To ensure menstrual hygiene, and save the environment, EcoVation Bangladesh started Project MyPad where we train underprivileged females on making cheap reusable napkins from garment scraps. It brings livelihood scopes, as well as ensures low-cost sanitary napkins to underprivileged females.
Approximately 95% of the menstruating females in Bangladesh do not use sanitary pads because they cannot afford them, leading to illnesses and increased absences from school or work. It causes vital diseases, even some end up dying. Also, single-use sanitary pads become an environmental hazard as it doesn’t degrade easily. To solve these problems, ensure menstrual hygiene, and save the environment, EcoVation Bangladesh started Project MyPad where we train underprivileged females on making cheap reusable napkins from garment scraps. It brings livelihood scopes, as well as ensures low-cost sanitary napkins to underprivileged females. Our project demonstrates a possible solution: a low-cost sanitary napkin made of garment waste. Low-cost sanitary napkins can drastically change the lives of women working in factories. The taboo around menstrual health is still as prevalent in the society of Bangladesh as it was for many years — despite the issue concerning half of the population.
These taboos emerge from an absence of proper awareness and management of menstrual hygiene, causing more complications to the already sensitive and painful occurrence. Educating girls and boys alike about puberty and menstrual health in a healthy open way as a natural part of their curriculum will be a game-changer in removing the stigma. Another part of Project MyPad is to raise awareness regarding the subject and put emphasis on practicing menstrual hygiene management. We organize sessions, community outreach, workshops at different educational institutions. And to remove the social taboos and create awareness, Project MyPad has trained and briefed at least a few thousand school-going girls in the last ten years about the management of menstrual issues. Also, we are planning to launch & operate a toll-free teleservice where any female can get free advice from professionals.
Project MyPad is enhancing the well-being and productivity of workers and playing a catalytic role in achieving at least 11 out of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Using garment waste for sanitary napkins is key to our model’s sustainability. The model has two components: production and distribution. Both components are managed by poor, working women. The key feature of the product is that it’s made by female workers, owned by female workers, and used by female workers. A successful pilot study in a small factory of 100 workers gave us the confidence to move further. In the next phase, a group of entrepreneurial-minded and enthusiastic workers (five to ten depending on the size of the firm) has been selected through an open competition in medium and large factories. We are in the process of partnering up with international organizations to develop thousands of micro-entrepreneurs and provide millions of reusable pads free-of-cost.
We are soon to install solar-powered sanitary pad vending machines in schools, colleges, universities and garment factories to ensure low-cost sanitary pads on-demand.