In the Red: Between Research, Activism, and Community Development in a Menstruation Public Health Intervention

  • Sharli Anne PaphitisEmail author
  • Lindsay Kelland


As engaged researchers involved in a critical health intervention programme aimed at addressing a number of menstruation-related challenges, we find ourselves being called on to work as activists. Our ability to work alongside community members as activists ensures the success of our public health intervention. However, the fluidity in our understanding of our roles and responsibilities often leaves us in an ethical grey zone relating to consent, anonymity, and confidentiality because of our dual roles as researchers and activists. The boundaries between our relationships with the participants and ourselves as researchers assume relational rather than transactional qualities. Similarly, we have encountered ethical challenges relating to participation and power dynamics which warrant special attention not typically given in traditional ethics review protocols.



We would like to acknowledge the work of our community partners in this critical health intervention. They stood alongside us as champions of this project, activists as researchers in their own right. We would also like to thank the other members of our research team from Rhodes University who spent many hours working on, in, and for this project. We have learnt a great deal from the interdisciplinary collaborations in this project, and we are grateful to all the team members who helped us navigate new terrain. We would like to acknowledge and thank the Rotary Club, the Rotary Ann’s, The Circle of Sisterhood, and Days for Girls for funding and support in this project.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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