Be Girl Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Product by Diana Sierra

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
Be Girl

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Product

INSPIRATION:
The lack of access to effective Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) solutions undermines all efforts to create sustainable improvements in human well-being globally. MHM solutions are central to gender equality; social and civil empowerment; and the realization of human rights. If the problem is so large, how is it that we don't hear about it more often? Many cultures have beliefs or myths relating to menstruation. Almost always, there are social norms or practices about managing menstruation and interacting with menstruating women and even discussing the issue. For the majority of women in the world, these traditions and rites have life defining repercussions. The aggregation of local taboos has given way to a deafening global silence about menstrual health, resulting in to one of humanity’s most persistent, urgent and basic problems, to remain unresolved in a comprehensive way. The development of the product took place during work with Millennium Promise in rural Uganda, as a response to the critical problems that girls and women in the community were facing from lack of access to menstrual management products. It was first prototyped with locally available materials: an umbrella and mosquito netting. The intent behind the technology is to provide a locally appropriate solution to menstrual hygiene management, as opposed to importing the existing disposable model that excludes the majority of those in lower income countries.

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Hybrid menstrual hygiene management product that allows the user to reuse the washable waterproof pad holder/pouch while giving the user the option to use any safe absorbent disposable or reusable accessible material. This flexibility allows the product to better adapt to water availability and give women the option to customize for convenience according to local resources. The design uniquely offers the convenience and leak-proof performance of disposable sanitary pads with the affordability of reusable pads.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The hybrid reusable and washable waterproof pad-holder/pouch can be attached to panties like a traditional sanitary pad, and can be filled with any available safe disposable or reusable absorbent material i.e. toilet paper, cotton wool, gauze or repurposed cloth.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in Uganda in 2011 and has been expanded to global reach and will continue into the future!

FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Social Design

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Pads are constructed by a simple layering and trim machine sewn binding, intended for ease of mass production and local manufacturing.

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Pads holders are L: 240mm Body: W:85mm Wings: W:165mm Height: 2mm Pad holders are made of high performance, extremely durable, 100% waterproof sports fabric guaranteeing leak protection. Soft cotton trim along the borders protects the user’s skin from irritation.Takes less than 60 minutes to dry indoors using less than 1.25 liters of water to wash.A two-pad holder kit can last up to 2 years with proper care.

TAGS:
Pads,

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
The Be Girl concept originated from observations during Be Girl’s Chief Designer’s work with Millennium Promise in rural Uganda, where a schoolteacher reported that 40% of her schoolgirls drop out due to the lack of viable sanitary pad options. In collaboration with Columbia University and Millennium Promise, Be Girl has conducted successful use pilots in 4 countries (Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania) with 200 girls in Millennium Village Project (MVP) sites. The responses and feedback of 150 girls who used the Kit for a period of up to a year where recorded to test, improve and validate the design features, performance, ergonomics and acceptability of the product.

CHALLENGE:
In many religions and cultures, menstruating women are considered impure or are associated with evil spirits and curses, which result in lifestyle and well-being limitations imposed on them. These beliefs severely limit women's social participation and often result in neglect, deprivation and even violence. Underlying the cycle of punitive attitudes that encumber women’s health is the absolute lack of sanitary facilities and limited access to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) products. This ultimately reinforces the stigmas when blood stains surface, and a natural biological cycle that could be easily managed in private becomes every girl’s and woman’s public nightmare. The tragic result is that the absence of MHM products is keeping millions of girls out of school for many days per school year out of fear of humiliation and retaliation. Designing to solve this problem faced significant barriers and enlisting educators and family members was key.

ADDED DATE:
2015-02-28 21:13:32

TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
Diana Sierra, CEO and Co-Founder; Pablo Freund, CFO and Co-Founder; Maria Paula Navia, Strategy and Victoria Spriggs, Design.

IMAGE CREDITS:
Images courtesy of Be Girl, Inc.

Visit the following page to learn more: http://www.begirl.org
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CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
Be Girl, Inc.

PROFILE:
Be Girl is a social enterprise focused on empowering women by design, dedicated to creating extremely affordable, aspirational and high performance products that support women and girls’ autonomy and generate opportunities to radically improve their quality of life.

NOMINATION DETAILS

Be Girl Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Product by Diana Sierra is a Nominee in Social Design Category.

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AWARD DETAILS

Be Girl Reusable Menstrual Hygiene Product by Diana Sierra is Winner in Social Design Category, 2014 - 2015.



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