Developing reusable sanitary pads for marginalized and vulnerable women groups in Costa Rica

Type of Change: New/further knowledge gained 

Boundary Level: Community

Summary/Theme: Developing reusable sanitary pads for marginalized and vulnerable women groups in Costa Rica 

Ana López Ramírez, a Costa Rican community leader, attended REDICA’s ‘Sanitation, Hygiene and Menstrual Health’ regional workshop. She was exposed to an eye-opening and unknown reality: the serious challenges that women in most vulnerable conditions, who are homeless, forced migrants and/or serving a prison sentence, face to manage their menstrual periods. The workshop was part of the approach of sanitation and hygiene and IWRM nexus, towards the achievement of the SDG agenda. 

After the workshop, Ana, inspired by these new ideas, began making a prototype of the sanitation pads, to distribute them to imprisoned women in her country. “It was necessary that the pads were washable, easy to dry, durable and that they could serve women with little and abundant menstrual flow and even be used at night”. Damaris, a friend and local leader, joined Ana and together they made dozens of reusable sanitary pads. It took almost a year of testing, adapting materials and sizes to reach the most suitable product. Together with REDICA and ACCEDER, Ana and Damaris identified an organization that worked with women graduates who were being integrated back into society and distributed the pads to the women’s homes.  

Now, Ana and her team are eagerly looking to work further on the improvement of Costa Rican imprisoned women’s quality of life by supporting the safe and dignified management of their menstrual health.