Tanzania’s WomenChoice Industries, a manufacturer and distributor of low-cost, affordable menstrual hygiene management (MHM) reusable sanitary towels has raised $200,000 from Gray Matters Capital sector agnostic gender portfolio – coLABS.
WomenChoice industries funding of US$ 200,000 is aimed at helping WomenChoice Industries reach out to 500,000 women and girls from low-resource settings, to use its reusable sanitary towels by December 2022. This will entail the funding amount to be used for ramping up its production capacity, recruiting and training of vendors and sales & distribution agents.
Prior to this funding, WomenChoice Industries received a grant of US$ 1,000 from the Pollination Fund; a soft loan investment of US$ 11,500 from the Tanzania Post Bank (TPB) and a total of US$ 5,000 from Rock Flower Inc. of USA.
“Young women and girls aged 9-24 in schools and colleges in Tanzania from low-income families earning less than US$ 1.5 a day, face a myriad of menstrual hygiene management health challenges ranging from lack of information to lack of access to products and services”, said Lucy Achieng’ Odiwa, Co-founder and CEO, WomenChoice Industries.
Priced at $2.2, the ‘Salama pad’ reusable sanitary towels come in a pack of five affordably priced at US$ 2.2 as compared to one-time use, disposable sanitary towels, are an innovative solution to these problems.
WomenChoice Industries recruits socially disadvantaged and vulnerable young women such as teenage mothers, commercial sex workers, people living with HIV/AIDS and widows from local communities as vendors and sales agents empowering them with MHM models along with business and financial management skills. These recruits are sourced through partners and stakeholders such as NGOs, Community based Organizations, women and youth groups, the local community village and wards leadership and the local government authorities.
NGO partners such as Services Health and Development for People Living with HIV/AIDS, and Community Volunteers Services Tanzania have been consistently supporting its program through organised recruitment, access to quality MHM information, products distribution and advocacy work.
WomenChoice Industries also partners with schools, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities and transport hubs for setting up distribution kiosks.
Jennifer Soltis, Portfolio Manager, Gray Matters Capital coLABS, said, “With the coLABS funding, I’m confident that this enterprise will amplify impact both from an employment and end-user benefit standpoint.”
The funding of WomenChoice Industries marks coLABS’ first investment in Tanzania and its sixth portfolio company to be added from Africa following Rwanda’s ARED, Ghana’s Redbird Health Tech, Nigeria’s Sonocare and Kenya’s Taimba and Farmshine.