News of the project UZIMA !
We are so happy to inform you that the sanitary pads production unity is finally ready and this project can start to bear fruit very soon.
Installation of machines
What is UZIMA ?
UZIMA means LIFE in Swahili and is the name chosen by women of Mahama’s refugee camp for the sanitary pads. The project has been conceived in 2019 by women, with women for women refugees. The aim of this project is to give women refugees in any camp where the water is scarce, access to affordable and compostable sanitary pads of good quality. To summarize, the four main advantages of this project are:
- Health improvement. When women and adolescent refugees have their period, they use a piece of cloth often unclean for lack of water, which may cause vaginal infections, embarrassing stains in public and stigmatizing situations. This situation leads as well to absenteeism from work and school. By providing them quality, affordable sanitary pads, these issues are minimized.
- Creation of jobs and new competences. This unit needs a truly trained team to function properly. Women refugees are selected to be trained and run this unit. Some of them will explain the good reasons to use Uzima pads, especially, to young women. Others will distribute Uzima pads in the camp and outside and a last group once trained will train other women and so on.
- Replication of the project. The surplus of this production will be resold on the market. The final aim, once the unit’s economic needs are fulfilled is to build other production units elsewhere, creating a solidarity network.
- Ecologically sustainable. The sanitary pads Uzima are organic, compostable and will be used in permaculture gardens to complete the circle.
The reasons for the delay:
Since the last report, a lot has happened within the UZIMA project. Due to the pandemic situation, the machines and raw material took longer time to arrive from India by sea. When they finally came ashore, the lockdown situation in Rwanda that lasted for months extended this delay. All the material was stocked in a warehouse for several months, waiting for tax exempt while the workers remain confined. Finally a few weeks ago, we were able to move the equipment to Kigali, hire the first team who has assembled the machines and produce the first samples of Uzima pads. It was a very joyful moment when Falida got the very first Uzima pad in her hands.
What are we doing today ?
- Our on-site team is currently testing these sanitary napkins, few samples were sent to the Rwandan Standards Board to be examined and verified as to meet the local official norms. Once we receive RSB’s approval, the production will be launched to reach full capacity in a few months.
- We are in the process of recruiting staff to manage this unit. On the first picture you can see our stock officer Falida Niyigena, as well the technicians assembling the machines.
- We are currently working on a website dedicated entirely to the project. By the end of November the website will be done. You can admire a preview of the Uzima homepage on the last photo.
In November you will receive a new report with fresh news about the production, the team and the updated budget…
Your support and donations are greatly appreciated !