Sammaan - Access to self-dispensing sanitary napkins in slum
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
*The visual content above is for representational purpose and may not correspond to this project.
Mothers of kids who attend Samridhdhi School (Monnekolala) come from an uneducated background and live in slums as they usually work as rag pickers, laborers, housekeepers and maids. They feel embarrassed and are hesitant to go to the commonly known, manned and often crowded conventional outlets for sanitary napkins because of which they resort to using cloth, cotton and other unhygienic material during their periods which causes menstrual infections, including white discharge, itching, burning, swollen ovaries and frequent urination.
The goal of Project Sammaan is to install a sanitary pad vending machine at a school which is situated near the slum community. The mothers of the enrolled children often come there and this machine would provide the convenience of on-site vending without the need for stock storage. The school has tried to stock napkins, a move which was very well received by the women. This project is a step ahead in reducing the workload of in-house personnel. The machine is wall-mountable and will be fixed inside the toilet. The machine is produced by HLL Life Care and can be catered to specifications of the napkins of any brand, menstrual cups and condoms too. This lightweight distribution method is highly scalable and replicable. The machines are often paired with an education program about female hygiene.
The biggest impact would be that these women would get instant access to sanitary pads to combat menstrual emergencies, which happens to be a huge issue within the target group. They would also be rid of the shyness or embarrassment involved in going up to the local shops since they already happen to have a good rapport with the staff at the school. Once they get educated on the subject and start using menstrual pads for a hygienic lifestyle, these women can then spread the word among their family and kin. It would also help them improve their attendance rates at work. Every time INR 10 is inserted (as a note or as a combination of various coin denominations), a set of three high-quality napkins are dispensed. Initially the school staff and later representatives from the local community will manage procurement and stocking. The market cost of a set of three napkins (Happy Days, a HLL product) is also INR 10, which ensures that once installed, the process would sustain on its own. After successful pilot, the goal is to propose the model to other communities, spread the learning and make this a replicable intervention across the city and beyond.
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