒ Be a registered NGO
⇒ Have a commitment towards women’s reproductive health
⇒ Have a proven past experience in health education
⇒ Have a commitment towards SDG 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and/or 12.
Expressions of interest submission content
The following documents are to be submitted as part of the EOI submission:
⇒ Cover Letter
⇒ Completed CouldYou? Menstrual Cup EOI application form
⇒ Copy of NGO registration document
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed and accepted/rejected within two weeks.
Complete the online form here (Google Docs link)
For a downloadable form or any help in your EOI submission, please contact us.
CouldYou? founder and CEO Christine Garde Denning talks about period poverty on New York’s NY1 news.
Learn about the CouldYou? partner organizations working to end period poverty by 2040.
From medical waste and document destruction to compliance solutions, the Stericycle team has been protecting what matters since 1989.
Stericycle is a U.S. based business-to-business services company and leading provider of compliance-based solutions that protect people and brands, promote health and well-being, and safeguard the environment. Since our founding over 30 years ago, we have grown from a small start-up in medical waste management into a leader across a range of increasingly complex and highly-regulated arenas, serving healthcare organizations and commercial businesses of every size.
THE LIBERTY PROJECT
The Liberty Project is a Christian faith-based non-profit established in 2016 in Pemba, Cabo Delgado, Northern Mozambique, working with vulnerable, exploited and displaced women.
Pathways Togo joins international efforts to improve the quality of life for families in Togo through four programs that directly target our most potent, untapped resource: women. By providing scholarships, life skills training, mentoring opportunities, and small-scale community improvement grants, Pathways Togo embraces the vision: educating women, empowering the world.
Rahab is a Christian non-profit founded in 2005 on a mission to restore the self-image of girls affected by sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Rahab Uganda is raising community awareness through campaigns and workshops, while providing after-care services for the survivors.
FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN
The Foundation for Women (FFW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of women in poverty. We administer microfinance loans to help women start businesses, educate themselves and their children, and create a new life for themselves and their families. The Foundation has created and implemented microfinance programs in India, Zambia, Niger and San Diego. Since 1997 we have positively impacted more than a million women and their families by directly funding microfinance programs and education.
Equip Mozambique: Agents of Transformation. We aim to see hope where others despair, leadership in people that others overlook, and unity and partnership where others see strife and division. Our mission is to raise up Mozambican leaders to find creative and holistic solutions to transform the systemic problems that plague their nation.
Ghanian TV personality, actress, and activist/philanthropist Joselyn Dumas is one of our partners along with her foundation, The Joselyn Dumas Foundation, in the fight against period poverty.
We have partnered with Joselyn to reach more girls in order to spread awareness and to educate.
Mozambican singer Abuchamo Munhoto is partnering with CouldYou?
He is dedicated to breaking stigmas and to normalizing menstruation, and showing Mozambique and the world that real men talk about periods.
Julia Duarte is one of the most popular Mozamibican singers.
As a CouldYou? Cup ambassador she is using her fame to spread the word about the CouldYou? Cup and ending period poverty.
CouldYou? is partnered with New York-based Sarah Little; she is a journalist, author, model, and actress. She is an outspoken advocate for girls around the world, and she founded the female empowerment platform More to Her Story to provide a voice and a platform for girls around the world.
Gigi Lamayne is a popular South African rapper, podcaster and social media influencer.
As a CouldYou? ambassador she is keeping the pressure on period poverty by activating her substantial fanbase.
Brian Temba is a multi-award winning South African singer, songwriter, actor, music producer and film scorer.
Brian’s philanthropic work and support for the CouldYou? period poverty initative is helping us to eliminate the problem by 2040.
Sunessis de Brito
Sunessis de Brito has been in the spotlight as a celebrated model and TV personality in Brazil and Latin America, and she has glossed the pages of several publications and won various beauty contests.
She currently resides in Los Angeles and she is a passionate advocate for girl’s health and education and she has volunteered her time creating instructional videos in Portuguese, as well as as being a great promoter of CouldYou? Cup and its mission.
Are you our next ambassador?
Are you passionate about eradicating period poverty by 2040, and do you have a public platform to promote menstrual equity within your community and audience?
Reach out to us to discuss CouldYou? ambassadorships.
“Thank you for the CouldYou? Cup; I feel free!”
Magdalena is a Mozambican teenager. Her home was destroyed – not only her physical home, but her home life too– when both of her parents died in cyclone Idai in 2019. After the disaster, Magdalena lived alone in a tent in Beira, in a resettlement center.
She couldn’t afford menstrual hygiene products, so like many other girls around the world she used whatever she could get her hands on. This resulted in severe infections and vaginal wounds which were almost fatal. She was rushed to the hospital and after a week of treatment of her open wounds, a nurse told her about the menstrual cup.
Thanks to this wonderful nurse who called the CouldYou? team directly, Magdalena is currently using the cup and is loving it! She also received a CouldYou? scholarshi at the Lugenda Health Institute for nursing.
“I am Naomi Antwiwaa, a native of Oyoko in Ghana’s Ashanti region. I am super excited to be a beneficiary of the Global Youth Support project in partnership with CouldYou? Today, I have a personal sewing machine.”
Naomi is a 30-year-old woman who has knows the stress of single parenting without a sustainable income. She is a mother of one with another on the way and suffered a failed marriage to an alcoholic husband who shirked his responsibilities. Naomi lives with her 62-year-old mother in a single room with six younger siblings. With no permanent employment, she struggled every day.
She had enrolled in a sewing apprenticeship program but had to abandon it because she had no source of income to feed herself. Global Youth Support and CouldYou? equipped her with a modern sewing machine and materials to sew menstrual cup carrier bags.
She can now make a sustainable living. She says her sewing machine “is a dream come true.”
Joana is a Mozambican teenager.
“You have to experiment to know the true benefit of using a CouldYou? Cup.
“Today, it is difficult to imagine a happier menstrual period.”
Maena is a Mozambican teenager.
“Once I used the CouldYou? Cup, I realized my real independence.
“Today I perform all my activities without any problems.”
“I prefer the cups to the other products I have been using because with the cups, no one will ever know that you are menstruating.
“Even with the pads, sometimes it’s difficult to find a place to dispose it when I come to school.”
“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women and girls.”
Kofi Atta Annan was the Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006.
Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.
He was the founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation, as well as chairman of The Elders, an international organisation founded by Nelson Mandela.
instructions for use
The couldyou? cup
The CouldYou? Cup and the Adventures with Alima
A comic about the reality and myths about getting your period and staying in school with the CouldYou? Cup
Without access to period products, women and girls make tough and sometimes devastating choices. Having a period shouldn’t end a girl’s education, but when resources are scarce, feeding a family comes before an education. This doesn’t have to be the case. With the CouldYou? Cup women and girls are empowered to live their lives with dignity. They can work; they can go to school; they can dream bigger. As part of our menstrual health education component, we’ve developed the CouldYou? Cup comic to bring awareness to the problem of lack of period products, the impact this can have on a girl’s education, the importance of open and frank conversations about menstruation, and most importantly, that there is a healthy, sustainable, and affordable solution in the CouldYou? Cup. The CouldYou? Cup can last one menstruator over 10 years and gives her the chance to finish her education. Read Alima’s story in the CouldYou? Cup comic.
COULDYOU? CUP SOCIAL MEDIA