Gender equity & equality are both important parts of our focus at Mammas Laef. Both taking us towards our Vision of helping women take control of their future. Then there is the important aspect of Gender balance, allowing us to operate within the Vanuatu context.
Jack has been part of the team since day one. He and Mary embraced the concept of an enterprise approach to solving a problem.
The initial sewing Workshop back on 8th October 2015, was held on Jack’s compound. Jack was the perfect host, but definitely a little shy about the “topic”. A father of daughters, Jack soon overcame his shyness as conversations flowed about sikmun (menstruation / periods).
Sewing to Education
The natural progression from manufacturing reusable, sustainable, in-country products, was to answer the questions surrounding those products. Discovering more about the workings of the women’s menstrual cycle. The women’s education programme was developed, with the added bonus of it being presented and written in bislama.
At the time, there were only a few people who were prepared to discuss our big plan. One person who was willing to speak with us was Madame Blandine Boulekone. Blandine is been an advocate for women’s rights in for decades. A former President of the Vanuatu National Council of Women and one of the founders of the Vanuatu Family Health Association, an organisation which works in health education and family planning.
Blandine encouraged us to explore a programme to include men. Jack took up the challenge. The trial programme was developed in 2017, and has since been delivered across many communities on 5 islands.
Earlier this year, an opportunity came our way, through the UN75 call for a community voice on what the Pacific should look like in the future. It was then that we were able to finalise the programme for men & menstruation.
The short video was widely shared via our social media platforms and now Jack is preparing to take the news into more communities later this year.
Today, tomorrow & beyond
It takes a lot of courage to do what Jack has committed to.
Five years down the track and he’s more determined than ever to enable change.
We know this is not easy to do, but as Jack says, it’s not about us, it’s about a better future for Vanuatu.
- Breaking taboo
- Empowering women
- Normalising an everyday part of life.
Thanks Jack, for leading the way for other men to follow.