Project #221 | Sanitary Pad Project for Girls in Kenya

Our Partnership with Common Ground for Africa

Only a small fraction of girls and women in Kenya use sanitary products during menstruation. Most make do with newspapers, leaves, pieces of cloth, cow dung, and other materials, which cause chafing, urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, and other reproductive health problems, including fatal toxic shock syndrome and infertility. Lack of sanitary products also causes girls to stay home from school and women to miss work. The need and market for feminine hygiene products are huge. The challenge is to make products affordable and train women and girls on how to use them.

One Day’s Wages partnered with Common Ground for Africa (CGA) to construct a sanitary pad factory at Lenana Girls High School in Kitale, Kenya.  The factory was equipped with machinery and materials for production, and employed 8 woman.  In addition, 100 students were trained to produce and distribute affordable ‘Nalena’ menstrual pads.  The school developed a process that transforms sugar cane waste into an absorbent core for sanitary pads without the need for any chemicals or super absorbent polymers. This readily available agro-waste allows Nalena pads to be priced lower than other multinational brands. In this way, the project turned waste into a useable product.  The women and girls who participated in the project learned many practical business skills including product design, raw material collection and processing, production, branding, and marketing. 

Our Collective Impact

Sanitary Pad Factory Constructed

Students Began Making Sanitary Pads

Girls Received Free Pads

“In Kenya, girls like me suffer a lot during our menstrual cycle, as most of us cannot afford to buy pads. So, when we start experiencing our periods we are forced to look for other means to cover our shame. Some resort to cutting pieces of clothing and mattresses to use. In some cases, girls have sex with motorcycle taxi drivers in exchange for sanitary pads.  Most of my friends are suffering due to a lack of sanitary pads, and many have gotten pregnant from having transactional sex. This leads to more stigma and misinformation. There are also a lot of superstitious beliefs about girls with their periods – that they are impure or cursed, or that crops will die in the garden when you have your period. The production at Lenana Girls High School offers a big relief to girls and women in Kenya.  I am sure in the near future we are going to reach as many girls and women as possible. Thank you!”

Thank you for making this possible!

Our movement is grassroots, to us that not only means the work on the ground is led by local leaders with the support of the community, but it also means that we raise the funds for our projects through everyday donors just like you. In addition to all the donors that gave $25, $100, or $250 and the campaigners that ran a race or donated their birthday to raise funds, we also want to thank our generous business, school, and faith sponsors who believed in our work and joined the movement.

If you want to support future projects like this you can make a donation to our girls empowerment fund.

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