Teenage girls in communities in Uganda have suffered a big challenge over time with lack of affordable sanitary wear that lead to difficulties as they go through their menstruation. This affects the teenage girls to a big extent that many find it hard to attend school or even other social engagements because their esteem is lowered. It’s against this background that one Nobert Twizire a finalist student at St.Lawrence University in Kampala; got inspired to find an affordable solution by making sanitary pads from readily and locally available materials.
He has branded his unique pads with the name “Back-to-life Pads” inspired by his desire to have the teenage girls live a normal life without the disruption of having unhygienic Menstruation periods.
While show-casing his innovation (Back-to-life Pads) at the Parliamentary Science, Technology and Innovation week in Kampala, he said his products are made from locally available materials like Cotton Cloth, Polythene papers, cotton wool and waste papers. “
During my senior six vacation, I got a teaching part time job in a primary school when I noticed that most female pupils could go absent from school during menstruation as a result of lack of sanitary pads. That is how I came up with an easier way of making affordable, home-made pads”. Says Nobert. He shares his sentiments while the exhibition that took place from 10-14th December 2018 at the Ugandan Parliamentary grounds in Kampala, Back-to-Life-Pads emerged the second best exhibitor after Kiira EV a Uganda born Auto maker.
With support from St.Lawrence University, he has exhibited his innovation previously at the CBS-PEWOSA annual exhibitions in 2017 and 2018. Using different platforms, Nobert has had the opportunity to pass over the skill to other people who get the same inspiration with great hope that the product can be widely adopted and made available to the targeted users in most Ugandan communities.
He has conducted training of other colleagues on how to process the cotton-like substance. “we are in the second year of running this project, we have not yet started packaging to the market at commercial level but we have worked with a number of women groups and non-government organizations who hire us” he says.
The Ultimate goal
“Some of my future plans is to see the project grow into a multi-million business and expanding into making diapers, we have a long way to go but we shall succeed” he said.
Some of the challenges he faces in growing his business are limited finances hindering him from producing at commercial level. He also faces a challenge of lack of appropriate technology to produce the product in bulk, competition, lack of a permanent business premise and legalization of the business venture. He has interfaced with prominent persons like the Vice President H.E Edward Ssekandi, the Buganda kingdom premier; Charles Peter Mayiga and the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga. He hopes that through rigorous networking efforts, his project will receive a boost.