MakaPads are low-cost sanitary pads made from recycled paper and dried papyrus that are designed for young women and girls in central and west Africa.

Design Without Borders Uganda and Technology 4 Tomorrow have created MakaPads, a low-cost sanitary pad designed for women and girls in central and west Africa. MakaPads are made from local papyrus and recycled paper, and are 95% biodegradable. To create the pads, the papyrus and paper fibers are beaten, dried and softened in an energy-efficient process which uses solar power. Designed to help young girls remain in school during their periods, the pads are more absorbent and cost 50% less than typical imported sanitary pads. Aside from their environmental sustainability and positive impact on girls’ education, MakaPads are manufactured locally, providing employment opportunities in the local community, primarily to women.

Why you should care

One in ten girls in sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school during menstruation. This causes girls to lag behind in their education, and even drop out of school entirely, creating negative long-term consequences for gender equality and economic development. MakaPads play an important role in addressing these challenges by offering girls a low-cost way to feel comfortable at school all month long.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Good Health and Well-Being

Sanitary pads give girls greater confidence and enhanced mental well-being in the school environment by reducing the chance of embarrassment.

SDG4 Quality education

Quality Education

Provision of sanitary pads increases school attendance rates as it means girls are having to worry less about having their periods whilst at school.


Gender Equality

Improved attendance of girls at school will help to level the educational playing field, resulting in increased gender equality from younger ages.