MakaPads are sanitary pads made from papyrus and paper waste. The naturally absorbent material has a high capacity (one pad can be used for 8 to 10 hours). Contrary to most other sanitary pads on the market, there is no additional absorption enhancement required. They are assembled with a moisture barrier and mesh covering and can be purchased with or without an adhesive.
The dried and pulverised papyrus fibres are processed into a thick paste with paper and water. This is dried in the sun, smoothed, pressed and cut to size into absorbent inserts with mechanically operated machines. The pads are sealed in packs of three and then exposed to ultra violet light to kill off all bacteria or germs. Because the sanitary napkins are made of natural material and do not contain any chemical additives, they are almost 100% biodegradable and do not cause any intolerances. The mostly manual production process needs very little electrical energy and can be generated via solar panels of total wattage 350 W. Subsequently, Makapads are produced with minimum carbon footprints
In the west of Uganda, the average income of the population is less than $1,25 dollar per day. A packet of normal sanitary pads costs twice as much – a luxury that only very few women can afford there. What applies for Uganda, applies to females in many other developing and emerging countries. Usually, women substitute sanitary pads with simple cloth rags, waste paper or banana leaves. Not only is this largely ineffective, the hygiene is also questionable. Such solutions constitute risks for women’s health. Due to a sense of shame, many young girls no longer go to school with the onset of puberty and women are no longer seen in public. The supply of disposable pads, e.g. by aid agencies, is a considerable cost factor and raises the problem of their disposal.
MakaPads protect women from health problems and discrimination and can help to reduce the high rate of early school leavers among girls. As the production of MakaPads does not require any special knowledge, they can be manufactured by people without training. This creates jobs for those who would otherwise have no chance of getting gainful employment. For example, Technology for Tomorrow Limited employs mainly women of a refugee camp in Uganda for the production of MakaPads and provides them with a source of income. Being produced from local materials, the producers are independent from imports or contributions to establish their own businesses. The use of natural raw materials ensures that no disposal problems arise. Alternative business models would also be conceivable, according to which smaller groups of women could manufacture and distribute MakaPads themselves. The concept is easily transferable.
Material: Papyrus, (waste) paper,
Characteristics: 100% biodegradable, chemical-free
Energy consumption: Solar panels (350 W), direct sunshine
Prize: 53 US cents per pack (10 pads)
Africa: Sierra Leone, Uganda
Organization: Technology for Tomorrow Limited - Uganda
Contact: Moses Musaazi
Used by: Sierra Leone, Uganda