Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
“Include a disposable bag with the sanitary napkin,” says Parisar

The products should be truly by women, for women and to protect the health of women!

Boxes of used sanitary pads have been sent to the corporate offices of Hindustan Unilever, Procter and Gamble and Johnson and Johnson, which are the major manufacturers of sanitary napkins. “This is just the beginning—we will continue sending such gifts to the companies if they continue to ignore our demands. So what if we are waste pickers, should we be picking up absolutely anything? We are women too, our health and hygiene should be a priority too for these companies!” said Baby Mohite, a SWaCH (Solid Waste Collection and Handling, or officially, the Swach Pune Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit) member from Pune.


A press conference was held on Friday on International Women’s Day at Patrakar Bhawan in Pune where wastepickers expressed the issues they face while handling such waste. “If each pad is wrapped in an identifiable pouch, we won’t even have to open it. SWaCH members who are old and unable to work anymore make such pouches (ST Dispo bags or sanitary towel disposal bags) and sell them at a nominal price of Re1. Companies should attach these pouches to their sanitary pads, that way our old members are supported financially and we don’t have to handle the pads,” said Mangal Kamble, SWaCH member from Hadapsar. SWaCH sells about 20,000 to 25,000 ST Dispo bags every month after a lot of marketing effort. However, each month 4-5 lakhs of sanitary pads are being disposed as per SWaCH. The gap between the two is really wide.


Parisar, an environmental organization states “Waste pickers in the course of sorting through the garbage for recyclable products inadvertently handle these soiled, bloody napkins with their bare hands. This is entirely unacceptable. A simple solution that has been shown to work is to include a disposable bag with the sanitary napkin. This will allow for easy identification and handling.”


Stree Mukti Sanghatana, a women’s organization and a member of the Alliance of Indian Waste pickers while suggesting the elimination of plastic from sanitary pads to make them compostable and recyclable further states, “ Sanitary pads and diapers should be sold along with disposable bags that  are being made by slum dwelling women. That way, the products are truly by women, for women and to protect the health of women!”


More and more women should be like Mruga Kirloskar, (citizen and entrepreneur) a regular user of SWaCH ST dispo bags, who has said “I wholly support this initiative. I have been using these bags ever since I heard of them and even promote them among my friends. As a responsible citizen, I feel it is my duty to be accountable for the manner in which I dispose my waste.”


This campaign has been endorsed by organizations from all over the country. CEE (Centre for Environment and Education) has written to the personal hygiene companies suggesting a partnership to implement a pilot program where sanitary pads and diapers are sold along with an identifiable disposal bag. Janwani (a social initiative of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture) too has written to the above companies questioning them about the efforts that they have taken or are planning to take in relation to the issue of disposal of sanitary pads.




4 years ago

Kudos to SWaCH members!! its high time that these measures are taken. This phenomena of disposing off used sanitary pads and diapers in the most careless manner is increasing...
street dogs tearing apart used napkins and diapers are a common sight when we take to walk on streets.
Businesses today feel that once they sell personal hygine products their job is over. Time has come that these companies take responsibilty to protect environment along with consumers.

Redefining Literacy

Dr Nita Mukherjee describes a decade-old effort that is bearing rich fruit


Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), a Delhi-based not-for-profit organisation, was founded by Osama Manzar in December 2002 under the Societies Registration Act. Its objective is to uplift the downtrodden using information, communication and technology (ICT). Since Mr Manzar worked in a software company, he was acutely aware of the need to bridge the digital divide which haunts India. A large chunk of India’s population is deprived of even basic ICT; telecom facilities and power are either not available or there’s errant supply. Penetration of computers and Internet is low, despite pious government pronouncements. 

