SOKO Kenya worked with the Asos Foundation to develop washable, reusable and comfortable sanitary pad designs

SOKO Kenya worked with the Asos Foundation to develop washable, reusable and comfortable sanitary pad designs

UK online fashion retailer Asos is continuing its sustainability and ethical work with a new initiative that uses off-cuts from its fabric to produce sanitary towels for young women and girls in Kenya.

The Kujuwa Initiative is run by the Asos Foundation and SOKO Community Trust to support access to education for young women and girls in the rural Kasigau region of Kenya. Translated as 'The Knowledge Initiative', it provides health education and practical support for girls who regularly miss school due to a lack of affordable sanitary protection.

SOKO Kenya worked with the Asos Foundation to develop washable, reusable and comfortable sanitary pad designs. The pads were developed following extensive consultation with local women and tested by SOKO employees. They are made by members of the Stitching Academy Hub, using scraps of waste fabrics from Asos 'Made in Kenya' garment production.

Girls are provided with KIT (Keep It Together) bags, containing two pairs of cotton briefs, two sanitary pads with removable liners, a bar of soap and a waterproof wash bag. KITs are being shared with 900 girls, alongside hygiene and confidence training, in six schools as part of a region-wide project. These six schools are also recipients of the Asos Foundation and SOKO Community Trust Project Pipeline 'Wash' project, which provides water tanks, toilets and hygiene education in schools where these facilities are lacking.

The sanitary pads are expected to generate income for Stitching Academy Hub members and the intention is that this will become regular, enabling small manufacturing businesses to develop sustainably as positive feedback in the community will direct business their way.

The Asos Foundation is a charitable trust funded by Asos and supported by its colleagues and customers. It provides infrastructure, training and support to enable disadvantaged young adults to reach their potential, through focused projects in the UK, India and Kenya. It works with long-term charity partners including the Prince's Trust, Centrepoint and Arrival Education in the UK, SOKO Community Trust and Wildlife Works Carbon Trust in rural Kenya, and Udayan Care in New Delhi, India.