SANITARY PAD FOR KENYAN SCHOOL GIRLS
BY Paul Ndiho
Several African nations have taken steps to improve access to sanitary products for both women and girls. In Kenya, Sisters are using technology to make that a reality. They’ve created their own ATM dubbed Dial a Pad, which seeks to make pads accessible to every school-going girl in the country.
Kenyan sisters Faith and Linda Kimeu are making their mark in the innovation and tech space. Their award-winning automated tailored machine ATM – DAIL PAD that dispenses sanitary pad at a low cost is generating a buzz and hopes this innovation could be the game changer.
“Dial Pad utilizes both software and hardware technology to address menstrual health issues and sexual reproductive health.”
Faith says that Dial pad was born of a two-year interaction with poor schools faced with the dire situation and lack of menstrual hygiene education in different parts of the country.
“From our interactions we’ve seen that a lot of girls don’t have a crew from what is normal and not normal in matters partnering to sexual reproductive health and menstrual hygiene, there was completely luck of Knowledge.”
Kenyan government recently announced that it will begin distributing free sanitary pads to every one of the 4.2 million girls in its public schools.
“Our president signed the Bill of free Pad into law, so it’s in effect right now –The reason she is saying that we’re focusing on schools is for accountability purposes.”
Through the initiative, which is part of a program announced last June aimed at boosting girls’ access to education, the government has started handing out 140 million sanitary pads to schools.
Linda Kimeu explains how the AMT works
It prompts you to press the start button— Asks you which kind of Pad do you want, I choose normal and then, It tells you that each pad is ten shillings and how many pads do you want? Because I only put ten shillings, I choose one.” I pay ten shillings and wait for the pad that the dispenser.
A study done by ZanaAfrica, a Kenyan non-profit organization says nearly one million girls miss school because they lack access to menstrual hygiene supplies. Linda Kimeu, a co-founder of dial pad, says this technology is going to help millions of girls stay in schools.
“Normally girls miss schools because of periods, but now when we provide them with this, you will have to class, school because your periods are catered for…”
Faith and Linda have also successfully competed at different levels including the Lion’s Den challenge by KCB where they got Shs 500,000 that they used to create the App where their clients get to choose and buy sanitary napkins, cups or tampons using the mobile money payment system Mpesa