K De Igratium International Limited (KDII Ltd) addresses menstrual health challenges by supplying reusable sanitary towels that can be used for up to one year; this reduces the cost in low-income areas.
The company addresses waste management challenges caused by disposable pads with the core intent of ensuring that girls and women stay hygienic even during menstruation. These products improve the public health of girls and women since they are safe, easy to use and affordable.
Through the KKCF funding, the company is scaling up its operations into Kakuma-Kalobeyei with the establishment of a production and distribution centers in the area. This expansion will create direct employment for the host and refugee community at the production and distribution facilities. Additionally, the company will support at least 8000 households within the camp, town, and villages to access the re-usable pads with the ripple effect of helping them save their income noting that disposable pads are quite expensive.
What attracted you to the Kakuma/Kalobeyei area? Why did you choose to apply for the KKCF funding?
I came to learn about the business environment as well as the unique community needs in Kakuma/Kalobeyei during a previous visit. Kakuma/Kalobeyei hosts a large refugee population as well as the local Turkana community, who are in dire need of sustainable menstrual health management (MHM) solutions for women and girls.
I applied for the KKCF funding to start a production facility for reusable menstrual pads and to create opportunities for economic empowerment through employment and business opportunities.
What do you look forward to doing in Kakuma/Kalobeyei? How do you see your business growing in the next 5 years? What challenges have you had to overcome?
We seek to provide sustainable solutions for menstrual hygiene with safe and comfortable reusable pads along with MHM education for women and girls in Kakuma/Kalobeyei. The KDII pads will be produced in Kakuma by women from both the refugee and host communities. In the next five years, we intend to reach 20,000 households and establish KDII as a positive contributor to the economic growth of Kakuma/Kalobeyei.
We must overcome the challenge of social stigma associated with menstrual health solutions. The high logistical costs and power unreliability are also some of the key challenges to be tackled.
What are the foreseeable impacts in the Kakuma and Kalobeyei area following your interventions?
Stigma around menstruation – Education and marketing awareness work together to eliminate stigma by enhancing women’s productivity and girl-child education.
Community inclusivity – KDII will be identified as a local economic empowerment project as a result of generating employment in both the refugee and host communities.
Accessibility to safe menstrual products will increase the economic productivity of women and girls by allowing women to work effectively even during their menstrual period, while girls will attend school without unnecessary interruptions. Employment opportunities for women at the production facility will facilitate economic empowerment. Due to the simplicity of the operation of the KRPP project, KDII will employ mostly women and youth (80%). Since the work does not require high skill, KDII will conduct training to empower youth to sell reusable pads, as well as encouraging them to work in the SMEs and local distribution networks.
With the girls and women using KDII reusable pads, there will be a reduction in the excessive disposal of non-biodegradable single-use pads, either in toilets or in waste pits. In one menstrual cycle, a girl or woman can use up to 16 disposable pads. In one year, this translates into nearly 180 pads, yet the count can be sustained at just 5 reusable pads in an entire year.
What advice would you give other SMEs in fragile/difficult situations, with refugees and their host communities?
I would tell other SMEs that feasible business opportunities abound, even in the most difficult business environment, like Kakuma/Kalobeyei. One can still carry out profitable business while providing sustainable impact for the community.