Rebecca, not long ago, you stood on the Falling Walls stage in Berlin with your pitch Breaking the Wall of Period Poverty. Through connections made during your time in Berlin, you started working on a joint project with Joy Sambo from Sendai, Japan – we’d love to hear more!
Yes, exactly! Just a few months ago, I was pitching our project MUSA Social Venture in Berlin: We only had a rough prototype of a banana fibre-based sanitary pad in our hands but lots of enthusiasm. Now, we have a working prototype and met Joy and her fellow researchers at Hokkaido University, who have years-long research experience in the field of health, water, sanitation and hygiene, and are looking forward to starting our collaboration.
What is your joint project about?
Through the help of Joy and the research group she belongs to, we are joining forces to support our respective research and activities. Thanks to the help of a civil society organisation called Dziko Langa, we will be testing our innovative sanitary pads in their field study site near Lusaka, Zambia. This will allow us to validate our design throughout the entire lifecycle of the product. In turn, they will be conducting a 360-degree analysis of the impact of our innovation on the life of the community members. A sanitary pad may seem just an ordinary object, but it can actually revolutionise one’s life.
We are excited about taking this product out there, once per implementation and conducting our first trials, and hope to get feedback and continue to improve and make the best product that meets the needs of the schoolgirls and the communities they live in. As we launch this venture, we hope to solve menstrual challenges faced in Zambia, by producing a more sustainable and better product, which is easy to use, dispose of, and requires less water. With this project, we will be able to also provide menstrual education and a business opportunity for the community members.