Many of us don’t consider buying sanitary towels a hassle. For most of us, it’s a basic necessity that’s easy to get and affordable, but for millions of girls across the African continent, it’s a monthly struggle that usually results in taking days off from school during such days. Tired of witnessing his sister going through that same struggle and determined to come up with a solution for missing school, Richard Bbaale decided to design and manufacture a biodegradable pad using the stem of banana trees.
The social entrepreneur admits that he is dedicated to women empowerment in his native Uganda, specifically in the rural areas. Not only is his business model helping keep young girls in school by manufacturing and selling sanitary pads in villages at a low price, but the project also includes a centre providing women with education and training as well as an industrial unit for producing sanitary pads, employing only women.
“I use absorbent paper converted from banana pseudo stems, an abundant and free organic waste available in Uganda and Tanzania. These pads are produced by local females who otherwise do not have any opportunity to earn their own salary. Furthermore, by letting them work from home owning a business in a bag, they are able to bring life-changing sanitary products to the doorsteps of the poor,” explains the entrepreneur.
BanaPads produces 100% biodegradable sanitary pads, made from natural materials and they cost 50% less than the second cheapest pads in the country. So far, the sanitary towels have been tested in Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
Social innovation is about creating a new solution to an existing social problem that is both effective and sustainable, with that notion in mind- Bbaale is certainly an excelling social innovator of note. We look forward to seeing his product invade the entire continent.