A Year of Resilience: Reflecting on the Impact of the Elevate Prize GET LOUD Award 

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For Women’s History month in 2023, we asked our Elevate community to nominate incredible organizations working to end period poverty for our Elevate Prize GET LOUD Award. The result? We received 5,926 nominations on Instagram – at the time, our largest number of nominations!

According to the World Bank, an estimated 500 million women lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management.  The need is urgent. 

The winner was Drawing Dreams Initiative, a grassroots organization based in Kenya on a mission to drive menstrual equity, health, and education.

We were inspired by the organization’s approach, focusing on practical support AND systemic change in a country where as many as 65% of women and girls cannot afford menstruation products. A year after they were named as the winner, we were excited to catch up with Drawing Dreams and learn more about how their impact is growing.

According to Drawing Dreams’ founder, Grace Wanene, the award ushered in a year of scale and perspective. “When someone truly believes in you, it validates your work and its impact.” 

In 2023, the organization provided over 50,000 sustainable period products to people in need, and grew from just a few school partnerships to 16 – with an impact that reaches out beyond the classroom. “When we adopt a school, we adopt the entire community,” Grace told Elevate, highlighting programs that break taboos around menstrual and reproductive health, are changing mindsets, and even impacting conversations on a national and governmental level.

“Period poverty is a silent pandemic,” Grace noted. “It is not only the lack of period products, but unmet needs, infrastructure, and support for girls.” Grace went on to explain that women and girls often have to ask questions like:  ‘How safe are these toilets?’ ‘Will I have someone follow me?’ ‘Do I have access to water?’ 

Last May, Drawing Dreams hosted the first-ever Menstrual Equity Summit in Kenya, bringing together 125 delegates from across East Africa who shared best practices and lessons with each other. “We had policy makers, fellow community-based organizations, NGOs, and individuals who are passionate about menstrual health,” says Grace. “Some of our teachers were there, some of our beneficiaries, especially teenage mothers…and even our county Governor was there.” Based on this success, the organization hopes to host another summit in 2024.

While tireless leaders like Grace are driving change every day, there is so much work to be done. It’s going to take the kind of systemic change that comes from collective action, where we ALL have a role to play. At Elevate, we’re proud to be a small part of the solution. 

What YOU can do today to help!

Support Drawing Dreams.

Learn more about period poverty around the world.  

Live in the U.S.? Take action today to abolish tampon tax.

Join the conversation.