OptiBac & Womankind Partnership
Womankind Worldwide are a truly inspiring UK-based organisation dedicated to promoting women's rights around the world. They work with partner organisations in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America in order to transform women's lives. Womankind aim to end violence against women, make sure women have an equal say and to build support for women's rights internationally. We are humbled by their work and proud to have supported them since 2014 by donating to this wonderful organisation every time a pack of 'For women' is sold.
“Our vision is of a just world where the rights of all women are respected, valued and realised.”
Womankind partner with local organisations in each country, engaging at a grassroots level and working with these organisations with the aim to help women to grow and flourish within their communities. Womankind Worldwide focus on a number of different issues - some related specifically to health, for example education around the Ebola virus or awareness and education about Female Genital Mutilation.
What do women’s rights and women’s probiotics have in common?
What do women’s rights and women’s probiotics have in common?
Questions concerning women's intimate health are very much a feminist issue. The way we communicate with women in our culture about intimate health is questionable. For example, the idea that women should look and smell a certain way, even 'down there', the marketing of soaps for the intimate area, the practice of douching ... the same simply does not exist for men. And what many people don't know is that all of this (e.g. use of soaps or douching) can actually upset the natural vaginal pH and disturb the body's natural balance of intimate flora – causing issues such as thrush or bacterial vaginosis. This lack of understanding of women's intimate health is a feminist issue and is something we'd like to help correct! Womankind works on an entirely different level of course - one that we admire hugely. We are so happy to support their vital work through sales of 'For women'.
How are the funds helping women?
There are so many inspiring stories about the amazing work that Womankind Worldwide have completed, using the donations you’ve given. Meet some of the people behind the stories:
Last September, we were lucky enough to be invited to meet Sakhile Sifelani-Ngoma, director of Woman in Politics Support Unit, at the Womankind Worldwide offices. WiPSU works to increase the number of women participating in politics and local government in Zimbabwe.
In 2013 a new constitution was approved by referendum, and with it a new law regulating the electoral quota system. This increased women’s participation in parliament to at least 30%. A celebrated result marking a decade long struggle fought by women’s activists, including Sakhile.
However, Sakhile explained that women who make it into politics still face an uphill battle – often holding less power than their male counterparts and experiencing discrimination and abuse in parliament. Following the widespread violence against women during the previous election in Zimbabwe, Womankind Worldwide will be working closely with WiPSU to promote and safeguard women’s active participation in the political process.
Married at 16, Kessina ‘confined [herself] to the duties of a wife and did not know much about community development and leadership.’ She describes herself as being shy, uneducated, and reticent about speaking in public spaces, and especially at community meetings dominated by men. But she says that ‘with men at the forefront of decision making, our village remained underdeveloped’.
WiPSU taught Kessina about her rights, as well as the role and responsibility of leaders, of ‘the importance of women’s participation and influence in decision-making’. ‘I gained a lot of confidence and I started to voice out my concerns and those of other women at village meetings.’ After being elected, Kessina trained other women, who are now represented within the village committees. It is no coincidence that since women became actively involved in decision-making the village is planning two primary schools and a borehole has been constructed close to the community.
Womankind also works with Musasa, a women-only safe-house in Zimbabwe, providing safe accommodation for survivors of violence and their children. The safe-house provides women with food supplies, medical treatments, counselling as well as legal advice to overcome the violence that they have experienced. Whilst staying at the shelter, women and girls also receive business skills training in order to enable them to live independently and support themselves and their families once they leave. Donations made by purchasing ‘For women’ will be used by Womankind to transform the lives of women like Tamary and Patience who have both benefitted from the invaluable work of Musasa.
Patience arrived at Musasa’s safe house in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare after being thrown out by her husband. Months before arriving at the safe house her husband had sent her and her son to live and work on his family’s farm hundreds of miles away from home. “He promised he would visit and send money to buy food for me and our child, but he didn’t contact me for 5 months. I felt so alone and vulnerable. I had no one to help me. One day my husband sent me a message to say he wanted a divorce. I had no money, no job and nowhere to live. I heard about Musasa’s house and I went there. I felt so lonely and upset. But now I feel better. I feel I have the strength to rebuild my life. Musasa has taught me that I have the power inside myself to start again” says Patience.
Stories like Patience’s are, sadly, relatively commonplace in Zimbabwe. Tamary, aged 20, also spoke of the support that Musasa has given her, and how they are enabling her to rebuild her life, and work towards a brighter future for herself. “I am leaving the safe house in a few months and will look for a job so I can look after myself and my baby. I also have bigger dreams. I have very good school grades and I want to pursue my dream of going to university and studying law. Musasa is supporting me to look for a scholarship.”
A big thanks to you!
Thanks to your support and purchasing of ‘For women’. We are really proud to announce that, as of March 2018, we’ve donated over £106,000 to Womankind Worldwide to support them in their work for equality and woman’s rights!
OptiBac Probiotics ‘For women’
'For women' is an oral supplement, containing two strains of natural bacteria, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® which are hugely researched and proven to reach the intimate flora.
‘For women’ comes in three pack sizes and we donate 20p for each purchase of the 14 capsules, 30p for each purchase of the 30 capsules, and £1 for each purchase of the 90 capsules to Womankind Worldwide.