Transformation Textiles: Secure & Comfortable FHP Solutions for Global Impact | Skillshare Projects

Rachel Starkey

FHP Solutions - Disruptive Global Impact for Girls



Transformation Textiles: Secure & Comfortable FHP Solutions for Global Impact

Imagine ... What would you do if you didn't have a single pair of underwear? ... Can you imagine having to go to work or school without a single pair of underwear ... Everyday ... EVERYDAY OF THE MONTH? EEW. What would you do? How would you manage?

Unfortunately for 80% of Females in East Africa, they don't have to imagine, this is their reality. With rapidly growing population (43 percent under 15), a cash-based economy (82 percent living on less than $2/day), this leads to girls being unable to afford products needed to manage their periods comfortably and hygienically – causing them to stay home those days of the month rather than risk embarrassment and therefore drop farther behind in their academics

As a result girls can miss over 6 weeks of school each year, leading to girls dropping out of school at twice the rate of boys, starting at puberty and getting married and/or pregnant while still children.

The impact that Transformation Textiles (TT) wishes to create is for “Last Mile” girls and women at the base of the pyramid to have dignified freedom of movement and activity during menses allowing them to achieve their dreams.

The Critical behavior change TT seeks to be apart of is that  girls and women utilize Feminine Hygiene Protection (FHP) solutions in safe and effective manner within their economic means.

Our TT outlined behavior map involves 8 critical behaviors to achive this:

1. Utilize textile off-cuts in mass production of FHP to keep raw cost insanely low.

2. Form strategic distribution HUB points with capacity to receive full container loads of TT’s FHP solutions.

3. Extensive Distribution Networks accessed.

4. Pro-Poor Marketing Schemes supported.

5. Girls and women hear about TT - FHP solutions (Hybrid &/or reusable)

6. Girls and women purchase or receive TT – FHP solutions

7. Girls and women properly use TT – FHP solutions

8. Girls and women are free to go to school, work or other activities with the same dignity and freedom as the days when they are not menstruating.

The more detailed Behavior Map with Specific TT Interventions:

1. Utilize textile off-cuts in mass production of FHP to keep raw cost insanely low.

  • Identify factory owners or major brands that have appropriate waste.
  • Convince owners or brands to incorporate the TT production into their CAD system of expected “off-cut waste”, instead producing TT “Cut pieces”
  • Buy TT “Cut pieces” at waste market rates or receive “Gift-in-Kind” tax receipts for the value
  • Set up required “non-profit 501c3” organizations in Canada & USA.
  • Provide Social responsibility marketing to textile companies.
  • Maintain production planning /anticipated yields from upcoming season.
  • Set-up stream-lined mass production line of TT FHP products.

2. Form strategic distribution HUB points with capacity to receive full container loads of TT’s FHP solutions.

  • Set-up TT warehousing in key access sea-port cities or main distribution centers (i.e. Kenya – Mombasa, Ethiopia – Addis Ababa).
  • Key Country distributors may trade services of warehousing for additional TT – FHP product discounts.

3. Extensive Distribution Networks accessed. HELP … THIS IS WHERE IT HURTS!

  • Place product into existing “Last Mile” health delivery services, health offices, Ministry of Education “pro-girl policy” FHP programs.
  • Identify key rural health providers (natural healers, midwives, village health volunteers) and offer Pro-poor Marketing schemes. (HELP NEEDED HERE)
  • Sell to charitable organizations who have existing FHP programs.
  • Establish central warehousing and offer extended payment terms to distributors and/or wholesalers.

4. Pro-Poor Marketing Schemes supported. HELP … THIS IS WHERE IT HURTS!

  • Develop sustainable sales/marketing orientation and education to wholesalers.
  • Provide tools to help wholesalers to educate end-users/consumers.
  • Provide easier “buy-in friendly” ‘units of purchase,  to assist trial and re-purchase of additional product for end-user/consumer.
  • Pitch to Pro-girl Government schemes.
  • Work with key Ministry of Education personnel to instruct school administrators on how FHP solutions reduce girl absenteeism by 75%.

