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Restoring dignity to adolescent girls and young women in low income areas by providing affordable sanitary pads through ARI Dispensers

Distribution of single packed sanitary pads to school going and out of school adolescence girls and young women in slum areas in Nairobi.

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Tell us about your vision for this project: Share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years

Impact: By 2021, we aim to be in 50 schools in low income areas increasing access to sanitary pads to a minimum of 20,000 girls of menstruating age and 4,000 girls out of school and provide sexual reproductive education to a minimum of 40,000 girls and boys.

Who will implement this idea? Or what’s your strategy to implement in the next 6-18 months?

We will be the ones who shall be in charge of implementation. • The 6 staff members to refill they will be residents of the 6 locations we are working in. • 4 full time managerial staff. Currently they are on a volunteer basis. • We approach one school and use their network to grow. • For out of school locations we need to talk to the Chief or health workers • For private owned toilets we approach the owners to allow us to install. • We come in and take the girls and the boys through the SRH talks as a way of user education for the girls • With locations we introduce advertising space and distribution services to pad companies.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

We installed in two pilot areas, in a school and public toilet. The coin based machines do not accept all 10KES coins, That was a big pain point there. Another concern was that we might encourage theft. Therefore, we designed a cashless system where the girls can access using a card that the machine reads that would solve both problems. Lastly, anonymity in purchasing will make it difficult for us to track impact in out of school machines. We are currently working on this solution.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

The business development manager sits down with the administration of the place to find out the current situation and what they are expecting from the machine. We then install the machine and announce it to the school population. During our SRH classes we use that space to ask for feedback and suggestions for improvement on the service. The founder then uses this feedback to iterate the value proposition and mold the business idea better and share with the engineering team for future models.

How long have you been working on the project?


What year was your organization or group started?


How many full time staff are needed to implement your idea?


What most attracted you to the UNFPA Young People's Sexual and Reproductive Health Challenge?

The opportunity to work and learn from UNFPA was most desirable. I believe that there are points of synergy between the two organizations that can be exploited for mutual benefits. I believe there is an opportunity for the business to be more refined in the SRH space and fill knowledge and process gaps through the challenge. Also, the challenge allowed me to think about a different implementation of the business which challenged me to think about a broader scope of impact without limitations.

Share the URL for your Business Model Canvas Here

Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • Last Mile Sexual and Reproductive Health Commodities

What specific problem(s) are you trying to address? (300 character limit)

According to UN-habitat there are 6.4m people living in slums in Kenya. Roughly, 1.5m are adolescence girls. Access to sanitary pads is problematic. They are at risk of exploitation as they are left to fend for themselves. Sex favors for pads is not uncommon as they cannot afford to buy pads.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the problem(s) you are working to address? (500 character limit)

What can we do to reduce the risk of relying on fully donor funded distribution as market penetration strategy and move towards the end user paying for it? How can we to incorporate the community to feel that they have authorship and ownership of the initiative rather than an outsider coming to help mentality? How can we incorporate some of the community members in the distribution chain? How can we manage growth?

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

We are targeting adolescence girls in 6 slum areas in Nairobi. These are: Mukuru, Mathare, Baba Dogo, Kawangware, Kangemi and Kibera. These are girls between 10 (at times even 9) to 18 years old ideally in primary and secondary school. We are also targeting girls who have dropped out of school in the same age bracket. They do not get to benefit from the advantages of been in school such as been in the National sanitary pad program. We break down the cost of pads from the traditional packaging so that they are able to afford a pay as you go model. This will allow them to stop using unhygienic alternatives to sanitary pads. They will also have privacy. No one needs to know that they are menstruating as the machines will be put in the washrooms. Using KIbera's population of roughly 270,000 and roughly 10% of the population are our target (according to Nairobi Cross-sectional Slums Survey in 2012) within our age bracket then we can calculate reaching roughly a minimum of 27,00 girls.

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

The machines allow a girl to purchase what they want when they want. By simply inserting a 10 shilling coin ($0.1) and they get 1 pad. The machines are located in women's bathrooms so they do not have to struggle to use unhygienic alternatives. In our pilot area, Mukuru we learnt that that they would prefer a cheaper price for the pads. So for in areas like this we offer one pad at 5 shillings ($0.05). This ensures, safe, discreet and accessible purchase of sanitary pads.

