Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?
Be-Girl’s pilots have successfully deployed over 200 pad kits across 4 locations in Sub-Saharan Africa through Millennium Promise, providing ergonomic and safe menstrual flow protection to users who report over 95% satisfaction with the product. Be-Girl pads have boosted the confidence of the users and provided them unprecedented levels of autonomy and empowerment, demonstrated by the positive changes in attitudes towards menstruation. Users have also reported high satisfaction with increased privacy and discretion achieved through the leak-proof design and the rapid drying cycle of the reusable components. Moreover, the anti-fungal/microbial high-performance materials have also resulted in improved hygiene and user health. The environmental impacts are also encouraging¬ –throughout its 2-year useful life, every Be-Girl pad kit replaces 300 disposable pads and saves over 750 liters of water when compared to reusable pads in the market.
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Be-Girl pads will mostly face cultural barriers that exert pressure on gender issues, forcing important challenges such as access to menstrual hygiene products out of the public discourse. Be-Girl will also face financial constraints from manufacturing at volumes that permit it to reap economies of scale and pass on discounts to consumers. However, by selling a unique design and brand differentiated product at competitive prices, Be-Pad will create economic opportunities for distributors and women’s cooperatives, shifting the incentive to the market makers and consumer, thus by-passing cultural barriers and encouraging higher sales volumes.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
Although initially Be-Girl distribution will spread through sales partnerships, the design solution is applicable at a global scale. Currently under development is a toolkit that will enable local women cooperatives and other entrepreneurs to create local manufacturing facilities. Be-Girl will then be able to supply materials for production or deliver final product. This two-tier solution will allow the business to adapt to local conditions, support local economies and improve the environmental performance of the product while maintaining the cost low. Establishing the global brand is the lynchpin of the strategy. In addition, engaging local leaders, and providing multi-language print and online education tools will help sustain the product in the markets it reaches as well as expand to new ones. We aim to reach over 30,000 women in Jordan and Kenya in 2014, and hope to triple the impact by going global in 2015.