5. Girls and women hear about TT - FHP solutions (Hybrid disposable &/or reusable).

  • Social Media campaign via mobile texting.
  • Provide Natural Village health leaders (i.e. Living Goods type) with sample TT – FHP products, who already go door to door, to help raise awareness of the now affordable and accessible TT - FHP solutions.

6. Girls and women purchase or receive TT – FHP solutions.

  • Manufacturing and packaging at affordable “buy-in” modular units of purchase.
  • Leverage some product trials – providing income generating promotions for schools, health offices or natural village health leaders
  • Free product with attendance to ‘empowerment classes’ (motivational personal seminars – in partnership with Center for Creative Leadership)

7. Girls and women properly use TT – FHP.

  • Provide pictorial instructions on how to wear and wash.
  • Coordinate “Train the Trainer” workshop sessions, so that essential health and product information is disseminated to end-user in an engaging and culturally relevant manner.
  • Generate mobile ‘text-able’  health and product use instructions.
  • Create regional website where further information and education of use, care and wear, with ties into effective health teaching on menstruation.

8. Girls and women are free to go to school, work or other activities with the same dignity and freedom as the days they are not menstruating.

  • Share inspiring testimonials of how the new found freedom has helped those in target market via mobile text or other relevant media.

Our Current Self Analysis of "Where it Really Hurts" and where we need help:

  • We need advice on creating the right kind of business/organizational structures at strategic HUB points (i.e. Kenya, Ethiopia, Western countries).  We suffer from entity confusion as we are trying to strike the balance between sometimes needed subsidized sales vs. regular sales. We don’t want to be reliant on a donation model, yet recognize that certain national and international NGO’s already have existing powerful and enormously effective networks within our target group, yet they are also extremely stretched with their limited resources.  In some places immediate, large and lasting impact could be made amongst the most vulnerable of our target group if subsidized product or ridiculously long payment terms were offered. An urban & western sales strategy can help support these “Last Mile” targets by generating significant larger profit margins with higher-end FHP branded products, sustainably helping to subsidize the most basic FHP solutions for the most vulnerable.
  • We need help identifying the most effective distribution channels, product placement and methods for point of purchase/delivery.  Our stiffest competitor is: NOTHING – the extreme lack of resources, accessibility and knowledge amongst our target group. We need help to engage the natural health delivery systems, offices and practitioners. Factors we are considering: 
  • Standardized, culturally acceptable/relevant health education on menstruation and proper use of FHP products (either disposable or reusable) – this is a great challenge to overcome taboos, myths, fear or embarrassment.
  • It is difficult to “prime the pump” of massive FHP product availability as wholesalers and end-consumers have low ability to pay upfront for their existing demand and/or needs.
  • How do we best offer “after sales” service and support to distributors and wholesalers?
  • We need firm measurability and evaluative feed-back channels as to our target market’s receptivity, acceptance and ease of use with TT – FHP solutions.
  • We need the finances to enact the distribution, sales and marketing plans. In order to reach the economics of scale needed to keep costs at their lowest, production has to be geared up and continued with shipments of Full Container Loads. Incurred production costs need to be paid before shipping, while extended payment terms are needed to open new market beachheads. It would also be extremely useful to receive feedback and confirmation of the financial models allowing for all layers necessary to sustain a healthy sales plan within an emerging economies.

To Celebrate our Journey to this point, here are links to the ground we have covered in 2013:

Making Waste into Opportunity: (2:01 min length)

Overview of the great opportunity to strategically use existing markers to 'up cycle at a higher level'

Transformation Textiles: - A Classic Slide show: (3 min length)

A fun “behind the scenes” collection of photos shot of the Transformation Textiles Team while manufacturing the pilot run for ZanaAfrica. Also photos of our Malawi strategic partner are included . TT offered consulting services to the Malawi NGO in 2012, and just sent them a 20’contianer of 10,000 kits on Dec 30, 2013. 75% of the shipment’s costs TT fundraised – the remaining 25% was purchased. Not sustainable or scaleable but a great point for gathering information and testing products.

 Zana Africa’s Facebook Post on the Pending TT’s Kenya Pilot:

Transformation Textiles: How Many Pairs?: (3:25 min length)

Fall  2013 Fundraising Promo Video to jumpstart funding for 2014 projects.

All other related to Transformation Textiles:


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