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Smart Bags4Girls

Bags4Girls are comprehensive menstrual hygiene kits and educational programming designed with and for girls in Uganda.

Photo of Jamila Mayanja

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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

By 2021 we aim to reach 25,000 girls with the smart bags directly in all parts of Uganda, 100,000 people indirectly and hopefully will have affected school and government policies when it comes to the improvement of menstrual health of a Uganda girls child.

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

Smart Girls Foundation is the main implement of this project although we have other programs but this idea will have 4 full time staff located in Kampala working to make sure its a success. We are also working with several partners that will help us in the success of this project like 256 Youth Platform who will be working to get what is necessary in the menstrual grooming kit, take a child to school Uganda,UMWCI and YALI Uganda to help reach the schools with girls in need of this product, women health foundation , while working to get reproductive health Uganda and reach hand Uganda to help us with the SHR information.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

It has been exciting to receive feedback, we are going to concentrate on designing a kit that can fit in the smart bags that we have made or taught the girls to make or given to girls that already have school bags. For the SRH information kit in the bag we want to add a small summary of contacts or directions to health centers in that particular area for future use for the girls when they need to. We will make use of the awareness sessions to sensitize the community about SRH rights of a girl.

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?

We are a small, flexible and creative team running a small organisation. We are adapting as we grow, our passion to create change for a vulnerable Ugandan girl helps us in quickly revisiting and always brainstorming our ideas and since human centered design involves the end user the feed back collected helps us work to support the needs of the girls. After gathering feedback we seat as a team to see any changes needed to our ideas.

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?

Because i am girl who has gone through challenges because of lack of SRH information this drove me to start a girls centered organization. While doing my work empowering and supporting girls i see how if girls had access to SRH information and a few products, how their lives would be changed and how the biggest challenges to them will be shade a way for a bright future. For example simply them knowing that as a girls its normal to fall in your periods and they are not supposed to be a burden.

Share the URL for your Business Model Canvas Here

Opportunity Areas – Select those that apply

  • mHealth
  • Last Mile Sexual and Reproductive Health Commodities

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

Girls 12 to 17 years in rural Uganda miss up to 8 days of study each school term because they are on their periods,NGOs have provided them with reusable sanitary towels but they still dont use them because they have no sense of confidence of carrying them and use them at school, they still stay home

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

How do we make sure a girl confidently stays in school during her menses? How do make sure a girl can assess simple sexual reproductive health information to help stay safe and a healthy?

Who are your end users? (1000 character limit)

Our direct end users are young girls between the ages of 12 to 17 years of age, we hope to reach 5000 girls in the central and eastern part of Uganda. These girls are the kind of girls who stay quite a distance from school hence they walk to school, the Smart bags will be made of cloth and will be in form of a back packer that will be easy for the girls to carry to and from school, between class to the washrooms to change up. The bags will be provided with in them 5 reusable sanitary towels, a menstrual cycle calendar and printed illustrative SRH information kit.

Explain your idea. (500 character limit)

My Idea is to provide these girls with a smart bag. This bag will be a back packer made our of cloth material, and within this bag will be a menstrual grooming kit and printed illustrative SRH information kit. After talking to over 100 girls in Iganga in partnership with 256 Youth Platform why they were still staying out of school despite 256 Youth having taught and given them reusable pads, they said they felt embarrassed carrying them to school and boys would bully them when they saw them.

What is your value proposition? (500 character limit)

The product ie the Smart Bag will be of very create convenience to the girls, because they will be able to carry it anywhere. They will be able to confidently carry there sanitary towels t school and even confidently go to the wash rooms to use them. The bags will also contain printed information that will help learn how to keep them selves clean through their menses and how to stay safe and have safe sex and so much more.

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

Most organizations addressing the same problem are only either just teaching the girls how to make sanitary towels or providing them with the sanitary towels. My idea gives a girl complete confidence to implement the ideas of the other organizations addressing the same problem. It will be successful because the bags are also the kind the kind that can be taught to the girls for them to make for them selves out of old clothes.

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

  • Design / Brand status: Value in using a brand

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

The biggest success for the girls using this product is the confidence and the happiness they will have carrying this bag from home to school with their necessities knowing that the boys wont bully them even during the day the convenience of carrying the backpacker to the wash rooms to be able to groom themselves without the shame the boys make them feel and the fact that they can use the bag for carrying other necessities.

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)

I will measure the success by the number of girls who will have that stay in school during their menses because of the Smart Bag, the number of young girls who will learn how their bodies work and how to keep safe from them the information provided in the Smart Bag.

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

I will use online, media(mostly community radios) and mostly word of mouth by the foot soldiers and mobilizers.

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

Am partnering with local organizations like 256 youth platform,Take a child to school Uganda, Yali Uganda and so man more, partner with a fashion house called lukwazi to further design the bag, a local media house called NBS Tv to show case the idea and Vodafone to provide me with low rate internet.

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

Smart Girls Foundation Uganda

Tell us more about you: (750 character limit)

I am called Jamila Mayanja a 2015 Mandela Washington fellow, a founder and team leader of Smart Girls Foundation Uganda. The not for profit company in partnership with other organizations,individuals and companies that will implement this idea. The team of Smart Girls Foundation Uganda in specific will devote their time to make sure this idea a reality, we are suited to implement this idea because we have been working and empowering girls for over 5 years now. we are now officially registered and have the passion to see that Ugandan girls are supported and empowered to be the next generation that will empower their communities.

