Projects Women Related Happenings

DARE Womens Foundation,Tanzania: Reusable Sanitary Pads

In June 2019 I had an opportunity to make a visit to the DARE Womens Foundation based in Arusha, Tanzania.
After photographing with the ladies I spent a time learning about the reusable sanitary towels they are also making at other workshops. This post is dedicated to this part of the NGO’s work.

Above and below you can see two different patents for the pads which are partly made from highly absorbent off-cut fabrics (an up cycling initiative) imported by another NGO to Tanzania for this use.

Their website includes patterns for machine and hand sewing the pads as well as templates for cutting the patterns.

They were still working on design and patent; there were a few different versions available for me to see. Below is one ‘pack’ that was available and which was made up of 7 washable and exchangeable cotton/microfibre cloths which slip into the main ‘holder’ (top left) which is then clipped to underwear. They include a diagrammatical info sheet for their user which included cleaning and discreet drying advice as well as soap bars in each sanitary pack.

Ive taken this directly from the DARE website:

Many Tanzanian women, especially in rural areas, do not have access to feminine hygiene products because stores are far away and it is expensive to afford them each month. They use old cloth and cornhusks instead, which can cause fungal infections and embarrassing leaks and odors. This creates a barrier to their work and education because many girls skip school and work during menstruation.

The Dare Women’s Foundation is training women to make reusable pads. A core group of women will start their own small businesses making and selling pads. Reusable pads are cheaper than disposable pads, last up to a year, are environmentally friendly, and eliminate the need to go to a store each month. See  our sewing pattern and instruction manual to learn how to make your own reusable pads!

I was so impressed that this initiative also encouraged women to make their own, both with instructions for machine making and hand stitching, making this important product another step forward in accessibility.

From their About Us page:

The Dare Women’s Foundation is an NGO working to empower Tanzanian women and girls, with a focus on rural areas, through poverty alleviation, social justice, economic empowerment, and gender equality.

Many of the women we work with have endured tragedies such as rape, discrimination, domestic violence. Most all of them deal with lack of feminine hygiene care, little nutrition and conservation education, young marriage, and large family size due to lack of contraception and sex education.

​By bringing these women together, educating them about their rights, giving them a voice, and supporting them in their endeavors, the Dare Women’s Foundation is changing Tanzania one woman at a time. When you educate a girl, you educate a community.

Below: Each set of pads, soap & instructions etc. comes in its own handmade textile bag for discretion.

The below comes from the website as well.