Women and girls
In Sub-Saharan Africa, one out of ten* girls do not go to school when they have their period, because of shame and discrimination. In Uganda, menstruation continues to be a taboo topic. For nearly ten years, the nonprofit BanaPads has been involved in setting up mini-factories in remote communities where girls and women make eco-friendly sanitary pads from banana tree fibers. They then sell the finished products in their villages, while also promoting health and hygiene education.
BanaPads is one of the winners of the 2021 International Prize awarded by Fondation la France s’engage (FFE), which supports the development of innovative initiatives championed by players from the social economy. TotalEnergies Foundation was the first private stakeholder to get behind the FFE program when it was launched by the French government in 2014.
The BanaPads initiative allows girls to return to the classroom without fear and embarrassment and offers women training opportunities in production and sales techniques as well as entrepreneurship so they can create their own business and gain a measure of financial independence.
* UNESCO, 2014.