Megan White Mukuria
Zanaafrica Pads are eco-friendly pads manufactured in Kenya. ZanaAfrica has created two lines of sanitary pads. Safi pads target women and girls that purchase pads, while Nia pads are distributed to girls for free through local organizations. However, as of 2016, Nia seems to be the only brand sold.
Instead of solely stocking its products at large vendors, ZanaAfrica leverages established NGO partnerships with groups like Marie Stopes International and Living Goods to deploy door-to-door saleswomen. Through these representatives, ZanaAfrica reaches women and girls in small towns and remote communities.
Unknown. However ZanaAfrica suggests their product is 30 percent cheaper to produce than the average pad in Kenya.
Traditional methods (ex. reusable cloth), Commercial menstrual pads (ex. Always brand, which can be too expensive for low-income girls and women to afford).
Goal 3: to improve and promote good health.
Promotion of menstrual hygiene, prevention of reproductive tract infections, retention in school.
Women and girls in Kenya, who use unsafe materials for their menstrual cycle, and miss school and work. ZanaAfrica works with girls between ages 11-14 in particular; this is because its educational programs and content are designed for this age group.
ZanaAfrica Group is a Kenyan-based social enterprise which claims to manufacture the sanitary pads and related products designed for and by women. ZanaAfrica Group uses local agricultural by-products to promote sustainability of the distribution system, without dependency on foreign imports.Experts have questioned the manufacturing capability availability in the region as fairly complex equipment is required, e.g. to apply the colored sides and the high resolution embossing.
The sanitary pads are distributed through NGO partnerships which deploy door-to-door saleswomen, along with stocking products at some large vendors. ZanaAfrica does sell termly school kits that consist of 32 pads (four 8-packs in both Regular and Super) and cotton underwear designed to accommodate all body types. This provides girls with safe, hygienic sanitary pads throughout the school term. To encourage continuity of product distribution, the ZanaAfrica Foundation creates girl-led reproductive health education resources and fosters long-term relationships with community-based organizations and NGOs who purchase termly kits on behalf of girls.
From November 2013 to January 2016, ZanaAfrica’s community-based sales have seen 300,000 disposable and reusable pads sold, reaching approximately 13,000 women and 7,000 girls.
This product is promoted as good for up to eight hours, though good sanitary measures are encouraged and variable by user.
The pads shouldn’t be used more than 8-10 hours.
ZanaAfrica has entered into 13 public and private partnerships, which are increasing distribution channels, raising visibility, and enhancing research capabilities. ZanaAfrica is now aiming to include educational comics with their pads to promote reproductive health and menstrual hygiene education.
Experts have questioned the financials that enable to ZanaAfrica to sell the pads at low cost and whether subsidies or donations are applied. The design with wings indicates significant design waste in production, which normally increases the cost. Also the construction seems to be quite complex, with several raw materials (rolled goods like cover, barrier etc.) being used. Most of these raw materials are not produced in Africa, in particular the cover materials.
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