On the 25th of March, AFRIpads celebrated that we improved the lives of 500,000 girls and women with our Menstrual Kits. When AFRIpads was founded in 2010, we set ourselves this ambitious goal to achieve by 2015 and only 3 months into the year, we already achieved it! Together with colleagues, partners and friends AFRIpads celebrated reaching this tremendous milestone, as we couldn’t have done it without them. During the party we also launched our new and improved Deluxe Menstrual Kit. This new all-in-one design with wings is 3x more absorbent, dries in only 2 hours and is especially designed for heavy flow. With this new product we feel comfortable that we will achieve the next milestone; reaching 1 million girls and women!
Happy new year! Thanks to all of our AFRIpads supporters, in 2014 we improved the lives of more than 206,000 girls and women in Uganda and around the world. It was a year of exponential growth for AFRIpads. We started 2014 with 65 employees and grew to nearly 150 full-time staff. This enabled us to increase production levels by 170% and we now have 4 production locations!
In 2015 2 of our big dreams will come true. Early 2015 we will hit our goal of reaching HALF A MILLION girls and women with our AFRIpads Menstrual Kits. And during the year we will build our very own factory, enabling us to move our manufacturing under one roof, to scale-up our production capacity, and to create even more village-based jobs. This is more than just our social impact, it is the realization of dreams we had years ago when AFRIpads was only a seed of an idea. On behalf of the AFRIpads team, enormous thanks to our community of supporters for helping make our dreams of empowering women come true!
We were very pleased and honored to be nominated in the first-ever Public Health Awards in Uganda! This award ceremony was organized to recognize outstanding businesses, organizations and individuals making contributions to ensure a healthy Ugandan population. The organizing committee received 922 submissions for a total of 14 categories, from which AFRIpads was selected as 1 of only 4 nominees in the Social Enterprise Category. While we did not take home the prize, it was an incredible honor to be selected as one of the nominees and be recognized for our efforts to improve the health of girls and women in Uganda!
In the week of September 15, we enjoyed a great visit by our partner Plan Netherlands. Together with Plan Australia, Plan Netherlands is funding a Menstrual Hygiene Management project that is implemented by Plan Uganda and AFRIpads. The goal of the project is to enable 100,000 rural women and adolescent girls to manage their menstruation effectively and hygienically in Tororo, Lira and Kamuli districts. We showed Plan our production facilities in and around Masaka, and visited our project in Tororo. We met with several AFRIpads dealers, who are sensitizing the communities around them about AFRIpads and MHM in general. We also spoke with school girls, who shared their experiences with us on how menstruation was affecting their life. A reporter of the Dutch magazine Viva joined Plan Netherlands during their visit, and the result is this really nice video. Some bits are in Dutch, but the majority is in English. It gives a nice impression of our work and our great partnership with Plan!!
AFRIpads participated in the first ever national conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) that took place 14-15 August in Kampala. Theme of the conference was ‘Break the silence on menstruation; Keep girls in school”. AFRIpads was part of the consortium of civil society organizations that organized the conference, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Education and Sports, Gender, Labour and Social Development, and the Ministry of Water and Environment. The conference brought together voices of civil society organization, government and the private sector, with an overall aim to ensure that girls will get all the support they need to complete school and reach their full potential. The fact that this conference took place shows the increasing acknowledgement of MHM as a vital issue in keeping girls in school, and at AFRIpads we are happy to see the commitment in Uganda to break the silence on menstruation!
Friday the 13th of June turned out to be our lucky day, as AFRIpads received a Tumaini Award!! AFRIpads was nominated in the Social Enterprise category and was announced as the winner during a special award gala dinner in Kampala, Uganda. The Tumaini Awards aim to recognize individuals, civil society organizations, companies and members of the media who have made significant contributions and efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda are recognized. The theme of this year was “A child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Uganda”. Read the full article about the event here.
AFRIpads was a participant in the first-ever AidEx Africa; a two-day high-profile conference that took place on June 5th-6th in Nairobi, Kenya. AidEx Africa is a satellite event to the already well-established AidEx conference and exhibition for humanitarian and development aid, held each year in Brussels. You can view the highlights of the conference in this short AidEx film. Stay tuned at the 4-minute mark for an interview with the AFRIpads team!
Wednesday, May28th was the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day!! As you can imagine, we were very happy that for the first time this day was internationally celebrated. We hope that it raised more awareness about the challenges so many girls and women in developing countries face when they are in their period. In Kampala there was a Menstrual Hygiene Day Advocacy Walk, and AFRIpads was of course one of the participants. We also ran a special Menstrual Hygiene Day promotion on our Facebook page on behalf of the AFRIpads Foundation, through which we will be able to donate 491 AFRIpads kits to schoolgirls in Uganda!
Over the last month, the AFRIpads sales representatives Carolyn, Christine, Phionah and Esther have been very busy with their ‘Back to School’ campaign. With the new AFRIpads van they have been travelling all over Uganda, together with their local sales teams, to raise awareness and of course to sell AFRIpads!