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YWCA NWT wins grant to combat ‘period poverty’


YWCA NWT will use a $6,000 grant to distribute pads and tampons to women across the territory who may otherwise struggle to afford them.

The organization was the grand prize recipient in the NWT category of a community fund program operated by law firm Field Law.

Period poverty refers to the inability to afford menstrual cycle products, resulting in some women feeling unable to participate in everyday activities.

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Alayna Ward, director of community relations for YWCA NWT, told Cabin Radio: “There can be some girls that have some shame associated with their periods and with their bodies. So, we really want to help girls feel proud of what their bodies can do.

“We don’t want something that’s out of their control – such as their period – to make them unable to reach their full potential.”

The exact program is still being finalized.

According to a 2018 Plan International Canada report, approximately a third of surveyed Canadian women under 25 said they could not afford menstrual products for themselves or their families.

Ward said the North needs this form of program, citing her work with families who have struggled to make ends meet and done without essential items.

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“Some low-income families have different priorities. Often they have to make the difficult decision monthly if they’re going to pay their power bill, buy health and hygiene products, or buy other essentials like food,” she said.

“It’s something we wanted to ensure that people had access to, so they just never have to make that choice.”

Other NWT recipients

Three NWT organizations received a combined $12,000 from Field Law’s community fund.

Steve Eichler, a partner at the firm, said: “Particularly this year, we really felt the need to keep this program going … to help people through this time.”

The Inuvik Native Band received $4,000 to assist its Indigenous Mental Health Support Circle, which helps “local Indigenous seniors and Elders to be available to provide historical traditional mental health advice and daily or weekly guidance.”

The Kole Crook Fiddle Association won $2,000 for Bringing Back Music North of 60, a project to preserve and revive traditional music, specifically old-time Métis-style fiddling with a guitar accompaniment.

“We want to invest in the communities that we’re part of,” said Eichler.

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