In an effort to solve the problem of the scarcity of sanitary towels in the country, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), an international body, has moved to produce the products locally so that they can be accessed by Rwandan girls and women at affordable prices.
As part of its project SHE is developing a franchise model to manufacture and distribute eco-friendly sanitary pads in the country using local materials, such as banana fiber starting next month.
In an interview SHE Director Julian Kayibanda confirmed that the organisation will introduce its pilot product next month to address prevailing needs of affordable sanitary products.
“Lack of eco-friendly and affordable sanitary pads is a problem that is affecting girls and women’s productivity, which in the end affects the economy of any nation, hence the need to deliver a sustainable solution,” Kayibanda said.
According to SHE statistics, if ignored women absenteeism from work and school during their menstrual periods will cost the country up to $115m a year.
The project that targets a countrywide rollout, has already commenced feasibility studies in the districts of Rulindo, Karongi, Bugesera and Nyamagabe, the product will however be availed across the country.
“The health and hygiene training will kick off this month alongside a pilot product in October while the women production training will start December. The product will be officially launched countrywide in March 2010 to coincide with the Women’s day celebrations,” Kayibanda said.
The product is designed for the rural woman/school going girls who so far have no access.
According to Kayibanda, if produced, their sanitary napkins are guaranteed to be significantly cheaper than any other leading brand in the market.
“Right now the cheapest pack of 10 pads is RWF 500-600; we are looking to bringing the price to less than that.”
Though the project will roll out first in Rwanda, it targets to move on to other countries that face similar challenges at a later stage.