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

Restoration and protection of girls dignity. Use of cloth, tissue, and pieces of mattress does a lot of damage on the girls' self confidence. They view it as curse to be a woman. We protect that by making sanitary pads more accessible by making it physically accessible. This is right where they are and financially accessible where it is no longer a luxury item. We ensure privacy. At this stage of their life they are self conscious and do not want everyone knowing that they are menstruating.

What's different about your idea compared to current solutions? (500 character limit)

Organizations give girls year long supply. Especially in schools. Apart from accountability issues where the organizations cannot tell if the pads have reached the girls. They leave out a the girl population who are not in school. Due to our solution's flexibility we ensure the pads get to the end user and we can install them in areas that will have a wider reach then just distribution in schools. We are also more consistent in our delivery systems,we monitor usage of the pads in our machine

What are the key reasons why end users would turn to your organization over another?

  • Convenience / Accessibility: Making products accessible

What would success look like for your end users? (500 character limit)

The menstrual related anxiety and stress is eradicated. They are able to continue been productive without the stress of using unhygienic alternatives. For the girls who have dropped out due to lack of sanitary pads they return to school. Rate of infection will go down as rate of usage of unhygienic alternative will go as well. They are assured that they can get a pad, anywhere, anytime. Furthermore, there is inclusion of girls out of school added into the conversation of access to sanitary pads.

How would you measure the impact your idea has on your end user(s) ? How will you measure the success of your program? (500 character limit)

Installation of 50 machines in 12 months in the 6 locations. Average sale of 4750 pads per month in these locations. Have 800 girls and boys go through our education program within the next academic year Number of absentees be reduced by 40% in the first year due to lack of pads Cases of non sexual infections due to use of unhygienic alternatives reduced by 100% in the schools we are in. Retention rate of information at 80% after 6 months after having classes Have 3 CSR initatives

What strategies will/are you testing to acquire end users? (300 character limit)

We want to incorporate county health workers in our distribution system to increase awareness of the service. In an area like Mathare each county health worker is in charge of 50 houses. If those houses has a household of 6 people half of them been women then they potentially have influence over 150

Key partnerships - Who will you partner with to make your idea work? (500 character limit)

Sanitary pad companies, telecommunication provider, public toilet owners, health facility owners, school administrators, Community health workers, Organizations doing WASH and SRH with adolescent girls and boys, Community chief, Government, Fabricators, Shipping agents when we ship things from abroad, Customs agents to allow us to legally bring our parts in, Manufacturers of electronic components and our engineers who design and iterate the machines.

What is your organization’s name? (150 character limit)

Inteco Kenya

Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

We are a limited health tech, social enterprise company that is seeking partnerships to expand and manage our impact in the 6 slums I had earlier mentioned. We have a team of young passionate individuals who believe lack of sanitary pads should not a topic of discussion. The founder studied business. The business development manager studied international relations and we have a program manager who has studied as a community health worker. Our operations manager has worked in a logistics company and gives great insight to the systems in which we need to implement. We have a big support system of engineers and marketers and advisors from across disciplines and backgrounds who offer an array of knowledge.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Women-led organization
  • Youth-led organization

Where will your idea be implemented? (200 character limit)

Initially in slums located in Nairobi,Kenya

What do you need to get started? (500 character limit)

$13,867 for 50 cashless machines and $20,600 operation costs for 12 months. A network with community workers and other organizations that are on the ground such as clinics and social workers who can help us get base line statistics. A telecommunication partner who can provide a cashless system on their platform to diversify payment options. A sanitary pad company to distribute through us and pay for that distribution service through revenue share and do product activation for them at a fee.

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • Community - one or a few communities within one country

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organization Location (200 character limit)

Nairobi, Kenya

What is your organizational status?

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Roll-out/Ready to Scale: I have completed a pilot and am ready or in the process of expanding.

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Attachments (3)

business canvas model.docx

Document version of the canvanizer template

Inteco's business profile (2).pdf

This shows briefly what we do with both Ari and Wazi the education program. Where we have set up the machines and the impact we have so far.


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Thank you for sharing the information, it is very valuable to me, I hope you will share more.

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