Organizational Characteristics

  • Women-led organization
  • Youth-led organization

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

It will be implemented in Eastern and central Uganda.

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

We mostly need financial and technical resources to get started.

What is the current scale of your proposed innovation?

  • It is still in planning phase and does not exist yet.

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)

Smart Girls Foundation Uganda Plot 173/174 Makerere Kyadondo Road P. O. Box 6064, Kampala - Uganda. Tel. +256 - 774 - 2062819 (M/s Mayanja Jamila)

What is your organizational status?

  • We are a registered non-profit, charity, NGO, or community-based organization.

What is the maturity of your innovation?

  • Early Stage Innovation: I am exploring my innovation, refining, researching, and gathering inspiration.



Join the conversation:

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I love to read your article and get so much information through your blog and learn new thing about blogging,

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Hey Jamila Mayanja ,
Thank you for your answers to the experts' questions and comments. Hope you found them useful to refine your idea further. As the deadline to refinement phase is only 4 days away, we look forward to reading your refined idea afterwards. To this end, we highly encourage you to upload the completed business model canvas as a separate document. The template for the canvass is available in the following link:

Should you have any question regarding the canvass, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll make sure to respond to you timely.

Best regards,

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Hi Jamila and Team,

We’re excited to share feedback and questions with you from a set of experts that are supporting this Challenge.

We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve your idea, whether that’s refining it or adding more context. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process, but we recommend putting all critical information in the body of your contribution somewhere. It's ok if you don't have all the answers, we know you are tackling really hard problems and are also interested in how you are thinking about these challenges.

Experts were excited about:
One strength area is the recognition that educating girls and making sanitary pads available does not solve the issue on why girls do not come to school. 

Questions experts had:

Theory of Change and Human Centered Design
1) Can you expand on how this solution addresses the problem you’ve identified, ‘How do we make sure a girl confidently stays in school during her menses?’ 'The proposal correctly identifies that behavior change is difficult, and girls benefit from programs which consider the social realities and stigmas related to menstruation and sexual and reproductive heath. However, it's unclear how their approach directly responds to the identified problem-- for example, how will a Smart bag build the confidence of girls? Could they simply bring their own bags? If they can be trained to make them themselves (as articulated in one of your responses), then why do they need a Smart bag? And further, are there cultural differences between communities regarding menstruation? If so, how does this program address these?

Product and Services:
1) How will the organization provide this bags?
2) Will the sessions organized with the young girls to discuss what is in the bag?
3) How will you work with government and advocate for these products/services to be distributed? For example one expert shared an idea, “one way to address this is to make the product a kit that girls can easily put in their backpacks if they already have one. And then develop a business model on how to continue financially supporting the development of the kits.”

Business Model:
What is the scalability and sustainability of this approach? -ps this might have been asked pre-adding your Business model canvas

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit ( for inspiration on crafting strong and compelling stories. Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - the last day to make changes to your contribution on the OpenIDEO platform is December 10 at 5:00PM PST.

Have questions? Email us at

We look forward to reading more, and thank you for the important work that you are doing!

Photo of Esther Ndagire

Hi Jamila, congratulations on making it this far! To help you better refine your innovation, I have a few questions and notes;

1) I understand your organisation has been in existence for a while but the innovation is new, still please clarify on how long you have been working on the project - 4 months or 4 weeks?
2) Highlight the contents of the grooming kit and where you intend on acquiring your printed illustrative SRH information.
3) What are your thoughts on a business model? How will you leverage giving girls free back packs with resources while staying sustainable as a startup?
4) Am happy you are considering and are already talking to prospective local partners but how about stretching the scope to local pad makers (both reusable and cheaper ones) and organisations with certified youth friendly SRHR information.
Figuring out which specific resources are going into the bag will help you map out partners and that could be vital to your business model.

Photo of Jamila Mayanja

hi Esther thank you for the questions and notes. my organization has been in existence working on other empowerment and support projects for girls and its through that work that we found out about the need of our idea and we officially registered this year . we have been working on the project for 4 months.
The grooming kit will have mainly reusable pads,menstrual calender,user mannual and we are still debating with team weather to add the viginal test stick and under wear but we will find out during the testing of the product, we are partnering with a number of organizations to provided almost everything in the bag, even the SHR information.
Am working on the business model an will keep revisiting as we implement. We are working on a fundraising model to make sure 80% of the bags are free and then we will redesign one for sale and the money will be put back to cover for the ones that cant afford the price.
Most of all our partners are local non for profit organizations mostly the ones providing the reusable pads.
hope i was able to answer all your questions..let me finish up with y submission and congratulations to you, am sure after testing we can see how we can work out a partnership inshaALLAH.

Photo of Esther Ndagire

Jamila Mayanja Thank you for your response.

Photo of Esther Ndagire

Hi Jamila, great idea indeed! Maisha Package, a similar innovation from Tanzania would be good to collaborate with on what else could be put in the packs made for the girls and how the both of you could work together. Your ideas could even be jointly replicated across other East African countries as the problem is quite cross cutting. Please take a look at their idea;

Photo of Jamila Mayanja

Esther Ndagire thank you my dear i also love your idea, we could always partner and make a perfect package for girls

Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi Jamila, Thanks for your contribution! Important reminder, don't forget to have your Idea finalized, answer all the questions and published by November 5, 2017 at 5pm PST to be considered for the Challenge.

You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. We're looking forward to seeing your contribution in this challenge.