ZanaAfrica is innovating a radically affordable sanitary pad to help more Kenyan girls stay in school.
Why we care: Sanitary pads are out of reach for four out of five girls and women in Kenya whose families live below the poverty line. Girls miss six weeks of school due to their inability to manage their period, and drop out at twice the rate as boys.
How we are solving: $15 a year keeps a girl in school anywhere in Kenya. This $15 gives her 120 pads, three underpants, and standardized health education.
News reports show girls are often forced to choose to stay home or engage in transactional sex to afford pads. One million girls in Kenya are in this situation. We think this is a human rights issue.
Providing pads plus health education reclaims 6 weeks of school, helping girls to graduate and step into the promise of their future.
Our goal is 10,000 girls by January – starting here with 1,000 girls.
Our process innovation combines three critical components. First, we are innovating a locally made, radically affordable sanitary pad to sustainably support girls and women. Rather than using expensive wood pulp, which is what is in current sanitary pads, we have created an absorbent layer made from non-wood fibers reducing the cost of the pads 40%.
Second, with the Egyptian-based textile company, Transformation Textiles, we are also innovating inexpensive cotton underpants by making underpants from excess quality fabrics that would have been discarded.
Last, our comic-based health pamphlets, distributed in pad packages, provide vital information in a fun, standardized way that girls can read in private, refer, back to, and share with friends and family.
Through this project, we will distribute 120,000 sanitary pads and 3,000 underpants to 1,000 girls, starting in January 2014-- the commencement of the Kenyan school year. This is 10% of our 2014 goal.
We’ll continue our work in pad distribution with vetted grass-roots partner organizations, which mentor and support girls in their communities. These include organizations such as Lifting the Barriers, Mully Children’s Family and Path to Womanhood. You'll be able to track distribution activities that you've made possible through our mobile app.
This year we distributed 6,500 annual supplies of pads, underpants, and health education. With your help, lets make a big step toward serving 1,000 more girls in January 2014.