Ugandan Scientist Makes Sanitary Pads Out of Banana Fibre

9416 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
According to UN-children’s agency-UNICEF, one in every ten girls in rural African schools do not attend classes during their menstrual period. In some cases, some never return to school, after embarrassing incidents during their menstrual period.

A Ugandan scientist is pioneering the making of sanitary pads from hand-processed banana fibre.
 
Godfrey Atuheire, an Industrial Scientist who has been developing the technology of hand-made paper and fibre processing, has expanded his research into banana-fibre sanitary pads.
 
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Atuheire says that his target market is teenage school girls in rural areas, who find the industry-manufactured sanitary pads on the Ugandan market quite expensive. These pads sell for between 2000 and 3000 Uganda Shillings, but he says he will sell his at 1000 shillings, for a pack of 10 pieces.
 
According to UN-children’s agency-UNICEF, one in every ten girls in rural African schools do not attend classes during their menstrual period. In some cases, some never return to school, after embarrassing incidents during their menstrual period.
 
Research done by Build Africa, an NGO working in Uganda showed that averagely 29.7%, of Ugandan school girls miss at least 4 of the 80 days allocated to a school term, during their menstrual cycle, due to lack of sanitary pads.
 
Atuheire is incubating his innovations at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute (UIRI), and he says that the pads technology has already been tested and approved by Uganda National Bureau of Standards.
 
Atuheire says that his long term plan is to share the technology, to make it possible for school girls to start projects where they can make their own pads during their extra-curricular time.
 
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For a start, Atuheire has already published a book on the technology of hand-processing of paper and organic fibre, and plans to write another one on the sanitary pad technology. In 2010, he won the overall Young Achievers Award for his work in hand-made paper and fibre processing technology.
 
UNICEF is supporting Atuheire with funding for further research and developing the product to make it commercial.