Megan Mukuria (Ashoka Fellow)
Name of social entrepreneur
Date entered into program
Fellow Since 2014
Impact (in number) till date
Young girls and women miss valuable school and work hours every moth due to lack of access to affordable sanitary pads. Megan’s solution has been to create cheaper and high quality menstrual health products and engage women and young girls in sexual and reproductive health education.
Research has shown that four out of five girls in East Africa, which is an estimated 65% of women and young girls in Kenya are unable to afford sanitary pads available in the market today. This severely impacts on the women and young girls’ ability to go to school or work which could impact on the dropout rates. In addition, the stigma associated with menstruation alienates the issue from most social spheres, making the arrival of menstruation a particularly frustrating and traumatic experience for these young women and girls. The consequences of such a stigma and access result in these women and girls making use of unhealthy an unhygienic option like rags and tissue paper that may cause untreated reproductive tract infections. With reference to this problem, there is also an issue of lack of education on reproductive health for women and young girls. Furthermore, with schools lacking the most basic infrastructure to run the school program, reproductive health education is not placed as a priority.
Megan has partnered with Africa Cotton and pursued innovations in material science to create inexpensive and high quality pads. Furthermore, she is developing specialized underwear with reusable cloth liners for use during menstruation. Zana Africa also distributes menstrual health product and engages women and young girls on sexual and reproductive health to help them better manage their body and health.
Two cents per pad (saving for better quality), assuming 6 pads per month. Non-profit activities: 1.3 million USD includes randomized trial and curriculum delivery (outsourced). 14 agents that go around slum 2400 kiosks, and half is sold through NGOs that mostly give for free to school girls.
By 2020, Megan plans to have directly served 2.5 million girls and women, winning back 5 million school days and a further 55 million working hours.
The number of direct beneficiaries is 82910 and 252 350 indirect beneficiaries. Zana Africa has tracked the distribution of 18 million pads and 900 000 pairs of underwear to 260 000 young girls in 2500 schools in Kenya.