Tryst with Menstrual Hygiene

Over 1,000 girls have benifitted from Filipa Carreira's Mozambique-based Wamina, a quality menstrual hygiene product that exudes feminine self-confidence

The Womenz team had an opportunity to interact with Ms. Filipa Carreira, Founder, Wamina Mozambique.  Here is what she shared with us

 

Please give some background  like your education & life before Wamina

My name is Filipa Carreira, I was born in August 18, 1987. I attended the Maputo International School. I have a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Stucies, Policy and Public Administration,  and an Honours in International Relations from the University of Cape Town in South Africa. I graduated from the University of Sheffield in the UK with a Master of Arts in Global Security with a Merit. I started my professional career interning at the Hague as an Africa Desk Officer for the United Network of Young Peace Builders, I then moved to Washington DC to work for the Fund for Peace as a Research Assistant for the Conflict Analysis Department and my last internship was in Male, Maldives as a Communications Intern for UNOPS. When I moved back to Mozambique I worked for a small environmental consultancy and then became an independent social performance analysis consultant. Wamina is an in house project. During my field work I realized that menstrual hygiene was a challenge for most girls even those in urban areas, to verify this hypothesis I carried out a self-funded baseline study in a few high schools in Maputo. From this research, it became clear that girls did not manage their menstrual hygiene adequately because they did not have access to quality menstrual products, lacked basic knowledge on the period and menstrual hygiene and the school facilities did not always provide a hygienic and safe place to manage menstrual hygiene.

 


What inspired you to begin with wamina? How did you coin this interesting name? 

I don’t know what inspired me to start Wamina, it just felt like the next logical step. As a data gatherer, researcher and analyst sometimes I question myself whether the information I collect ever makes a difference to my clients, with Wamina I had the chance to see my data gathering skills actually make a tangible difference. Wamina means “mine” in Changana, a local language spoken in the Maputo province. We want girls to feel ownership over brand so we thought it was fitting.

 

Your initial journey and motivation to scale this far?

We have just begun our entrepreneurial journey at Wamina, and we stll have a long way to go to become a recognized African brand that exudes youthfulness and feminine confidence.



Was it difficult to discuss openly on Menstrual Hygiene in Mozambique?

Initially I was not sure how the public would react since subject of menstruation is still taboo, we found that young people boys and girls crave knowledge about the period, sex, and relationships however rarely find safe spaces where they can discuss these topics with adults. We have also found that adults both men and women feel that it is important that children learn about the period and sexual and reproductive health so long as they do not have to address these topics themselves. There is a constant denial of responsibility where parents believe these are topics that should be discussed at school and teachers believe certain subjects such as menstrual hygiene should be discussed at home. We currently carry out menstrual hygiene workshops with parents and children separately where we also discuss other gender issues such as sexual violence. In future we want to set up special workshops mother and daughter workshops where they come together in an effort to improve their communication.  

As a women did  you face any hurdles in your journey so far?  If yes,  how you faced & conquered them?

No, I have not faced any hurdles as a woman, I feel that the fact that I look slightly younger than I am has presented a bigger challenge but I do not let that get in the way of what I want to achieve.

The programs conceptualized and the agenda for wamina. 

We want to bring the production in country and we are looking to expand our distribution network.


Mariana Lima, Project Manager, Wamina giving a workshop

How is wamina is different and the plans for the future?

We want to bring the production in country and we are looking to expand our distribution network.

How many girls have been benefited so far?

We have benefited over 1000 girls now

What is your biggest achievement so far?

An international NGO has started a pilot project using our pads


The Family : (L-R) Filipa, her sister Guida and her brother Nuno


Your message to  other women who are struggling  to  prove themselves

Just keep going, even if you have to slowdown to refocus just keep moving, if nothing else changes at least the scenery will!

We The Womenz team thank her for sharing her story with us. We are sure that her story will certainly inspire our readers.


Filipa can be reached on Linkedin, Facebook & Instagram

First Published: 07-Apr-2017- 17:32


Comment Lists
Comment By Ragide Muchine

Filipa Careira! I'm too glad you have been able to reach these results. In fact these approaches of menstrual hygiene in Mozambique, were sorely missed. Go ahead, because it will change the lives of our young people in our communities. I'm happy because I believed in your dream and I embraced this initiative since the beginning. Congrats!


Comment By Filipa

Thank you Ragide, you were one of the first to help turn a vague concept into action. I look forward to working with you again.


Comment By Ragide Muchine

Thank you very much for your consideration dear Filipa. In fact, I like working so i did not measure efforts to help turn your dream into reality. If you have some weekends activities, you may invite me as volunteer in order to help the current activities that you perform. Warm regards


Comment