Cedar Tanzania’s volunteer Dylan Parkin has been hard at work these last few months, investigating potential educational and entrepreneurial projects that could be implemented in the village of Kamanga. This May has seen Dylan venture out on his very first pilot entrepreneurial project called “Nguvu ya Binti” (Girl Power)! This has resulted in him putting into use, for the very first time, the Community Centre that Sengerema District Council, with whom we have a Public Private Partnership, kindly donated to Cedar Tanzania to support us in our community projects. In mid May Dylan together with Cedar Tanzania’s field officer Jackie held their first entrepreneurial meetings with seven young women between the ages of 18 -24 years old.
Dylan writes, “The aim of the project is to facilitate the setting up and running of a women-owned social enterprise that manufacture reusable cloth sanitary pads to help girls and women of Nyamatongo handle their periods safely, hygienically and inexpensively. The approach entails to train a group of girls on entrepreneurial skills, menstrual health and hygiene, and sewing classes to equip them with what is needed to be able to produce and sell the pads economically.
The pilot phase started on May 13th and is planned to be reviewed after 10 weeks. It is hoped however that the project will be able to continue until mid-September. The training has been divided into 3 parts: Training on entrepreneurship, sewing classes, education on menstrual hygiene.
The first day of training was light, mostly just introductions. On the second day, we started with the topic of how to find and generate business ideas. Although there are businesses which make and sell reusable cloth pads in Tanzania, we still do not know if this will be a viable business option in Kamanga. Therefore, if we later find that selling sanitary pads is not a viable option, then the girls will return to their knowledge of generating business ideas and find a new idea. We felt it was important to do things this way so the girls could get first-hand experience of doing the research and of taking ownership of the business they are developing.
After the topic of generating business ideas, we started on the topic of analyzing the idea's potential. Upon finishing this, the girls were sent into the village to do "market research." Through this, they have found that the women of Kamanga are indeed interested in reusable cloth sanitary pads.
Now the only research which remains is the cost analysis. We have recently covered the topic of costs and pricing. The girls will soon be going to shops in Mwanza to price the needed materials. This means that within the next week we should know if we will continue with the reusable cloth pads business idea, or if we need to go back to the drawing board and find a new business idea.”
Cedar Tanzania is excited to find out how these amazing young women will fare and we wish them, Dylan and Jackie the best of luck.