OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more


Recent contributions


Contribution list

Recent comments

(3) View all

Hi guys,

I have an update that my team and I are working on. We want to take assembly of machine to young men and women in shanti areas that we will be working in. I thought it would be a good way for community inclusion and introducing income into the community. This will also provide us an opportunity to talk to the workers and provide other sexual reproductive products such as family planning methods and condoms.

Young women need more than 1 pad a day and may continue to face financial barriers to access everything they need. How might you address these challenge? Could machines sell low-cost packages as well?

The machine is not limited to one pad per swipe. We are able to sell pads in "unbundled packages" where with the same amount of money they get more pads. For example the cost of pads is 10KES ($0.1) in other urban areas. However, in the area we piloted we packaged 2 pads for 10KES ($0.1). The flexibility of the "bundle" will be determined by how much support we can get to subsidize the cost for the end user that we can meet our operation cost while still offering the sanitary pads at a price the girls can afford.


Thank you so much for the feedback. I will break down the questions so that it is easier for me to answer all of them.

What is education component you referenced?

It is a SRH program. We decided to provide education as we saw the girls did not have access to information and if they did it was not accurate. So our program covers menstrual health management, reproductive organs, Sex, the consequences of sex which includes pregnancy and child birth and relationships with boys.

Are you teaching about menstrual hygiene as well as about your product & machines? There is need for education around menstrual hygiene, but concerned about advertising a product to purchase as part of SRH education. This seems to be a short-term solution & that most young women would not use machines as the main way they get menstrual hygiene products. Is that a correct assumption?

We do not teach about the machine when conducting the SRH program. Prior to us seating with the girls we announce our installation at a school assembly this is our user education. Then 2 weeks after installation we come in to conduct SRH program. Currently, due to limited locations girls are still using conventional traditional outlets to get their sanitary pads. We assume with time and more locations it can start been considered a normal way of getting their sanitary pads.

Can you provide more details about how you maintain machines and services?

From experience we go check the machines every two weeks. When we are checking the machines we clean the machine and stock up and collect the coins in the machine. We talk to the attendants or the administration representative in charge of the girls to see if there were or are any issues with the machines. The coin based machines do not break down often due to their mechanical nature. We tend to experience issues with the coin acceptor when someone has inserted the coin and it has blocked. When that happens there is a number on the machine for the school or public facilities to call us. In this current model there is risk of the machine malfunctioning before our check in time. That is why in the cashless system we incorporated systems to mitigate this.

How do you ensure that you know when a machine needs to be refilled, needs fixing and how do you distribute cards and how do young girls top up their cards?

Based on lessons from the coin based machines. The cashless machines use a text based system where after every sale the machine communicates to the server and updates the number of pads. The machine holds 100 pieces and we have set the critical level at 40 pads left in the machine. Therefore, at 40 pads the machine will alert us that it needs to be filled. Similarly, if there is a problem with the machine it will communicate and alert us that there is a problem and even if there has been an attempt to vandalize.

The card based system is still under refinement but, there are two possible options. The first option is to partner with a telecommunication provider that has introduced a payment system similar to us. We would simply collaborate with school administration or the chief to allow us to have an assembly where we give out cards to the girls. Alternatively, we can do it by ourselves and have every single girl come to our stations at the public places such as clinics or public toilets for them to be registered. The second option we shall go about in a similar fashion to product activation.

The cashless machines are incorporated with Mpesa a mobile money platform where they can send their money to a number linked to our account and that will be picked up from our systems and allow her access to the machines again.

exactly in which bathrooms are you going to put these machines beyond schools? clinics? public bathrooms?

We want to put them up in public bathrooms, clinics and churches.