Expanding women’s access to safe, affordable sanitary pads from renewable resources

2011 - 2015 • ZanaAfrica Group (American Friends of ZanaAfrica, AFZA)


ZanaAfrica Group seeks to shape the feminine hygiene industry in East Africa to unlock the market for 1 million women and girls by 2020, delivering aspirational sanitary pads coupled with responsive reproductive health education.


The BMG grants enabled us to do product development to figure out lower cost pad alternatives, to understand the needs of women and girls through testing various pad configurations, and develop strategies to solve the challenges of access to pads and health information (cost and availability)
The funding additionally, enabled us to build a strong focused team on the ground which has been instrumental in achieving many of our milestones to date. Allowing the various units within the organization to focus on specific objectives and milestones.

As we scale up we are keen to continually evaluate various menstrual products that we could offer, as we mention in our narrative, our product development is informed by data and insights collected in the field.

Our non-profit works with a range of different community based organizations across Kenya that have the capacity to mobilize their communities to think and care about this issue while engaging all gender.

At every stage of our product development, we ensure that women and girls are directly providing input in its creation. Our products are made at high-speed, automated manufacturing facilities because we know that this is what women and girls want and allows for better quality control. This also allows us to keep costs low for last-mile women and girls. Additionally, our marketing and branding ensure that women and girls feel empowered and important, which is crucial in uptake of our products.


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Further information

We have received funding from Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) which was a jointly funded grant with the Gates Foundation ( www.grandchallenges.ca/grantee-stars/0173-01/ )
and our first investment funding from GCC earlier this year (2015) to scale up our operations.

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Health and hygiene Kenya Other Other Politicians and local decision makers Private sector, including social enterprises Specific to one or several countries Sub-Saharan Africa


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