The MH Hub transitions leadership to Uninhibited India

Uninhibited’s Period Fellow, Tanuja, starts her session with activity in Bhotadpada, Jawhar Block, Palghar, Maharashtra. (Image: Uninhibited)

Prioritizing the menstrual health needs of women, girls, and those who menstruate improves their social, economic, and educational outcomes. When we invest in menstrual health, we invest in global health. When we invest in menstrual health, we invest in gender equity. Ultimately, we invest in the collective ability to achieve many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Globally, menstrual health represents not just a socioeconomic concern, but a moral imperative because it presents us all with the opportunity to actually build the infrastructure of a gender-equal society.

The MH Hub’s Danielle Keiser and Milena Bacalja Perianes making the big announcement at the Global Period Poverty Forum on October 10, 2022. Video not available. (Image: MH Hub)

Anyone who has followed the Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) knows that we have been shouting this advocacy message from the tops of our lungs for the last 7 years. Over the years, the MH Hub has worked tirelessly to help build, shape (and even define) menstrual health as the multi-faceted and thriving field that it is today. Thanks to countless menstrual warriors near and far, menstrual health now sits closer to the frontlines of the movement for gender equity than ever before.

Our vision was to move menstruation from the margins to the mainstream by building a connected and unified global menstrual movement that works across sectors, one that would help break down silos, i.e., between WASH and SRHR. With 923 organizations registered representing 144 countries to date, we are proud to have created an online home for anyone anywhere to access research, education, policy advocacy, and innovation around menstrual health, period poverty and menstrual equity.

Today, UN agencies, NGO leaders, grassroots activists, academics, coaches, educators, journalists, donors and businesses come to the MH Hub to find new partners, groundbreaking research and stay up-to-date on all the current victories from the world of menstrual health!

The time is now to decolonize menstrual health — and it starts with our leadership

When we first started the MH Hub, we always believed it would ultimately be best served by being grounded in local communities and centered on the expertise and experience of revolutionaries working on the ground, especially in the ‘global South’. While the menstrual movement has been diverse, it has been predominantly led by the voices of the ‘global North’ and the leadership of privileged (mostly) white women.

The gathering of the Global Menstrual Collective in Vancouver, Canada in June 2019 at a Women Deliver side event. (Image: MH Hub)

It’s absolutely time to change this trajectory and narrative, and to put words to action in our aim to decolonize menstrual health. The time has come to pass on the torch and reimagine the future of the menstrual movement.

We are incredibly thrilled to officially announce that the new leadership of the MH Hub will be handed over to the exceptional team at …

(drumroll, please) …

Uninhibited India!

Watch the official announcement here:

Who is Uninhibited?

Uninhibited improves the equitable participation of women, girls and people who menstruate through safe spaces, menstrual, sexual and reproductive health information, products, healthcare and infrastructure.

Dilip Kumar Pattubala, CEO and Co-Founder and Meenal Khare, COO, leaders of Uninhibited (Images: Uninhibited)

For the last few years, the MH Hub’s Executive Director Danielle Keiser has sat on Uninhibited’s Board, where she has witnessed first-hand how unique, skilled and committed Dilip, Meenal and the whole Uninhibited team has been in their efforts to generate lasting social change around menstruation in India.

Over the last 8 years Uninhibited worked to destigmatize menstrual health with over 300,0000 people with periods and their allies (men, boys, teachers, govt. frontline workers) in marginalized rural, tribal and urban communities across 10 states in the country.

Uninhibited has firmly anchored themselves in addressing the roots of the menstrual shame, stigma and taboo. Stigma manifests as a barrier to accessing education, health, rights, and equal opportunities due to restrictive social customs and intergenerational silence. On a systems level, the menstrual taboo works to de-prioritize critical health needs and limit essential access to products, WASH infrastructure or healthcare services.

