Tackling the Digital Divide with Bloody Good Period
In the thick of another national lockdown, much of the world continues to operate online. From work to play, it’s all gone digital.
However, for many people experiencing digital exclusion, the inequalities are deepened. Many essentials, from school lessons to food banks, are now operating virtually.
For people who aren’t able to get safely online or dont have the equipment to do so, the digital divide is a pressing problem. We’re excited to announce our partnership with Bloody Good Period as part of our Tackling Digital Exclusion Programme.
What do Bloody Good Period do?
Bloody Good Period (BGP) was set up to create a sustainable flow of menstrual products for those who can't afford to buy them, particularly asylum seekers and refugees. They also do a huge amount of education and awareness building on the topic of menstrual health.
We spoke to Terri Harris, BGP’s Menstrual Sexual and Reproductive Health Education Manager, about their work.
"When we teach menstrual health we're not just teaching about periods. Through our sessions, people gain an understanding of their bodies and how they function, in ways that they have never been taught before.
This understanding then expands to the debunking of myths about their bodies, which often lead to the minimisation of shame and taboo. These myths can increase health risks through disinformation, entrench shame resulting in self-confidence issues and taboo which reinforces gender inequality.
Through understanding their bodies from a holistic perspective we can empower our participants in terms of health too.
Having every session led by a medical professional increases trust and awareness of the medical system in the UK. It also provides a space, outside of a medical space, where participants can ask questions they’ve always wondered without fear or embarrassment.”
How has Covid-19 impacted their work?
They have a Bloody Good Education programme which continues its work to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees receive crucial information online through Zoom, WhatsApp and through online video resources.
However, moving to a more virtual way of teaching created a barrier for many participants who:
- Do not have access to a laptop, tablet or computer.
- Experience issues around data and internet access
- Struggle to find privacy whilst living with family or in shared accomodation; which means they are unable to talk about sensitive topics online.
- Do not have the digital skills to use video conferencing technologies, or the interactive components in sessions.
The Partnership with Spark and Co.
Understanding these barriers, Bloody Good Education and Spark and Co have partnered to develop a resource pack for participants experiencing digital exclusion.
These packs include data cards, headphones, guides and activities. By providing resources to increase data access and privacy, as well as interactive activities, BGP will be able to increase engagement amongst its participants.
The impact we hope to make
Through the partnership with Spark and Co, we hope to reach 76 people through the creation and distribution of the resource packs.
Following the distribution of the packs, a pilot one-hour session will be delivered and hosted entirely on WhatsApp, which if viable, could be an alternative option to in-person and Zoom-led sessions.
This enables Bloody Good Period to adapt an existing service to reach users who would otherwise be excluded due to the digital divide, and it enables participants to access education and support from Bloody Good Period and Spark and Co.