Improving the Lives of African Women One Pad at a Time

BanaPads Limited manufactures and sells low-cost, eco-friendly sanitary pads to help girls stay in school and to employ local village women, either in creating the pads or selling the pads.

For eight weeks during the summer of 2014, three fellows traveled to Uganda and Tanzania to work with the social enterprise BanaPads Limited. BanaPads manufactures low-cost, eco-friendly sanitary pads from banana psuedostems to help employ local women and help girls stay in school. BanaPads hires and trains local women microentrepreneurs called Champions to sell the sanitary pads in their villages.

During the summer of 2014, these fellows assessed the current scaling plan for BanaPads Limited. As a result, the fellows created health, sales, business operations, and data manuals to assist BanaPads in seeking more sustainable funding while scaling its impact.




Social Enterprise:

Kaci McCartan
Caroline de Bie  
Ty Van Herweg  
Faculty Research Mentors:
Dr. Jennifer Woolley
Dr. Laura Hauff
Dr. Teresia Mbari Hinga


Action Research Findings

The fellows accomplished a set of objectives in order to assist BanaPads Limited in scaling its impact. The first objective was to assess current health education materials and to create a Sales Training Manual with a health education emphasis. The second objective was to assess current data retrieval methods and needs, and to generate a proposal for an inventory management SMS app. The third objective was to understand business processes and develop a standardized Business Operations Manual for BanaPads Champions. The fellows completed all objectives, and provided Excel Data training and recommendations for the future success of BanaPads Limited.  

Sales Training Manual & Menstruation Management Workshop Manual
Caroline de Bie

After interviewing several customers and Champions, a Sales Training Manual was created to assist new Champions in learning how to best sell their products. The manual contains best practices and advice from successful Champions as well as testimonials from satisfied customers.

Before women are selected to be Champions, they attend two menstruation education sessions. This workshop manual outlines the second session, which outlines how a woman can manage her menstrual cycle and what support she may need from others.

Business Operations Manual
Ty Van Herweg

Research of business processes helped provide the necessary knowledge to generate a standardized operations manual. The manuals will be given to Champions once they have been trained, and will provide a reference for their ongoing entrepreneurial growth.

Champion Guiding Tool Data Processing Manual
Kaci McCartan

As part of their training, Champions conduct handwritten surveys in their community to break the silence about menstruation and also to gather information about the menstruation situations in the community before BanaPads begins selling pads. In order to get a better understanding of the data in the surveys, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets were created to process the data, and this manual explains how to use the spreadsheets.