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Period Pioneer: Q&A with Project Leader of Periods in Poverty Campaign

It’s time to say hello to another one of our Period Powerful Pioneers! Introducing, the inspiring Fiona Munnelly. Fiona is the project leader of the Periods in Poverty campaign in Cardiff.

Being #PeriodPowerful isn’t just about taking power over your period. It’s also about helping others take power over theirs. That’s exactly what our period pioneer Fiona does! Fiona is helping those in need menstruate with dignity. How is she doing that? Let’s find out.

Tell us about your Periods in Poverty campaign

“The Periods in Poverty campaign promotes dignity for everyone. We install donation points to collect sanitary products for people in hardship. We distribute the donations to local charities. These include homeless charities and domestic violence survivor hostels. We want to expand where we distribute these and include many more. In Dec, we gave 700 donations of sanitary products to people in hardship.There is currently no funding for menstruation products for people in hardship.”

What prompted/inspired you to start collecting donations?

“A discussion I had with my grandmother motivated me to start collecting donations. She told me she was unable to afford sanitary products and the shame this caused her. This is unacceptable and an issue which is still happening today.

Recent news articles and reports are highlighting the impact of this. Kids are missing school because of this. Homeless people are having to use inadequate solutions. People are having to choose between eating or their dignity. These all have consequential factors, risking health, education and wellbeing for the most marginalised individuals.”

What charities do you donate to?

“So far, we have three donation points in the late stages of installation. These are all located in Cardiff. These are; A Local Arts Centre (Chapter), Cardiff Student’s Union and the University Hospital of Wales. But we have plans in place for more. We currently deliver these collections to Llamau and Solas. Llamau help support homeless youth and the vulnerable. Solas provide housing and support for homeless young people, adults and families. These donations are also delivered to a domestic violence refugee. We want to expand to LGBT+, refugees and migrant charities.”

Where do you hope to take your work in the future?

“The future of the project includes education, awareness and political infrastructure. Wales (and elsewhere) deserves more than to rely on goodwill and charity for their ongoing health needs. Something needs to happen to overcome the issue where women in poverty have no access to menstruation products. We also want to increase inclusivity of the campaign, by promoting BAME and trans rights.”

What do you believe needs to happen to resolve this issue?

“The Government needs to provide funding for sanitary products for people in hardship. Funding will ensure periods no longer deprive the most disenfranchised of their dignity. This way, steps can be made towards equality for future generations in Wales. Welsh politics needs to ensure it’s inclusive of the needs of its people and their basic human rights. Not only this, but measures should be put in place to break down the taboo of menstruation.”

What can we all do about this issue?

“On a localised level we must create awareness. We must write to MPs; create spaces to openly and inclusively discuss menstruation; elevate people and overcome barriers to promote equality for all. In an ideal world, period care products would be accessible to all without tampon tax. However, we must prioritise those in need most. Politics is for the people and improving lives for all!”

Together, we can help others take power over their periods. If you would like to get involved or learn more about Periods in Poverty you can find them on Facebook here, on Instagram here, and on Twitter here:. Are you loving our #PeriodPowerful pioneers? Leave a comment below or tweet us @totmorganic to let us know!

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