The Women4Climate Tell Your Story campaign aims to champion the role of women as agents of change in the climate space, highlight their climate projects and tell the inspirational stories behind them.
Dr. Lata Ghanshamnani’s projects are profoundly inspiring for their positive impacts on the environment and the communities she works with in Mumbai, India. Her story brilliantly illustrates that inclusive climate action resides within each of us and that we can all use our platforms to address the challenges we encounter.
"All of us need to feel in the emergency,” she says. “We have spoken enough. We have enough proof of concepts and pilot projects. The time has come to scale them up.”
Women4Climate Mumbai mentee Dr. Lata Ghanshamnani.
Dr. Ghanshamnani is a trained medical engineer and has been practising medicine for 25 years, initially without any particular interest in sustainability. Ten years ago, whilst working in a community garden, Dr. Ghanshamnani observed that large quantities of leaves were regularly burnt. Alarmed by the inefficient management of this waste, she was convinced that there was a better way to dispose of it.
After her experience in the community garden, she soon realised how much waste she was creating whilst practising medicine. Inspired to make a personal change, she founded a project at the intersection of gender, waste and the environment. The "Sakhi" project – “Sakhi” meaning ‘female friend’ in Hindi - deals solely with menstrual health, hygiene and sustainable menstrual practice.
Dr. Ghanshamnani’s project significantly reduces menstrual waste by both educating and raising awareness among communities about the use and promotion of menstrual cups. She runs workshops in centres and trains the staff to become trainers themselves. Each workshop ends with menstrual cups being distributed to attendees, with free resources provided to women and girls who cannot afford period products.
The "Sakhi" project follows up with members of the programme, in-person and digitally, in an array of local languages. Dr. Ghanshamnani’s relationship with the community and her training as a doctor are key to gaining the trust of those involved in the project and to the overall success of “Sakhi”.
Being a Women4Climate mentee gave Dr. Ghanshamnani a platform to discuss sustainability and feminist-oriented ideas with like-minded peers and connect with those with projects that “swim against the tide.”
“It is inspiring and encouraging to meet activists from different backgrounds,” she says. “This is invaluable, especially in India, where women do not have access to the right platforms to contribute meaningfully to policy-making.”
Dr. Ghanshamnani also emphasises the fact that she lacked the initial skills to develop an effective project, such as communication and project management skills. The support she has received from her Women4Climate mentor means she can fill these gaps in her knowledge and experience, which will help her to realise her full potential. Dr. Ghanshamnani says she has “learned so much from Women4Climate, and hopes to learn more as the programme continues.”
Learn more about Ghanshamnani's work on: Website or LinkedIn
To learn more about gender mainstreaming in inclusive climate action approaches, take the free Women4Climate 4-week online course, "Developing Skills for Women Leadership in Climate Action"