Health

Menstrual Pads Made from Banana Fibers

SHE manufactures, distributes and sells affordable ‘go!’ menstrual pads in Rwanda, helping more women and girls get access to safe and effective pads. SHE has developed a process that can transform banana fibers – an agro-waste – into an absorbent core for the sanitary pads, without the need for any chemicals or super absorbent polymers. This readily available agro-waste allows the go! pad to be priced lower than other multinational brands, enabling girls and women to access affordable, eco-friendly pads.

We have created a new market for environmentally friendly menstrual pads, thereby creating jobs and income opportunities across the value chain.

Elizabeth ScharpfFounder and Chief Instigating Officer, SHE

SHE’s technology also enables entrepreneurs to replicate this innovative production process and spread access to more affordable sanitary pads in other regions. To date, SHE has created 17 jobs and generated income opportunities for 600 farmers. In 2016, their first full year of production and sales, they sold 227,000 ‘go!’ pads. In addition, SHE actively trains teachers so that they can educate students in menstrual hygiene, and they run their own menstrual health radio show with 2.5 million listeners.

Why you should care

Approximately one in ten African girls do not attend school while menstruating, averaging four days of absenteeism every month. For working women, lack of access to sanitary pads can also mean days off work, resulting in lost income and productivity. This lack of access to sanitary pads leads to significant overall losses in terms of education, health, income and dignity for girls and women.

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