Company gets girls to school in Africa by making an affordable, eco-sanitary pad

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Spotted: Eco-Sanitary Trading, a company in Namibia, has introduced an affordable sanitary pad for women. Naomi Kefas, the managing director of the company, said the company created the product after realising that underprivileged girls missed school each month because they couldn’t afford pads. While visiting the city of Rundu, she was approached by a young girl who requested that next time Kefas brought food, perhaps she could bring sanitary pads too. Otherwise, she missed school. “That moment I knew I had to make a difference in the lives of these girls,” said Kefas.

The product is called “Perfect fit.” It is produced locally, is absorbent and can be carried to school in a pocket. It took the team nearly two years of research, including self-funded trips to South Africa, Kenya, India and China, to design the pads.

They are manufactured by a team of 26 — nearly half of them women — in a factory in the capital Windhoek. The company received funding from the Development Bank of Namibia and through grants.

Takeaway: This simple solution offers enormous benefits. The lack of accessible sanitary pads is a problem for girls around the world. “One in 10 girls in Africa miss school during their period because they don’t have access to sanitary products, or because there aren’t safe, private toilets for them to use at school,” according to ActionAid. Failing to finish school can make women vulnerable to violence, the charity says. Springwise has reported on other innovations to bring basic hygienic supplies to girls in underdeveloped areas, including specially designed underwear.

Contact: www.linkedin.com/naomi-kefas

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