2023 is bringing many new things to AFRIpads!
A letter from our founders…
“We founded AFRIpads on the unwavering conviction that an experience as normal and natural as menstruation simply cannot stand as a barrier to achieving gender equality, nor to women and girls around the world realizing their full potential, every day of the month.
This is what we set out to change as young entrepreneurs in rural Uganda in 2008.
On this 15 year journey – together with our incredible team, investors, stakeholders and partners – we have grown AFRIpads from a pilot project; to a pioneer of the menstrual health movement and an early example of inclusive social business in Africa; to scaling AFRIpads into an award-winning social enterprise and the world’s leading manufacturer of reusable sanitary pads, creating life-changing impact for millions of women and girls across Africa and beyond.
Leading AFRIpads through this journey has been the greatest honor and privilege of our lives.
As we reflect on our collective impact, here are some of the things we are most proud of:
- AFRIpads has reached over 5 million women and girls across more than 40 countries worldwide with our AFRIpads Menstrual Kits, empowering them with life-changing protection and vital menstrual health education.
- Our focus has been on reaching schoolgirls who could not otherwise afford menstrual products on a monthly basis, and as a result may have stayed home from school. We estimate that girls across Africa have attended nearly 20 million additional school days due to receiving AFRIpads Menstrual Kits and having the comfort, protection and peace of mind they need to attend school.
- By providing a more eco-friendly, reusable menstrual product solution, AFRIpads has averted over 29 million kilos of waste of disposable sanitary pads that would have otherwise gone into local landfills or been improperly disposed of due to poor waste infrastructure.
- Our commitment to investing in rural manufacturing and job creation in Africa remains at the core of our social impact model. AFRIpads has created formal sector employment for hundreds of people, predominantly women from underserved communities, bringing them into the formal economy and empowering them with job security, financial independence, diverse employee benefits, and vocational training and skills development.
- Our global advocacy and technical work on national and regional menstrual product standards, period taxes and regulatory frameworks, menstrual health policies, and protection mandates in humanitarian contexts have resulted in vital contributions that are helping to shape a more supportive market and regulatory landscape for menstrual health progress that is inclusive, appropriate and enduring.
- AFRIpads’ work over the past 15 years has contributed meaningfully to at least 6 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – pertaining to health, education, gender equality, water and sanitation, economic growth and responsible consumption – doing our part to ensure the world is a more equitable place for all where menstruation is recognized as fundamental to health, wellbeing and opportunity.
- Above all, AFRIpads is a long-standing example of the power of an inclusive social business model. Our decade-long track record of profitability, social impact and environmental stewardship is proof that we can do good for people and the planet, while also doing good business. In today’s world where inequality gaps are ever-widening, this critical shift in ‘values’ is needed with more urgency than ever, and we hope that our model will help inspire a broader shift towards social business.
Every journey has its arc, and it is with tremendous pride in AFRIpads’ impact that we share our decision to transition out of our CEO and leadership roles at AFRIpads.
We are pleased to hand-over the leadership baton to Joris Boon as the new CEO of AFRIpads, and we have full confidence that Joris will lead the company through the next phase of growth and impact, and that AFRIpads will continue to be a leader and innovator in the menstrual health movement.
As we embark on a new chapter of our professional lives, we remain founders and investors in AFRIpads, and we will always advocate for a world where menstrual equity is accessible to all. On a personal note, we are excited to continue living in East Africa with our two daughters, and we look forward to putting our energy and experience into the dynamic social enterprise ecosystem that is thriving in this part of the world.
Finally, we want to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has participated in AFRIpads’s journey and supported us along the way. Building a social business in Africa, dismantling taboos and challenging social norms is not for the faint of heart and simply cannot be done alone. As we look to the future, we are proud of AFRIpads’ strong foundation, confident in AFRIpads’ new leadership, and certain that AFRIpads will continue to do groundbreaking work to create a world where menstrual equity exists for all.
Join us in welcoming Joris in his new role as the CEO of AFRIpads, and thank you for your continued support of AFRIpads in the exciting chapter ahead!”
With sincere gratitude,
Sophia and Paul Grinvalds