Wen has trained 47 Environmenstrual Ambassadors to deliver independent period education to community groups around the UK. We are thrilled to see how they have developed the work and are inspired by their creativity and commitment. Here we catch up with Hannah, Jane and Nisha to find out about their work and experience of being an Environmenstrual Ambassador and how it has complemented the work they do.
ENVIRONMENSTRUAL AMBASSADOR AND OPERATIONAL ADMINISTRATOR – TACTICAL OPERATIONS AND SUSTAINABLE PERIOD COORDINATOR, ANGLIAN WATER
I’ve been an Environmenstrual Ambassador for Wen since January 2020, when I was put forward by my employer, Anglian Water.
Workshops, social media and podcasts
Through Wen, I met another ambassador, Cathy, and together we have been running monthly period education workshops. We have also hosted online workshops, teaching attendees how to make their own period pads. We also started the Practically Period Podcast together, where we talk about all things period-related. Alongside this I’ve set up an Instagram account called sustainable.period, which aims to raise awareness of sustainable periods.
Cathy and I created a period chart where we calculated how much money we have saved by switching to reusable period products and in turn how many disposable period products we had prevented from going to landfill. We’ve also created a digital version of the period chart – and you can access it now on our website!
Free plastic free period products in the workplace
Our most recent development – and one I’m immensely proud of – is a new partnership between Anglian Water and Hey Girls, a plastic-free period product company. I proposed that Anglian Water should lead the way with free plastic-free period products available in all of our toilets, to help with wellbeing and inclusivity, and to encourage people to make the switch to plastic-free products.
Ending plastic pollution
This is really important in helping us towards our plastic pledge of ridding the East of England of plastic pollution by 2030. I contacted the relevant stakeholders, put together a proposal to explain the importance of this project and we have now signed a partnership with Hey Girls, which is also a member of the Environmenstrual Coalition. They offer organic cotton, plastic- and chemical-free period products and packaging, and we have been able to install plastic-free pads and tampons for staff in offices and operational sites across the region.
Good for people and the planet
Not only are Hey Girls’ products affordable, but a product is donated for each one purchased, which is amazing, and helps support Anglian Water’s purpose: to bring environmental and social prosperity to the region we serve. Households in our region contributed to around 3,000 tons of unflushable waste last year – so switching to more environmentally-friendly period products can help prevent pollution, as well as saving the equivalent of 900 days’ worth of water for one person in just two months.
This Environmenstrual Week, join myself and Cathy live on instagram on the 19th Oct at 7pm GMT where we will be having a lively and entertaining discussion on @sustainable.period, and all things menstrual!
ENVIRONMENSTRUAL AMBASSADOR AND YOGA TEACHER
I trained with Wen to become an ambassador after attending an Environmenstrual Week event in London. It was so exhilarating to be in a room full of women discussing all things menstrual, to hear about the health research and the amazing new products that are now on the market.
When they announced the training it was a no brainer, and knew it would be a great addition to my work running girls groups and teaching yoga to teenage girls. And since then it really comes into my work with the female pelvis and menopause, and after doing a talk the other evening at Sussex University I’m rearing to go with other ways to get this education and awareness to as many people as possible.
I’m a somatic coach and yoga teacher and I specialise in working with women around cyclical connection, health and wellbeing – from teenagers and menarche all the way to menopause and beyond. I work closely with the menstrual cycle, the nervous system and hormones and one of my favourite things is teaching menstrual cycle awareness.
Shame and stigma
I also founded the course ‘The Embodied Female Pelvis” . Within the course I accompany women on a journey in getting to know their pelvis in a much more in depth and intimate way, looking at the physical anatomy of the pelvis and the organs and how they interplay with the rest of the body, and also with the psychological aspect of emotions and sensations, creating more felt sense and direct connection to this area. This part of the female body has been shrouded in shame and stigma for so long in a person’s life as well as in history in general, and they hold all of our stories and experiences. It’s deep and profound work.
My work also involves supporting women through their menopausal journey – bringing in all my tools of somatic (relating to the body) movement, yoga, coaching and also kinesiology. I am always learning new things, either with my head in a book or attending new training, and this year I’m studying Kinesiology which is a great accompaniment to my other work in supporting women to move towards more power, health and wellbeing.
ENVIRONMENSTRUAL AMBASSADOR, PERIOD COACH, HOLISTIC MENSTRUAL CYCLE EDUCATOR, YOGA TEACHER
I did the wonderful Wen Environmenstrual Ambassador training shortly before lockdown happened in 2020, and I was so delighted to go home with a bag full of reusable and organic disposable period products. I felt inspired to spread the message about the environmental impact of our choices around period care.
Showing reusable period products
My first ‘pupil’ was that night – my babysitter looked through all the products and went away inspired to ask for a Mooncup for her birthday! My tween daughter loved looking through all the products too and was particularly enamoured with the pink, folding Lily cup – ‘I want one of those when my periods start’ – she told me!
Reaching hundreds of women and girls
Since then, my box of period products has been shared with so many groups – I use them in women’s circles, in the puberty preparation groups that I run for mothers and daughters and in schools – both live and by video call. The Wen Environmenstrual Ambassador training has reached hundreds of women and girls just through me, who are all inspired and motivated to use reusables, buy organic and dispose of products in ways that look after the environment.
Mother and daughter workshop
Bringing men in to the conversation
I even share the box of products with dads and teach them about how to place a pad on knickers and the practicalities of caring for reusable products, so that they have hands-on experience to be able to support their daughters when their time comes.
The menstrual cycle
Integral to all the menstrual education I do is teaching about the whole menstrual cycle and the ebbs and flows that we go through as menstruators – I’m a Red School Menstruality Mentor and I love using their analogy of the ‘Inner Seasons’ to understand the different phases of the Menstrual cycle.
I work with girls as young as 6 with their mothers (with my workshop called My Amazing Body), and using the framework of the seasons is so simple for them to understand. They all bring items that represent the seasons (things gathered from nature, fruits and veg, little trinkets and toys) and we build a mandala to the 4 seasons and use that as a framework to understand why mum’s energy changes throughout the month and why she has times she needs to rest and has other times that she feels more energetic and playful. I work with the mums (and dads) to build a positive menstrual culture in the home, a culture of honouring the menstrual cycle and all the gifts it brings.
Celebration Day for Girls
In my Celebration Day for Girls workshops we look much more at the approach of Menarche and understanding female anatomy and why periods happen. The girls get to look through all the period products and they go away feeling excited to start their periods. I trained with Jane Bennett to deliver this workshop, and it’s now offered in over 20 countries around the world by hundreds of facilitators.
Cycle Savvy Girls
In my workshops with teens (Cycle Savvy Girls) we look at tracking the menstrual cycle for personal optimisation and empowerment, how to cope with premenstrual syndrome (PMs) or period cramps using natural approaches, and of course how to have an eco-friendly period!
I’m so grateful to Wen and all the amazing sponsors of the Environmenstrual training – it has enhanced all my menstrual education work to have such a wonderful selection of period products to show.
If you’d like to find out more about any of my workshops or 1-1 Women’s Health Coaching, please get in touch via my website at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @periodhealthmatters