Tinsukia (Assam): The state-owned Oil India Limited (OIL) has launched a scheme called 'OIL Shakti', a society-based sanitary napkin production and marketing unit in Assam under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Hijuguri in Tinsukia district on December 23.
The scheme focuses to promote the menstrual health and hygiene management among women of financially weaker sections to reduce maternal and infant mortality ratio and for menstrual napkins to be available at affordable prices.
"The scheme will increase the livelihood opportunities as well as health management of women, especially in rural areas," OIL stated in a press communique.
A comic book based on scientific facts against the stigma associated with menstruation was also released. The comic is in Assamese language and it shall be distributed in schools and colleges soon.
The sanitary napkin production and marketing unit would be managed by a large network of rural women for the promotion of menstrual health and hygiene management among the vulnerable communities such as adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and rural women in the reproductive age group as well as men under the 'Project OIL Arogya' to reduce Infant Mortality Ratio (MMR) in OIL's operational areas of eastern Assam.
The release said that the unit was inaugurated by OIL's Chief General Manager Dilip Kumar Bhuyan along with Deputy General Manager (CSR & CC) Tridiv Hazarika and Senior Manager (CSR) Nayana Madhu Dutta among others.
The word 'shakti' meaning sacred force or empowerment signifies the fact that menstrual health and hygiene (H&H) is at the core of women empowerment, equity and rights.
'OIL Shakti' is expected to create the outcome of an ecosystem of higher knowledge and necessity of menstrual health and hygiene, making both the genders aware, keeping the product affordable and available at all times.
The scheme aims to act upon issues like access and disposal of sanitary napkins, limited awareness and the social stigma surrounding menstrual health and hygiene.
The unit is going to be a community model for meeting the local demands in an affordable manner with the economic viability of creating livelihood and financial opportunities across the value chain. The community model is targeting factors like affordable product, local production, community distribution, mass awareness on behaviour change communication and the production of environment-friendly and biodegradable sanitary napkins.