The answer arrived in the form of an article about the high rates of school absenteeism among pubescent Ugandan girls. Their poverty meant little or access to female hygiene products and so they were forced to stay home during their menstrual cycle.
“These girls were missing out on the fundamental right to education because of a basic necessity that women in first world countries take for granted,” Klitsas said. “It broke my heart.”
It also kick-started Moxie’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, Pads for Pads. In mid-2013, Moxie linked arms with AFRIpads in Uganda to send schoolgirls back to their classrooms by supplying them with reusable menstrual products.
“Our donation model is such that if an Australian woman purchases Moxie pads or liners every month for a year, we’re able to purchase and donate one kit, containing a year’s supply of reusable menstrual products, for one Ugandan girl,” Klitsas explained.
“The girls also receive relevant sexual and menstrual health education which is a crucial part of the program. Everything starts with empowerment through education.”
But the impact of Pads for Pads reaches beyond the schoolgirls to 60 other Ugandan women. By employing them to manufacture the reusable menstrual products, Moxie and AFRIpads inevitably provide them with new skills and financial independence.
Sending 6,300 girls back to school in just a year is a feat in itself but Klitsas has her eye on a bigger, bolder prize. She is acutely aware that this issue isn’t restricted to Uganda and wants is stretching Moxie’s wings as far and wide as possible.
“My personal goal is to support 500,000 girls globally within the next ten years,” she said. “The possibilities are endless and we will go wherever there is a need.”
Many corporations either shy away from CSR initiatives or muddlethrough them mainly because they haven’t given proper thought to the initial process. Mia treated Pads for Pads like any other business partnership and asked herself a series of thoughtful questions before taking the plunge. The following are her top three:
Will your funds be distributed in a way that enables you to quantify the impact of your initiative?
We originally spoke with several Australian organisations but were unfortunately unable to find the right avenue, partner or organisation that enabled us to provide a direct and quantifiable solution. Many organisations simply wanted us to make financial contributions for them to use at their discretion but this wouldn’t allow us to quantify the potential positive impact of our efforts and share it with our customers.
Does your CSR partner meet the ethics and values of your own business?
Upon learning of the work and efforts of AFRIpads in Uganda, it was clear that our values and mission to support women when they needed it most were aligned with theirs. A partnership was obvious. When we contacted them it was immediately evident that we could make an incredible impact to the lives of the women and girls while empowering Australian women to drive global social change for women’s rights through their consumer choices.
Does your initiative complement your business and resonate with your audience?
Through my experience with Pads for Pads, I’ve begun to really understand the power of collective impact. It may be difficult to make a big impact as an individual, but collectively we’re actually capable of driving enormous change. It’s ultimately our customers who drive and help grow the Pads for Pads initiative simply through their decision to purchase our products. Hence I believe that the key to making CSR work for your organisation is to find an avenue that is relevant to your business and resonates with your broader audience. Collectively, we can do some pretty amazing things!
Have you embarked on a CSR initiative? Let us in on your checklist in the comments section below!