BanaPads are cost effective sanitary pads made from the processed stems of freely available banana plants. The eco-friendly absorbent material is derived from plant and paper materials and is packaged for monthly distribution to school girls. BaNaPads fabrication centers employ and serve the female residents of the rural communities in Uganda.
Richard is a social entrepreneur from Mpigi, outside of Kampala, Uganda. He is highly committed to women’s empowerment in his country, especially in rural areas. His business, BanaPads is committed to helping empower women by helping them better meet their sanitary needs. He says that, “Our business model is hybrid, as we develop advocacy and education for young girls and women and we make profit from manufacturing and selling sanitary pads in rural areas.”
BanaPads has the advantage of being at the same time for profit and non-profit in nature. This integrated project includes a center for training and education dedicated to young women from the villages, but also an industrial unit for manufacturing sanitary napkins, employing only women. The pads are made of completely natural materials, are biodegradable and recyclable, and meet international standards for hygiene and comfort.
The manufacturing process is simple and ingenious at the same time. BanaPads collects bananas stems and ferments the fibers through a drying process. A special added enzyme then transforms the fibers into an absorbent cotton. These fibers become the basic material for the manufacturing of the sanitary napkins.
BanaPads has a unique distribution model. In each village or community, a female representative is the selling point of pads. She earns a commission on each sale and returns the margins to BanaPads. She is also trained in sales and marketing techniques, and the basic principles of sexual and feminine hygiene.
Richard aims to scale to all rural areas of Uganda, and also to other countries in the region. Do not be surprised if you see BanaPads invade the whole of Africa!