Menstrual hygiene plans for Pacific

By Ivamere Nataro ,

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MANA Care founder Angelica Salele-Sefo.

MANA Care founder Angelica Salele-Sefo.

MANA Care founder, Angelica Salele-Sefo has a plan to promote menstrual hygiene. 

The young entrepreneur, together with her business partner Isabell Rasch, are the first to market in Samoa affordable, sustainable and reusable menstrual pads. 

“We want to really roll this idea out to our neighbouring Pacific Islands, whether by opening up factories or going out to teach locals on how to do this. I am looking to help Pacific Islanders with gaining the knowledge to do the product themselves,” she told the Samoa Observer. 

Angelica was one of more than 20 young Samoan entrepreneurs attending the Youth CO:Lab workshop held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel yesterday. 

“We are in the process of hiring; we have one woman confirmed to join us in the upcoming weeks. She is a seamstress out in Savaii. While we can employ around the urban areas, we want to really build on the fact that we’re a social enterprise.”

Angelica also highlighted their pop up shops project where she and Bella plan to take the products out to the communities. 

“How we are going to identify those areas, we are working with the Ministry of Women on that,” she said. 

“For me and Bella personally, because we have roots in Savaii we want to start there first, so we are going to take it to Savaii first. 

“The timeframe for our pop up shops in relation to the award that we got is between now and November. We are kind of running a little bit late and because of commitments we’ve had to push it back for a couple of weeks, but we are still on track to deliver this month. This is for our final report, which we will present to U.N. Environment.” 

Angelica hopes to reach out to many villages on Upolu and Savaii before November. 

“The pop up shops work in a way where the first session is an informative session, kind of educational session and we plan to have volunteers like doctors, nurses and whoever is available on a specific day for the pop up shops to come and accompany us as well as someone from the Ministry of Women if they would like to accompany us to talk about menstrual hygiene and give more information on what is menstruation because we know there is limited information and education occurring in Samoa.

“I think it’s something the Government should consider because I know maybe it’s different right now. But with our talks with people who have been educated in the Samoan public schools they were not taught reproduction in schools and it’s something you will learn in Science Biology when you reach senior years in high school. 

“For our social enterprise, the pop up shops is something that we want to keep doing for as long as necessary before such a time when we can have these products available in shops.” 

Angelica said this is basically for their business and to find ways in which they can improve their product and services.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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