In rural Kenya today 65% of women are unable to afford sanitary products. Consequently, school girls are being forced to dangerously engage in transactional sex with older men or are resorting to unhygienic alternatives such as cloth, leaves or even used nappies. In Homa Bay County, the HIV rate is at 25%, making such practices deadly.
Girls with a lack of income and lack of awareness surrounding menstruation often drop out of school limiting their chance for a safe, steady and happy livelihood.
Primarily Lilypads is dedicated to tackling the oppression, isolation and disadvantage of girls and women experienced in Kenya due to a lack of menstrual health education, an inherent stigma surrounding menstruation and a lack of accessible sanitary products.
Everyone deserves to reach their potential. Period.
The Lilypads project was born at the University of Edinburgh by 5 students who are dedicated to ending period poverty.
As a social enterprise we sell reusable sanitary pads to local communities in Homa Bay and provide empowering menstrual health education to school girls. The pads are produced in Nairobi enabling us keep the cost of the pads as low as possible. A pack of pads is enough to last 2 years and are thus 1/6th of the price of disposables on the market. Our pads are therefore accessible and provide a long term solution which is environmentally sustainable.
2 of our team recently returned from Kenya where began to implement our project on the ground. We trained our 12 amazing female sellers in enterprise training, providing them with a steady income and offering opportunities for external employment or personal development. We worked closely with the community, visiting and teaching in schools and leading focus groups and are continuing to develop our product to fit the specific needs of the women we sell to.
By providing the pads to local women and girls the need for transactional sex will be eliminated. The risk of health problems or early pregnancy will be reduced and they will be able to attend education or employment more frequently radically increasing their life prospects and providing them with a sense of empowerment and security.
Along with a solution we aim to challenge the myths, stigmas and misconceptions which surround menstruation.
Lilypads offers a simple solution to a monumental issue and we aim to ensure that no one feels isolated or endangered as a result of their period.