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Increase access & Affordability of pads in low income/marginalized areas

EsVendo increases access of pads through its network of vending machines & women groups to tackle pad distribution in Kenyan slum and rural

Photo of Esther Mwangi
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What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?

Access of pads from girls and women in urban areas prone to conflict (Slums), rural and marginalized areas. Affordability of pads by reducing the upfront cost of purchasing pads in Kenya Increase access to education on sexual and reproductive health information

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?

Applicability of the distribution model in a sparsely populated areas Applicability of the solution among populations that are less liquid (Money wise) implementing distribution channel that isn't cash based

Explain Your Idea

We conducted a study that showed 80% of the respondents received their periods unexpectedly and 86.7% of the respondents a daily income of 1-5$. The study also showed that 90.7% of the respondents were comfortable purchasing one single pad at 10KES while 9.3% were comfortable purchasing a better brand/quality at 20KES. and 77.3% of the respondents reported to use 50-80KES every month to handle their menses. 100% of the respondents reacted positively to a machine that allowed them to purchase one pad and wanted additional sanitary items like diapers and condoms offered. Our responds to the study was to offer more options of light flow and heavy flow pads and also provide popular & high quality pad brands in our machines which most of the girls and women appreciate.

Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).

1. Improved access to sanitary towels for women and girls in low resource setting and prone to conflict areas in Kenya resulting in reduced absenteeism to school due to menstrual issues and increased productivity at work. 2. Increased access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and menstrual hygiene for women and girls. 3. Improved health from abandoned use of unhealthy ways of managing menses in low resource settings resulting in reduced poverty and overall well being of the girls and women in Kenya.

How is your idea unique?

Our idea is unique because it is shaped by our end users (girls and women). Using the findings from our continuous studies, we design our solutions to best fit the girls and women and increase our offerings based on their feedback.

What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?

The vending machine distribution model works best in high populated setting. sparsely populated areas reach fewer girls and women hence reduced the number girls and women reached translating to products accessed.

Who are your end users?

65% of women and girls do not have access to healthy means of handling their menses (FSG, 2016 report) and so they result to crude and unhealthy means that end up affecting their health and quality of life. the initiative implemented in low income setting prone to conflict and institutions in camps and the country could reach over 1 million girls and women empowering them to affordably and with dignity handle their menses.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • Kenya

What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?

  • Prolonged displacement
  • Community at risk of disaster

Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in

We intend to implement the solution in low income and marginalized communities (those at risk of conflict and disasters). Given that the solution best fits high population setting this will include camps, institutions in communities prone to conflict. The Solution is adoptable both to those who can afford to pay for the products and those who cannot by adopting a system where a code gives you access to the sanitary towels and monitors number of units used by every beneficiary.

What is your organization's name?

EsVendo Limited

Tell us more about you.

EsVendo work with local governments, youth groups, women groups, individuals and institutions to provide our solution. Our team has both the passion and experience in ensuring we reach our set objectives. Esther Mwangi, the founder has 5 years experience working with for profit and Ngo organizations in implementing a variety of solutions for the community. Anne Murugi, the operations lead has over 9 years experience work with MHM & other programs, Brenda Livoi, the engineering lead is well versed in designing local machinery solutions that best fit the market with 3 years experience. we also have many volunteers.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Women-led organization
  • Youth-led organization

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • National - expansive reach within 1 country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • Yes, for more than a year.

Organization Location

Nairobi, Kenya

What is your organizational status?

  • Registered for-profit company, including social enterprises.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Existing Prototype or Pilot: Tested a part of my solution with users and am iterating.



Join the conversation:

Photo of Sarah Gibson

Can you elaborate on how your idea would spread sexual and reproductive health information? Why do women prefer to purchase only one pad at a time? Assuming it is because they prefer not to pay as much upfront for the product, what if your idea including something for women in rural areas where they were given all of the sanitary napkins they needed but payed off the 'debt' over the month rather than just the week of their period?

Photo of Esther Mwangi

Hello Sarah, we will provide Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information in written form next to the machine. This will help women have increased access to information. I am open to collaboration (How do you envision it?)
Debt for consumer products is tricky, however we are open to devising an effective pay as you go system that works for the women and limits the capital risk to the organization (What did you envision for the debt system?)