Today was a critical day as I was to meet the owner of Social Consultancy Services (SCS), Mr. Sharaf Abbas Khan. From my previous experience of interacting with him, I knew that he is intelligent and very helping, but today it got proven. I spent almost the whole day with him and he taught me how to approach projects like these. He doesn’t just want the project to be successful, but he also wants it to be a learning experience for me. Here is the summary of what I learnt.
Before starting any project, a need for the product needs to be assessed. The people included in this are direct (target audience) and indirect beneficiaries (manufacturers, retailers, distributors, doctors, etc.). To carry out this need assessment, first we need to find a sample size, develop a questionnaire and use it for data collection, data analysis and based on this data analysis, the appropriate intervention methods have to be devised. These are the steps we need to move forward with.
For the target audience, we are thinking of women between the age of 15-25 as these are the women that are most acceptable to change or radical ideas. We are still negotiating whether we want to only focus on rural areas or bring these products to urban areas too. On conversation with various people, we have realized that this is a product for urban women but somewhere I have a gut feeling that it should be promoted in the rural areas. Next, we have to build a questionnaire that assess the knowledge of the women, their openness to change, awareness about the menstrual cup, availability and purchasing power. This form has to be sent out to the direct beneficiaries and then based on the response, we develop how to move forward. These are the two things on the agenda at the moment – target audience identification and building the questionnaire.
We must also be aware of the indirect beneficiaries. Therefore, I started looking at various medical stores. I started my sample with some of the biggest medical stores in Lucknow. If they don’t have the cups, other smaller shops will not have either. I will visit more stores tomorrow to find if the menstrual cups are in market and where does it have its reach to. At one of the shops today, they were aware of the “silicon cup” but it was not in stock because it does not have much sale. Tomorrow, I will also call Dr. Archana Awasthi, who is a gynaecologist to ask about what she knows and show her the video and tell her about the project.
Volunteer selection is also something we have to consider. They can be based on level of education, age, and experience in the menstrual hygiene field. Based on all these skills, the cost of hiring them will be different.
Plan is to figure all of the above tomorrow.