Higher Circle, a new California-based crowdfunding company that supports social entrepreneurs in emerging markets has launched a $18,000 loan campaign to help expand Impact Africa Industries (Safi Pads) and also help fix the school dropout problem among girls in Africa.
The loan aims to see AAI to see develop products that will help three out of ten female teenagers in rural Africa who miss up to five days of school each month due to their monthly cycle back in school.
Founded by Barclay Paul Okara, a 22-year-old entrepreneur from Kenya, Impact Africa Industries to solve this problem.
After spending time as a secondary school teacher, Barclay witnessed how the lives of girls were being negatively impacted by continued absences associated with their periods. Three years ago, he raised enough money to develop the first prototype of an affordable, sanitary, reusable, and stylish solution. Today, 80,000 “Safi Pads” are distributed each month through 500 schools in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Somalia. For his work, he was awarded the Anzisha Prize and he was recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa in 2014.
Impact Africa Industries is located in Kitale, a small town in Western Kenya. It has 23 employees, 15 of whom are women who assist in production and distribution of the sanitary pads. Barclay turned to Higher Circle seeking a loan to help him expand his business and thus improve the lives of thousands of young women across Eastern Africa. With $18,000 from this crowdfunding campaign, he will invest $15,000 in manufacturing equipment, $2,000 in materials, and $1,000 in employee capacity building.
The loan aims to help the firm increase its production capacity by 225% to 180,000 sanitary pads per month to be distributed through more than 1200 schools. Additionally, new jobs in manufacturing and distribution will be created. The demand for this product is high — not only for teenagers, but also for other women in the community faced with this issue. The crowdfunded loan will provide the necessary production materials and machinery to scale the operation, providing a bigger impact and a brighter future for women throughout East Africa. Higher Circle loan funders earn a return on their investments.