To help mark International Women's Day we'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone that has purchased our 'For women' product. You've contributed, perhaps unknowingly, to an amazing charity that is changing lives around the world. Some of you may be aware that for the launch of our newest product, 'For women', we partnered with the women's rights charity Womankind Worldwide, who do amazing work all over the globe to challenge discrimination of, and violence against, women. We pledged to contribute 20p-30p to Womankind for each of the 14 & 30 capsule packs that we sold. To date, with your help, we've now contributed a grand total of £23,000 since the product's launch in September 2014!

"We're incredibly proud to have partnered with Womankind, who are carrying out such valuable work. We're obviously very pleased that sales of 'For women' have started so well, but the added incentive of the partnership has been amazing. It's important that companies do more to give something back, and we're very pleased to do that with each sale of 'For women'." Jalal, our MD, commented on your contribution.

Here's a great example of how your money has helped communities in Uganda, one of the many countries Womankind operates in. Disha Sughand, head of fundraising and marketing at Womankind, explains where your money helps:

NAWOU Project in Uganda

During 20 years of armed conflict in northern Uganda, countless women and girls were abducted and subject to sexual abuse and forced marriage, leaving a legacy of violence against women. Recent UN findings report that approximately 70% of women over the age of 15 in Uganda have experienced physical or sexual violence and 58% of women believe their partners have the right to abuse them. Although shocking, most cases of violence against women go unreported because women are not aware of their rights or the services available to them. Despite legislation such as the 2010 Domestic Violence Act, widespread attitudes justify violence. Women are also unable to access their rights because of high illiteracy, a poor judiciary system and a traditional system biased against women.

NAWOU running a community drama presentation to raise awareness about violence against women

How Womankind is helping thanks to OptiBac Probiotics

Womankind is supporting their partner in Uganda, NAWOU, to build a strong, local response to violence by training groups of community volunteers to form Community Based Action Teams (COMBAT).

COMBAT members help women in the following ways:

  • support women who have experienced violence along with those who are at risk by offering counselling and mediation, letting women know what their rights are and where to go for medical support and to access legal advice
  • raise awareness amongst people in positions of influence such as local leaders, medical staff, and the police to help them better recognise and tackle violence within the community
  • train women to set up village savings and lending associations so women can set up businesses, save money and become less dependent on male family members
  • raise awareness amongst the wider community to prevent violence against women by taking part in radio talk shows and community drama presentations

Stories from Uganda

Simon, one of the elders in the Apac region was very impressed with the COMBAT approach saying, "it is good that you are now involving all of us in the fight against violence against women and girls. If you had trained us like this in the past, we would have gone a very long way in eliminating violence against women and girls from our community."

Sandra, a community member told us; "It is true, we are now doing things differently. We never used to sit on chairs or benches with men, but now it has become normal. We used to not raise our voices at men, but now we can talk freely and voice our issues, our behaviours have changed. We can even sit in the front seat of cars - it was unheard of in the past. The front seat was reserved for men. It was unheard of for women".

Lydia, a COMBAT member, shared her thoughts: "Through the project NAWOU and us COMBATS have been raising awareness among the women in this area and they are now opening up to us. Women who face domestic issues like neglect are coming to us to help with mediation and counselling and where physical violence is taking place, they now know that we will support them to use the law against their perpetrators."

NAWOU running a community conversation session to raise awareness about violence against women

How your support is helping

£35 provides an emergency grant to a woman enabling her to report abuse and seek medical attention.
£69 can fund a radio programme which raises awareness around violence against women and girls.
£138 trains 5 COMBAT members on how to support survivors of violence and help them access the support they need.
£1,071 provides training for 60 women on running Village Loans and Savings Associations giving women financial independence.

So, once again, a massive thank you for your donations and helping us to support such an amazing charity, carrying out incredible work for women all over the world.

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