The Scottish Government has reinforced its commitment to providing access to period goods by launching an app that allows users to find places that offer them for free.
Scotland has become the first country in the world to make menstrual products free in 2020. MSPs unanimously approved the Menstrual Products (Free Provision) Bill, which places a legal duty on local authorities to ensure that items such as sanitary napkins and tampons are available for “anyone who needs them”. their”.
A collaborative process
PickupMyPeriod was developed by Pogo Studio, a digital studio that has previously worked with NHS Scotland, and My Period, the education-focused unit of Hey Girls, a social enterprise that makes eco-friendly period products .
Both entities were first featured at the 2019 Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, according to Pogo Studio chief executive Jack Francis. “We discussed app development for a while and ended up having the opportunity to go to their offices and chat with them about building the app,” he says.
Francis adds: “Our two companies seemed to match the technology and the culture, and alongside students from Edinburgh Napier, we started creating the app.”
How it works
The app provides users with links to over 700 sites across the country from which vintage products can be found for free. The government says this number will increase as more authorities and organizations add their details to the system.
Using location data, PickupMyPeriod shows users their nearest pickup point via a map. Results can be filtered by a number of different metrics, such as wheelchair accessible sites.
The app also has resources to help people manage their periods and understand them better. This is done through “menstrual health education flash cards”, according to the government.
It also offers more general wellness information. The advice section of PickupMyPeriod, for example, offers access to information from NHS Scotland and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, and covers both period and other social issues.
“Ensure that the technology was suitable for the application”
The app’s UX is necessarily pared down for ease of use, says Francis. Users navigate via a series of red buttons.
“The biggest consideration was making sure the technology was suitable for an application with the potential scale it has,” he says. “We also needed to make sure the app was designed to be user-friendly and consistent with the Hey Girls brand.”
Likewise, the app’s branding is simple, but mirrors the larger Hey Girls brand, which Francis says is already “very strong”.
“A fantastic tool”
According to Scottish Social Justice Secretary Shona Robinson, young women and girls have been involved in the process of developing many government interventions to eradicate menstrual poverty.
While Scotland’s Periodic Products (Free Provision) Bill will come into full force by 2023, Hey Girls founder and CEO Celia Hodson says the app is “groundbreaking”.
“PickupMyPeriod will act as a fantastic tool to raise awareness of period poverty and equality, as well as provide support for people who need a little extra help across Scotland,” she says.
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