R&D Manager

Avatar of Sarah Sullivan


About AFRIpads

AFRIpads is a the world’s leading social enterprise manufacturing reusable sanitary pads. We are founded on the belief that if we can overcome menstrual barriers, we are one step closer to gender equality.  Our innovative menstrual health and hygiene solution drives life-changing impact through our reusable products, menstrual health education and an evidence-based approach.  Our core product – AFRIpads Reusable Menstrual Kits – provide women and girls with a sustainable, quality certified menstrual product solution that offers lasting protection, comfort and dignity.  AFRIpads has its head office in Kampala, Uganda and branch in Nairobi, Kenya. The AFRIpads factory is located in rural Southwestern Uganda, supported by our team of nearly 140 employees (over 80% female). AFRIpads products are exported to over 40 countries and have impacted the lives of more than 3.5 millions women and girls. To learn more please visit

Position Description

Are you a passionate leader looking for your next challenge in product innovation?  AFRIpads seeks a qualified R&D Manager, with strong experience in the product development of FMCG goods, to lead all aspects of product development in the company.  This role is a unique opportunity to work at the forefront of social enterprise and impact, by leveraging your product development expertise to manage and develop a portfolio of life-changing products for women and girls.  

The R&D Manager at AFRIpads is responsible for the AFRIpads product portfolio and for managing all aspects of the research and development department. Key responsibilities of the R&D Manager centre around improving our existing  products and developing and implementing new product designs through the complete product lifecycle, from market research to product development,  consumer testing and adherence to standards and safety requirements.  The product range at AFRIpads currently includes reusable sanitary pads, underwear, storage bags, washcloths and cloth backpacks. All products are manufactured in the AFRIpads factory in Masaka, Uganda and are sold both in local and export markets.

This key management role in AFRIpads reports directly to the Managing Director. The R&D Manager is responsible for two direct reports – the Consumer Researcher and the Product Developer.  We are seeking a candidate with excellent leadership qualities to manage and mentor the R&D team, and with the ambition and resilience to see product development through from inception to completion. This position requires occasional travel, including to the AFRIpads factory in Masaka and fieldwork where and as necessary.

If you are seeking a position at the nexus of product development and social impact, this is your opportunity to lead and shape the AFRIpads product portfolio and to enhance the lives of millions of menstruating women and girls across Africa, and beyond!

Key Responsibilities

Product Development management

  • Lead product strategy (all aspects, including strategic direction of product portfolio, product enhancements, and future products)
  • Assess feasibility and lead decisions on the enhancement of products and product offering (i.e. market analysis, cost price, manufacturability, user experience, etc.)
  • Lead R&D team in product development processes and consumer research activities
  • Establish and manage project goals, deadlines and priorities
  • Communicate and present product ideas to managing director and other stakeholders
  • Develop creative new packaging solutions for product
  • Conduct market analysis and assess viability for product developments
  • Lead team in the product design processes through brainstorm sessions and workshops to foster innovative design ideas
  • Responsible for developing the cost price of new products or product amends
  • Oversee product launches, collaborating closely with sales and marketing departments. Contribute to developing and document product USPs and key product information
  • Responsible for the handover of technical product information to the manufacturing and supply chain departments to ensure successful and smooth product launches and product enhancements 
  • Oversee the quality, safety, compliance of raw materials and finished products
  • Oversee product pilots and consumer research using human centred design approaches

Department Management

  • Manage the R&D team (i.e. performance management, training and development, HR, etc.)
  • Manage the R&D budget

Required Skills, Education and Expertise

  • Minimum 5-years experience working in Product Management, Product Development or Product Design processes 
  • Experience working in related industries such as manufacturing, textiles, apparel, FMCG goods
  • 2+ years management experience with direct reports. Excellent leadership and managerial competencies
  • Degree (preferably in Product, Manufacturing, Apparel or related field)
  • Outstanding written and verbal communications skills (English)
  • Creative and problem solving skills – able to conceptualise new products and create solutions
  • Strategic thinking, critical thinking and analytical mindset
  • Exceptional multitasking skills – superb in time management and meeting deadlines
  • High competency levels in Microsoft Office products and Google Suite
  • Solid business acumen and understanding of business and product strategy
  • Demonstrated experience in budget management

Desired Expertise

  • Entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative nature
  • Proactive and strong sense of self-initiative   
  • Experience with the design of packaging
  • Experience with market analysis or Human Centered Design (HCD)
  • Experience in manufacturing and textiles
  • Experience with conformity to product standards (i.e UNBS, ISO) 
  • Experience making technical packages or patterns 
  • Mid-level skills in Adobe Illustrator, including experience using illustrator to scale technical drawings
  • Detail oriented


AFRIpads (U) Ltd. is offering a compensation package commensurate with experience and a 2-year employment contract with the opportunity to transition to an open employment contract.

How to Apply

  • Suitably qualified candidates should submit their CV (max. 2-pages), cover letter (1-page), Portfolio (if applicable) to the undersigned no later than 11 March 2022
  • Submit your application by email to with the subject line: R&D Manager.
  • Note: Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted. In case you do not hear from AFRIpads, please consider your application unsuccessful.



Kampala, Uganda.

Start date

April 2022

Contract Period