For the interest of teenage African girls from poor homes, Kenyan entrepreneur, Barclay Paul Okari invented the reusable sanitary towels known as Safi Pads.
Safi Pads, are made from cotton and other locally-available materials. It can be used washed and reused.
Okari made the essential feminine product to be affordable. He made it half the price of other commercial sanitary towels in the Kenyan market.
In Forbes’ description, Safi Pads, is an inexpensive, reusable, washable sanitary towel for low-income women.
The pads were produced primarily for the good of teenage girls in remote parts of Western Kenya, Eastern Uganda and Southern Sudan.
Okari was inspired to take this line of creation as a result of his undergraduate working experience.
In his undergraduate days at the University of Nairobi in 2011, the thoughtful Safi Pad producer volunteered to teach secondary school students in order to “boost his resume and improve his future job prospects”.
While teaching at a Girls’ High School, Okari discovered that most of the students missed classes on their menstruating days.
Narok, is a small remote town in south-western Kenya. The students in this area have a hard time purchasing the regular sanitary pads manufactured by big companies.
“I then wondered why there were no affordable pads in the market for this kind of population. Then the idea hit me that I could fill in that gap.”
The young man took it upon himself to remedy the plight of these young girls. Okari kicked off the Safi Pad project with a $1,500 loan from his parents.
“I developed a technology of an absorbent patch which patched with cotton is very comfortable for the ladies to use and can be washed.”
“The pads are therefore washable after use and that helps them go on with their daily activities normally and helps save their hard earned money.”
His plan was to come up with a long lasting yet commercially affordable sanitary pad for girls and women in rural areas. Okari sells the pad kits through his company, Impact Africa Industries.
In his 2014 interview with Forbes, Okari said Impact Africa Industries was the 3rd company he ever started.
He says the company which is situated in Kitale in Western Kenya, has created over 30 job opportunities for the people. It has sold and distributed over 1 million of these pads to low-income women across rural Kenya and Uganda.
“I have a team of 34 members. 23 are full time employees while 11 are part time. I have 22 women in the team.”
“I believe that in empowering women with opportunities, I am empowering the community that we work in. I have seen this in the transformation in the lives of the families of the women that work with us.”
For the basic humanitarian essence of the Safi Pads, international non-profit organizations have supported the initiative with $18,000. As at 2014, he says the company has a revenue of $ 300,000.
Barclay Paul Okari was a finalist for the 2013 Anzisha Prize