DEF believes that lack of information is at the root of poverty and exploitation. Mr Manzar says, “If you lick the problem of information poverty, you would, to a large extent, overcome economic poverty.” He opines that just as, if you build a road, people begin to use it, if you have digital media, people start creating and sharing information. So it is necessary for the State to create and provide the infrastructure for digital media. DEF’s basic premise is that digital media—connoting anything that bridges physical distances for communication—radio, broadband, film projectors, mobile telephony, Internet, etc, have made it easier to empower people with information. Once people are empowered, good governance will follow.
In 2003, Mr Manzar gave up his job to concentrate on DEF’s operations. DEF uses three mechanisms for its development interventions, namely, advocacy, networking and project implementation. Its advocacy initiatives are facilitated by the fact that 
Mr Manzar is a member of government’s working groups on Internet proliferation & governance, national optic-fibre network for universal service obligation fund and screening committee for community radio licence. The Manthan Award, launched on 10 October 2004 to recognise the best practices in e-content and creativity, has enabled DEF to establish a wide network in the social sector. DEF has a database showcasing 5,000 social sector best practices from all over south Asia. Although 70%-80% of these are from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are important contributors.
DEF has done considerable work in ICT application at the panchayat level; although Mr Manzar says they have just made a beginning. Of the three million panchayat members in the country, DEF has trained 5,000 through the 30 rural centres it has opened and created 500 panchayat websites which can be accessed through epanchayat.in. DEF has held 60 e-literacy workshops for NGOs and developed 2,000 NGO websites for free. Mr Manzar says, “Since our objective is to enable NGOs to create information and share it by making it available in the public domain, we provide the entire service—creating full-fledged web domain and hosting it completely free of cost for one year. We develop websites in the language of the NGO’s choice. From the second year, we levy a nominal annual charge of Rs3,000. All these sites can be accessed through 
engo.in or pirengo.org.”
Digital literacy is predicated on availability of broadband, because information at the grassroots is easier to create and communicate in audio-visual rather than textual formats. This has been DEF’s learning, especially in the field of education where it has enabled some 500 schools to upload content on gyanpedia.in. Again, this is a drop in the ocean, but a beginning at least. “We have nearly 1.4 million government schools in the country but not even a tenth of them have IT connectivity. The challenge in such a scenario is: Can the government redefine literacy and announce that we are going to work together towards not higher literacy but for digital literacy. It would indicate that India is working on the medium of the future rather than that of the past.”
DEF has obtained FCRA registration which enables it to raise funds from international donors like the Ford Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and Intel Foundation. It also gets grants from the ministry of IT, Internet Society and Public Interest Registry
Digital Empowerment Foundation
House No. 44, 3rd Floor, Kalu Sarai (Near IIT Flyover), New Delhi 110016 
Tel: +91-11-26532786
Fax: +91-11-26532787
Email: [email protected] 
Website: www.defindia.net



Nifty, Sensex may hit a wall: Weekly Market Report

The Nifty will find it hard to break through 6,000 in this rally. If it does, the next resistance would be around 6,025

The market settled in the green, snapping its five week losing streak, mainly on signs of economic activity across the world picking up. Positive indicators from Japan, China and the US supported investor sentiments. Indian investors will look at the factory output data and headline inflation figures in the week ahead, which may dictate the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) stand in its policy review on 19th March.


The Sensex climbed 765 points (4.04%) at 19,683 and the Nifty advanced 226 points (3.95%) to close the week at 5,946. The market is likely to see a correction. The Nifty will find it hard to break through 6,000 in this rally. If it does, the next resistance would be around 6,025.


 The market settled marginally lower on Monday on unsupportive global cues following news that the Chinese government is looking to introduce initiatives to rein in property prices. The market settled in the positive on Tuesday on global support. Firm economic indicators from the US supported gains in the domestic market on Wednesday.


A recovery in the second half of trade helped the indices close higher on Thursday. The market closed in the positive on Friday on gains in oil & gas, FMCG, metal and banking stocks.


In the sectoral space, BSE Realty jumped 7% and BSE Bankex surged 6% while the BSE Consumer Durables (down 2%) was the lone loser this week.


The top Sensex gainers were Sterlite Industries, ICICI Bank (up 8% each), Larsen & Toubro (up 7%), Cipla and Hero MotoCorp (up 6% each). Hindustan Unilever (down 3%) and Bajaj Auto (down 1%) were the losers.


The Nifty was led by IDFC (up 10%), Sesa Goa (up 9%), ICICI Bank, Jaiprakash Associates and Siemens (up 8% each). The key losers on the benchmark were HUL, Ambuja Cements (down 3% each), Bajaj Auto and NTPC (down 1% each).


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday expressed confidence that the economic slowdown will not continue and the country will bounce back to the growth rate of 7% to 8% in next two to three years.


Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) chairman C Rangarajan said policy rate cut by the central bank will depend on inflation movement, among other factors. Inflation measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) had declined to 6.62% in January. It was 7.18% in December and 7.24% in November.


In international news, The US added 236,000 jobs in February, while unemployment rate fell to 7.7%, the lowest since December 2008, according to the Labor Department. Investors look at the nonfarm payrolls data as a measure of economic recovery. The Federal Reserve had said it will maintain its low interest rate policy until unemployment falls to 6.5% and inflation rises to 2.5%.


Meanwhile, China maintained its GDP growth target at 7.5% for 2013 and raised its budget deficit forecast as the government reduces taxes and looks at fresh initiatives to support consumer demand.


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