GESI 2015 Summary: Jatan Sansthan

September 28, 2015

Since 2007, the Buffett Institute has prepared teams of undergraduate students to help local organizations advance community-driven change through its study abroad program, the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI). Through internships with grassroots organizations, all GESI students design and implement community-driven projects that align with the social mission and development goals of their local partners. Upon their return, students reflect on their work and personal experiences and share their stories as a group.

Partner: Jatan Sansthan
Location: Udaipur, India
Students: Jematia Chepyator, Vivien Hastings, Kamila Muhammad

Kamila sews a sanitary pad in IndiaDuring the summer of 2015, Jematia Chepyator, Vivien Hastings and Kamila Muhammad worked as interns at Jatan Sansthan, a grassroots NGO that focuses on the empowerment of youth and women.

Jatan stipulated that the organization needed more research in the area of menstrual health as part of their UGER initiative. UGER currently employs community women to stitch and sell reusable cloth sanitary pads. Jatan wanted the interns to gather more information about the slum community surrounding the UGER center in order to understand the menstrual health practices, community knowledge of menstruation, and how cultural myths and taboos affect daily life.

The research conducted by the interns highlighted a need and desire by the community for menstrual health education workshops. The community also demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the UGER center within their community.

The educational workshops would work as a first step to continued community partnership with the center and would encourage women to discuss menstruation and other health topics at the UGER center. Jematia, Vivien, and Kamila also:

  • Drafted a list of international and local NGOs working with menstrual health
  • Conducted research survey of 100 women in local slum community
  • Analyzed, compiled and drafted research into graphs and a  synopsis
  • Created curriculum for four modules of menstrual health curriculum
  • Conducted a training session with UGER employed women in order to educate women in the future about menstrual health
  • Observed the UGER women conducting a workshop using the designed curriculum module
  • Edited the curriculum based on community reception

The students' seed fund was used to cover the cost of transportation, translation, and additional physical resources for the future community health resource center. In the future, participants and donors can raise awareness about how crucial menstrual health is to development and buy UGER pads to directly support the project.

Undergraduate Students