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Ella Alliance Launched

Initiative to promote low-cost sanitary napkin launched

Negligence in female menstrual hygiene costs 200 mn workdays a year

UNB NEWS

Saturday 11 August, 2018 06:36:50 pm

Dhaka, Aug 11 (UNB)-  Speakers at a programme on Thursday urged for promoting affordable and sustainable sanitary napkin products for marginalized women to protect them from infectious diseases.

The speakers came up with the urge while Ella, a non-profit organisation working for menstrual hygiene of female industry workers, launched a partnership with several others organisations at British Council Auditorium in the city.

The partners include Beximco, Dulal Brothers Ltd, Persona, Momitex Expo Ltd and Support.

According to the organizers, Ella Alliance is working for producing environment friendly sanitary napkins called Ella pads and other hygiene products from garment scraps fabrics those are left after producing tons of garments in the textile factories in Bangladesh.

Ella alliance works with a view to ensure health and wellbeing of marginal women with a mission of zero waste from textile and to create new entrepreneurs, said the organizers.

Mamunur Rahman, founder of Ella Pad said, in this project, garments scraps will be reused to make low-cost feminine hygiene product.

Claiming  sanitary napkin as a luxurious product for the garment workers because of being expensive for them, he said, Bangladesh is losing approximately 200 million workdays every year as the female workers are absent in heavy flow days losing their salaries as well.

“Female workers of those textile garment factories make Ella for themselves so that they don’t have to spend a lot on expensive branded sanitary pads and still can maintain hygiene during their menstruation” added the founder saying the target is also to create new entrepreneurs from the poor working women.

Dr Nowsheen Sharmeen Purabi, a gynecologist said, due to lack of hygiene maintenance women of the country face different serious health issues.

Due to the high cost of commercial sanitary napkins, the marginalized women cannot afford the hygiene which affects their health, she added.

Low cost production of the pads using garment scraps would help these women to afford their hygiene maintenance, said the gynecologist.

Mirza Nurul Ghani Shovon, President of National Association of Small and Cottage Industries of Bangldesh (NASCIB), said, if the underprivileged women and female RMG workers are given proper support they can emerge as new entrepreneurs producing these low cost hygiene products.

Ahmed Abdul Kabir Chowdhury, CSR and Compliance Manager of Beximco, said, the Ella Pad comes in two sanitary product variants—regular biodegradable napkins and low-cost reusable underwear.

If the factories allow the female workers to use the necessary facilities such as machinery, scraps, leftovers and space they can produce the products for using themselves and distribute the surplus to fellow workers, he said.

He further added that most importantly, these female workers are getting these sanitary products free of cost. The whole process is managed by the female workers themselves.

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Recycling Garments and Green Climate Fund

Recycling Garments and Green Climate Fund

Mamunur Rahman, Founder Ela, underscored the importance of recycling garments and textile sector. Participating in discussion, he drew the attention of policy makers, noted climate change experts, private sector leaders and requested them to take into their consideration the recycling SMEs in different parts of the country, who are reusing the garments left-over or scraps. Mamunur pointed that our policy makers are avoiding the contribution of small business, who are doing innovation just because of their survival.  Workshop on ‘Private Sectors’ Engagement in GCF: Opportunities and Challenges’ organized by the National Designated Authority (NDA) Secretariat, Economic Relations Division (ERD) Ministry of Finance, Govt. of Bangladesh in partnership with UNDP Bangladesh on July 11, 2018 at National Economic Council, External Relation Division, Planning Commission, Sher-E-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka.

Mamunur also requested the NDA, the government agency in charge of GCF, to develop the capacity of SMEs so they can qualify for the green fund. He informed the audience that SMEs in textile and garments sector have really good case to qualify for GCF completing with other countries. But having not enough knowledge to develop the project, they can’t apply for this global fund.

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Mamunur met President Jimmy Carter

Mamunur Rahman, Founder of Ella Pad initiative, met with the President Jimmy Carter March 2017 at Atlanta, Goergia. He was invited by the Carter Center, Atlanta, Goergia. During his meeting with the president he narrated his Ella Pad project and its impact in society of Bangladesh, which was going to address problem of 4 million female workers. During the discussion, the president shared his memory of visiting Bangladesh before the national election 1990 meeting with our national leaders. He appreciated our growing development in different social indicators and expressed his wishes for the best of the Bangladesh. Mamunur also invited the president to see his low-cost napkin project in Bangladesh at his convenient time once he is in this part of the world. President presented his own book Life at Ninety with his autograph.

Mamunur also visited the museum at the Carter center. The official in charge of the Carter center explained different key historic documents made during his presidency 1977-81. He was shown the documents related to Carter’s visit in Bangladesh, the Carter Center was maintaining.

Later, Carter gave a talk with a group of Humphrey Fellow at the Emory University, Atlanta. “It was exciting to get career advice from a legendary president” said Mamunur Rahman later.

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Ella Founder Mamunur Rahman

Ella Founder Mamunur Rahman was selected by the British Council, UK for a prestigious British Council Alumni Award in the South Asia regional Social Impact Category. The Award recognises the outstanding achievements of alumni with a UK higher education whose work has positively changed their society or community.

Mamunur completed a Masters degree in Gender and Development taught jointly by IDS and the University of Sussex in 2007. On graduating, Mamunur joined the SME Foundation serving eight million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) directly and indirectly with policy support. Mamunur led the research and policy advocacy team promoting women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh and was instrumental in creating a section on women entrepreneurs in the public office. He is doing advocacy for sustainable SMEs and specially for circular textile sector as the country is vulnerable because of doing textile/garments business following the leaner economic system. While millions of tons of wastes are dumped in river and fresh water bodies, which is hardly usable even for agricultural irrigation.

Mamunur is encouraging SMEs in doing recycling textile just reusing the scraps of the garment sector.  So far, he has engaged about 3000 SMEs in different part of the countries to do this recycling textile business.