The Grace Cup *Menstrual cups*
Menstrual cups are a one time solution when dealing with menstrual hygiene. Freedom from pads and tampons.
What specific problem(s) are you trying to address?
Most women in Africa can't afford to buy pads and tampons. The Grace Cup is made from 100% medical grade silicon, can be used for 10 years and does not contain any chemicals or toxins. Girls are forced to use old mattresses and blankets as they cannot access pads. Some miss out on school and end up dropping out all together. A menstrual cup is a cheap and convenient way to help these girls once and for all. It is also good for the environment as there is no waste to be thrown out.
When we talk of reproductive health, rarely do we discuss menstrual issues. Girls in conflict areas still have their periods. The grace cup offers a permanent solution to this problem .
What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address?
Awareness. Menstrual cups have been in existence since the 1930's but is still a very new concept in Kenya. A lot of education on how its used is also needed .
Explain Your Idea
The cup is folded and inserted in a woman's vagina. As opposed to a pad or a tampon that absorbes a woman's menses a cup collects it. One can use the cup for up to 12 hours without the need of changing. Virgins and women using coils or diaphragm can also use it.
This idea came about after I had been contributing towards buying of pads to girls in rural areas. At one point I got tired of donating. I asked, how long are we going to do this? Isn't there a more sustainable option to this? That's when I started looking for answers and the grace cup was born.
Name the three most important ways that your idea will address your identified problem(s).
Health: The grace cup contains no chemicals which means lower risk of infections like UTI. No reported case of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) while using the cup . The material is non porus, non absorbent which means it doesn't interfere with the Ph in the vagina.
Finance: Women will save up to ksh. 18.000 on pads and ksh. 30.000 on tampons in the next 10 years when using the grace cup. (Note: this figure will rise as we have not considered inflation)
Eco friendly: One woman will use eight trash bags full of menstrual products during her lifetime. That is A LOT of waste. Lack of proper disposal methods is also a challenge. With the cup. This problem is automatically solved as there is nothing to be thrown out.
How is your idea unique?
Many organisations tackle this problem by donating pads to girls. This is a wonderful idea, just not sustainable as this will have to be done every single month. Also, in poor communities, girls sell the donated pads so they can afford a meal. Hence not really solving this problem.
Washable pads are also another great idea but the risks of infection are high as these girls don't air them out to dry hence wear the pads while dump. Also it requires a lot of clean water to wash them and water is not easily accessible in some areas.
We considered all these factors and came up with the grace cup. It is a solution to all these challenges.
What are some outstanding concerns or questions that you have regarding your idea?
Women are used to using pads and are afraid of inserting things in their vagina. (That's why tampons are not popular) There is a whole psychological issue we need to deal with.
One solution to this is having girls start using cups from the moment they experience their first period also known as menarche, hence they won't have to ever use a pad or tampon.
Education is a major problem. May girls are afraid of what they don't know. Once the knowledge is impacted in them, the cup will be used.
Who are your end users?
In the next 7 years we are hoping to target every menustrating woman in East Africa. For now, our target is women between age 12-30 mostly from marginalised areas with no access to sanitary materials.
Where will your idea be implemented?
What is the primary type of emergency setting where your innovation would operate?
Tell us more about the emergency setting that you intend to implement in
People in the above 3 categories are a risk of moving to different areas with no notice. They need something that can be carried around easily . Also. In case they move, finding them to give them pads every month can be difficult.
What is your organization's name?
The Grace Cup
Tell us more about you.
The Grace Cup is a registered Kenyan business soley owned by me. I have been in operation since July 2017. So far I am only doing retail but I want to scale it . Funds have been a major issue that's why I'm looking for grants or sponsors to come on board and help implement this.
My background is in acting and modelling. Here is my website www.ebbyweyime.com
What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?
Community - 1+ communities within 1 country
Experience in Implementation Country(ies)
Yes, for more than one year.
Expertise in Sector
Yes, for less than a year.
What is your organizational status?
Registered for-profit company, including social enterprises.
What is the maturity of your innovation?
Early Stage Innovation: exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.
Instagram: The Grace Cup