Sanitary napkins are not considered essential items in poor households. Women living in Indian villages and slums have unhygienic methods of dealing with their menses, often using dirty rags or nothing at all. There is a strong correlation between unsafe menstrual practices and pelvic diseases. A recent study in Rajasthan found the prevalence of reproductive tract infections to be three-times higher amongst adolescent girls with unsafe menstrual practices. Along with the health risks, the shame associated with reproductive health problems make it a taboo subject, even amongst women, as exposure would cause great social hardship and indignity.

Objectives: 

To improve the reproductive of health of women living in villages and slums in India by providing them with an affordable, clean and easy-to-use sanitary napkins made of recycled clothes.

Rationale: 
Sanitary napkins are not considered essential items in poor households. Women living in Indian villages and slums have unhygienic methods of dealing with their menses, often using dirty rags or nothing at all. There is a strong correlation between unsafe menstrual practices and pelvic diseases. A recent study in Rajasthan found the prevalence of reproductive tract infections to be three-times higher amongst adolescent girls with unsafe menstrual practices. Along with the health risks, the shame associated with reproductive health problems make it a taboo subject, even amongst women, as exposure would cause great social hardship and indignity.
Innovation / Expected Results: 

This project has developed an affordable biodegradable sanitary napkin from recycled clothes donated by women in urban areas. The use of cotton cloth, material most women are familiar and comfortable with, coupled with the reuse possibilities makes it an attractive option. Distributed to women in villages throughout India, these sanitary napkins are packaged with information on how to use and reuse, best washing and drying practices and other hygiene-related issues. The clean cloth napkins are an entry point to generate more awareness on the related health and hygiene issues both for the rural end-users and the urban clothes donors. In two years, this project will have reached 170,000 women in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Kashmir, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bengal.