This week, St Albans MP Anne Main hosted a meeting between WUKA, founded by constituents Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, and the Secretary of State for International Development, The Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP.
WUKA is a local St Albans business aiming to encourage women around the world to wear reusable, eco-friendly period pants and other sanitary products, rather than disposable products.
Having visited refugee camps in Bangladesh, Mrs Main highlighted how wide availability of these products would tackle period poverty for girls and women on a global scale, including for the Rohingya, but would also reduce plastic waste. Mrs Main also discussed her personal experience of maternity units in Cox’s Bazar and the vital need for products, such as WUKA’s period pants, for the many women and young girls within the camps.
The Secretary of State was very impressed with the products displayed at the meeting and confirmed that DFID would look into how such products could be trialled as part of the UK’s existing projects in the Rohingya camps. The Secretary of State confirmed his interest in setting up a bi-lateral pilot fund to potentially implement the use of innovative products made by businesses such as WUKA. In addition, the Secretary of State highlighted that these small innovative businesses need to be considered as part of future DFID projects.
After the meeting, Mrs Main said:
“I have been in touch with Ruby and Dave for a long time about WUKA and I sincerely value their products and the effective impact they could have in reducing period poverty together with plastic waste. Both of my constituents are wonderful ambassadors for their company and their products.
“I am glad that we had the opportunity to raise several issues with the Secretary of State, including the negative impact of the 20% tax on these period products and the suitability of the DFID funding bidding process towards bigger rather than smaller businesses. The Secretary of State agreed with our concerns and I am happy that this will be investigated further. I look forward to receiving more clarification from DFID about the actions they will be taking soon.”
- Picture 1 (Left to Right) – Anne Main MP, Ruby Raut (Founder of WUKA), Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP (Secretary of State), Dave Slocombe (Co-Founder of WUKA)
- Picture 2 (Left to Right) – Anne Main MP, Ruby Raut (Founder of WUKA), Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP (Secretary of State), Dave Slocombe (Co-Founder of WUKA)