Uninhibited’s work to smash shame, stigma and taboo has been done through their intense yet sophisticated and integrated social engagement programmes:

  1. The PeriodShala (Period School) — Enables behavior change through safe spaces and menstrual health education among women, girls, people with periods and their allies;
  2. Hello Saathi (‘Hello Friend’) — India’s only telephone helpline which provides access to menstrual, sexual and reproductive healthcare counselors and gynecologists at no cost, bridging access to critical healthcare;
  3. The Period Fellowship — Uninhibited’s flagship 2-year initiative that trains high-capacity talent to become influential menstrual health leaders in grassroots communities.

Looking forward, Uninhibited is set on enabling 1 million marginalized adolescents to access equal opportunities during menstruation by 2025. To achieve this audacious goal, Uninhibited will be scaling directly and implementing through partner organizations who also share a similar vision.

A group of young 16 young ladies — Uninhibited’s Period Fellowship Cohort of 2022–24 — standing together
Uninhibited’s Period Fellowship Cohort of 2022–24 (Image: Uninhibited)

Just like the MH Hub, Uninhibited’s approach has been a continuous evolution. And just like the MH Hub, Uninhibited has ensured the needs of its users are always at the center of its operations and progress. Furthermore, Uninhibited just expanded their presence in the US and Australia, paving the way for a truly global reach. We couldn’t be more excited to pass on the torch to this values-aligned organization.

Uninhibited’s commitments to collective impact

This transition of the MH Hub to Uninhibited is the perfect opportunity to leverage and build on each other’s best practices while strengthening the intersections of menstrual health to positively impact women, girls and people who menstruate through a collective platform. Thanks to the support of Arisaig Partners Foundation, Uninhibited will reimagine the MH Hub through meaningfully leveraging the 900+ strong orgs currently registered with the Hub and add even more useful resources in the Hive.

They will emerge as a fresh and fastidious face of the global menstrual community, excited to share its knowledge, resources, and best practices to continue elevating the rights, health, and opportunities of marginalized youth who menstruate.

Meenal Khare, COO of Uninhibited talking about their commitment to collective impact as the new leaders of the MH Hub. (Image: GPPF)

Today, Uninhibited commits to carry on the MH Hub mission to accelerate the collective impact of global menstrual health efforts by:

  • Convening the global MH community to advance joint advocacy efforts and facilitate connection, communication and knowledge-sharing;
  • Building on our freely accessible cross-sectoral MH Knowledge Hive to inform approaches;
  • Advocating for increased investment in MH, strengthening the sector as a whole.

Over the last few weeks, over a hundred of you responded to our community poll, indicating that overwhelmingly, the biggest pain point of the global menstrual community is still access to funding:

You also indicated that you would honestly (no ghosting) be keen to attend quarterly gatherings.

Under their new leadership, Uninhibited will:

  • Create and coordinate more safe, accessible spaces for underrepresented voices to come forward and shape the menstrual ecosystem;
  • Expand the platform to make even more room for the variety of MH intersections while keeping users and impact at the center, helping people make better choices around their health, education, rights;
  • Build this platform with YOU, first by establishing a steering committee with global representation to make sure this continues to be a genuine co-created effort.

What will change?

As of 2023, Uninhibited will officially take over the MH Hub, including the website, the social media channels and the newsletter. Don’t worry, the MH Hub will still deliver our beloved and outstanding Menstrual Memo to your inbox every month.

And what about the ladies behind the Hub?

While Mariana de la Roche has stepped away to continue her career as a leader in blockchain technology, Danielle Keiser and Milena Bacalja Perianes will continue to lead their boutique consulting agency Madami and take on various projects focused on gender, female and menstrual health innovation and impact. Danielle will remain connected to the MH Hub by advising around communications and participating as a member of the steering committee.

Uninhibited’s 1st ask as new leaders: Join the MH Hub Steering Committee

If you’re an organization with deep knowledge, big dreams, and want to be a part of this journey to reimagine the menstrual movement, please express your interest HERE by telling us why you want to become part of the initial MH Hub steering committee!

This announcement was officially made at the Global Period Poverty Forum in Brisbane, Australia on October 10, 2022. Many thanks to the wonderful team at Share the Dignity for making this announcement possible.

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Madami

Madami

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Madami is a purpose-driven advisory & innovation agency specializing in femtech, sextech and gender lens investing