Reusable Sanitary Pads Project 

Rockflower is partnering with Womenchoice Industries to invest in scaling up the production of reusable sanitary pads and other feminine hygiene products to improve economic opportunities for low income families in Muheza, Tanzania and to keep girls in school.

School girls aged 10-19 years from low income families in Muheza, Tanzania, face a myriad of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) challenges, including: lack of information, products and services, the use of unhygienic materials such as cow dung, dry sand, leaves, sisal fibers, pieces of mattress and blankets to manage their menses. They trade sex for pads with men, twice their age, exposing them to early pregnancies, abortions, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. Schools lack adequate sanitary and disposal facilities and a water supply forcing girls to abstain from school for at least 4-7 days a month amounting to 48-84 days annually. This directly impacts their school attendance and academic performance. Disposable sanitary towels remain costly, inaccessible and environmentally unsustainable. 

According to UNICEF, in Tanzania: 

  • Only 11% school-based sanitary facilities, latrines, meet the minimum standard
  • 26% of schools with 100 pupils have no latrines
  • 9% latrines are clean
  • 1% of schools have soaps
  • 38% have no access to water
  • 46% do not have a functional water supply
  • 52% of the latrines have no doors
  • 63% have no sanitary disposals facilities
  • 82% lack sufficient knowledge to manage menstruation
  • Girls menstrual related school dropout accounts for 45% annually 

Womenchoice Industries’ MHM innovation model, the reusable “Salama Pads”, has been designed to provide a long-term solution to these issues. Made from locally available second-hand clothing materials, the “Salama Pad” can be used for a maximum of 3 years and costs approximately $2.20 to produce. 

WomenChoice Industries' main goal is to improve menstrual hygiene management health conditions for schoolgirls aged 10-19 years, in Muheza district council, Tanzania. The specific objectives are: 

  1. Train 200 teenage mothers on production and selling of “Salama Pads” through the introduction of small-scale business models, basic book and record keeping, management skills with a projected outcome of 75% of these women engaging in income generation activities in Muheza, Tanzania by April 2019.
  2. Increased distribution and access to 30,000 in school girls to MHM information, products and services by December 2020.
  3. Improve girls MHM related school attendance and academic performance from 45%- 75% in Tanga, Tanzania by December 2020.

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