Co-operative expands business and increases revenues with reusable sanitary pads

For the Tayamba Rice Producers and Marketing Co-operative raising capital is a challenge, prompting innovative approaches to boost revenue. This year, through the Strategic Innovation Fund of the VOICE for Women and Girls’ Program, the co-operative ventured into producing and selling reusable sanitary pads.

Reusable sanitary pads.

The initiative employed a “training of trainers” model, initially training 24 women from 12 co-operatives in menstrual health management, sewing techniques, and marketing strategies for reusable sanitary pads. Each co-operative trained an additional eight women, resulting in 120 women equipped with these skills. Furthermore, the women have taken on the responsibility to continue training other co-operative members and making sanitary pads.

The Tayamba Co-operative, among the 12 participating co-ops, has demonstrated remarkable progress since the original training initiative. Initially focusing on refining sanitary pad production, the co-operative hired a professional tailor to further enhance the women’s tailoring skills.

As of March 2024, Tayamba Co-operative reported the highest number of sales and revenue among the participating co-operatives, generating MWK 1,936,000 in sales. After deducting expenses, including compensation for the newly trained tailors, the estimated profits amounted to MWK 1,221,000. The co-operative was able to reallocate some of this profit to support members affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy. They procured and distributed 700kg of rice seed to 35 farmers including 25 women, facilitating crucial replanting and recovery for those impacted.

Reusable sanitary pads training.

Reflecting on their achievements, co-op members have also benefited personally through better understanding of menstrual health management, and through financial gains as co-operative members. For instance, dividends ranging from MWK 30,000 to MWK 100,000 were distributed to the 2023-2024 financial year.

One woman member expressed, “I received a dividend of K75,000 and repaid a loan of K55,000. Considering the impact of the tropical cyclone, I would not have been able to repay this loan if it were not for the re-usable sanitary pads business our co-operative is running. I know most of the co-operative members with loans were able to repay from the same.”

Furthermore, the co-operative has improved governance and member engagement, drawing on skills gained through knowledge exchange with Canadian volunteers as part of the VOICE for Women and Girls’ Program. This initiative has empowered women within the co-operative, fostering their active participation in the decision-making processes.








Join our mailing list today!

Stay updated on our news, projects, and opportunities.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.