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Photo provided by Ayzh Inc

Empowering Girls in Emergency Settings (EmGEmS)

Winners: Circle of Health International (COHI) and Ayzh Inc.

Prize amount: $100,000

Winning Innovation:

Ayzh and COHI’s winning submission was based on a field test run in 2016 which used customised safe delivery and menstrual hygiene kits to educate a group of Syrian midwives on basic delivery and menstrual health related topics – including family planning, violence against women, breastfeeding and HIV – to aid in their training of young women and girls.

Ayzh and COHI’s winning kits were designed with mass replicability in mind, and are easily customisable based on needs, customs and practices for different communities. The kits are a low-cost intervention, costing approximately $3.00 - $5.00 each and are currently available in Syria and Turkey. This people-centred innovation supports the roles that midwives are already playing in these communities, and COHI's training content has been tested in eighteen different countries. The two organisations received an unrestricted prize of $100,000 to expand the project in emergency settings in Syria and Sierra Leone.

The program is scalable based on access, adoption and maintenance of the modules and the kits, themselves. Over the last twelve years COHI has distributed thousands of menstrual and birth kits at a time through partnerships with Ayzh and other suppliers. For example, we have trained hundreds of SRH trainers in Nepal who also distributed menstrual health and hygiene kits during the trainings. We are delighted to expand our work with Ayzh to provide kits and training in Syria and Sierra Leone thanks to funding from Positive Action Challenges.” Sera Bonds, CEO/Founder, Circle of Health International

The EmGEmS challenge was launched by Positive Action Challenges through a collaboration with the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child movement to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescent girls in emergency settings. The challenge received truly inspiring submissions, all showing technological, service or activity-based innovations that help empower and educate adolescent girls around their sexual and reproductive rights, and help to build the confidence needed to take charge of their own health.

Description of collaborating organisations:

Circle of Health International (COHI) is an international humanitarian organisation founded in 2004 with the mission to work with women and their communities in times of crisis and disaster to ensure access to quality reproductive, maternal and newborn care. COHI has responded to ten humanitarian emergencies and served over one million women, both domestically and internationally.

Ayzh is a social venture providing health & livelihood solutions to impoverished women globally. They develop low-cost, high-quality health kits designed to meet the unique needs of women in resource-poor settings. In 2010, Ayzh launched the JANMA clean birth kit, recommended by WHO for a safe and hygienic birth using environmentally friendly and culturally appealing materials.