Having your period at a festival can be a bit of a nightmare, when clean loos and sanitary items are hard to come by. Millions of women and girls around the world face these challenges on a monthly basis – no sanitary products, no proper toilets, no clean water - often causing them to drop out of education.
That's why we were at Latitude Festival over the weekend – to bust period taboos and fundraise to help keep girls in school when they have their period. Check out our highlights - in pictures.
We wanted everyone to know why we were at Latitude — so our taboo-busting video played on the main stage throughout the weekend, encouraging people to come to our tent and get involved.
As people queued to go to ‘the ActionAid loos’, they could read stories of girls affected by period taboos and lack of sanitary pads in countries where we work.
Lack of access to toilets and sanitary items leads to gender discrimination: in Africa, one in ten girls misses school when they have their period. This has a huge knock-on effect on girls’ education and often leads to them dropping out, reducing their chances of being able to support themselves later on in life.
By providing advice and support, sanitary pads, a safe place to wash, and separate toilets in countries such as Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania – ActionAid is making sure that girls who would otherwise drop out can stay in education.
Free sanitary pads
In the spirit of providing sanitary products to girls in Africa, we were also giving out free pads to female festival-goers.
Many women were really grateful, as they said it saved them a long trek to the festival supermarket in the camping area – the only place on site that sold them.
Virtual reality toilet in Rwanda
To bring our work to life, our virtual reality experience showed first-hand how ActionAid is building safe toilets with clean water in countries across Africa.
Our VR headset immersed people in the real-life setting of a toilet in Rwanda, and showed the difference it has made to girls’ lives.
Surfing the crimson wave
People of all ages (and species) loved ‘surfing the crimson wave’ – based on Cher Horowitz’s period euphemism from the movie Clueless.
Even a little dinosaur had a go!
And a penguin!
Breaking the taboo
Inspired by Pakistani students’ period taboo protest in 2016, our ‘Break the taboo’ wall encouraged people to share powerful messages about periods.
The response was amazing — men, women, boys and girls of all ages were eager to highlight that periods are nothing to be ashamed of…
…including proud dads!
Getting the painters in
Continuing with our period euphemism theme, we ‘got the painters in’!
Festival-goers could paint themselves from head to toe in red - from glitter and love hearts to feather bowers and nail painting…
…and then have their picture taken in our social media photo booth with an ActionAid sign…
…to help show their support for putting an end to period taboos.
Our amazing comedian and poet friends performed live at our tent to help draw in the crowds and raise more funds to support our work.
Big thanks for brilliant performances from: Lisa Luxx, Lauren Pattison, Robin Ince, Abigoliah Schamaun, Nish Kumar, Mark Thomas, Kelly Convey, Marcus Brigstocke, Aisling Bea, Ivo Graham, Tom Allen, Travis Alabanza, and Alfie Brown.
They were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
We’re also hugely grateful to many of Latitude’s artists, who showed their support for busting period taboos by having their photo taken with us backstage.
A big thank you to Will Young, The Horrors, Lucy Rose, Baaba Maal, Two Door Cinema Club, Public Service Broadcasting…
…and to Ibibio Sound Machine, Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy, Fatboy Slim, DJ Yoda, and Huw Stephens.
Knowing we have the supprt of all these talented musicians and performers makes all the difference.
Our taboo-busting volunteers
We couldn’t have done it without our fantastic team of volunteers, who gave up their time and energy to talk to Latituders about all things perdiod!
Thanks to them, thousands of festival goers learned how girls are held back by their periods in developing countries, had positive conversations about why menstruation matters, and helped us raise an amazing £4,500 to help keep girls in school.
A huge hats off to Ciaran, Milly, Ella, Issie, Sarah, Gee, Mena, Daniel, Giulia, Vicky, Isabella, Hannah, Peter, Susan, Rachel.K, Erin, Lilian, Jessie, Cherie, Jess, Elle, Ismail, Megan, Harriet, Cat, Milly, Steph, Dan, Joe, Jonty, Jessica, Marina, Gemma, Kat, Phil, Joseph, Rachel.G and our photographer Jack who took all these fabulous photos for us. Thank you!
We’ll be back at Latitude next year for another weekend of period-taboo busting, and we hope to see you there!
But our work supporting girls to stay in school when they’re on their period goes on all year round, so if you’d like to help, please do make a donation today.