The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 06 Dec 2011 17:42 #710

  • Maxie
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(Note from moderator: to read the conversation on the Ruby cup business idea that preceded this post please have a look here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/24-men...ess-idea-in-kenya#22)

Hello everyone!

It is so great with this vast interest about our project on the SuSaNa site. I haven´t been posting updates recently but now it is time for an update and comments on your questions that are really hitting the point.

Status of the Ruby Cup business is that we have established our corporate infrastructure here in Kenya, which took some time, have received our final version of the Ruby Cup and it is working great! We have received very positive feedback from wmen that tested the Ruby Cup in Nairobi:

“I was out an entire night with the Ruby Cup and I danced and danced and it didn’t leak!”, Bilha (24), University student, Nairobi.

“I inserted my Ruby Cup in the morning and in the afternoon, I was worried if it would leak but when I checked it, it wasn’t even half full”, Grace (27) working mother, Nairobi East-lands.

IMG_1604.JPG


We also received our packaging (see the picture attached) and expect market entry by january/february next year. We are very excited!

In regards to the questions that Sally asked I will try to answer them as best as I can.

Sally, you mention hygiene and washing hands as a potential risk factor that could make the usage of Ruby Cup dangerous to girls and women in areas with water scarcity or even for girls and women that lack general education about handwashing and personal hygiene.

This is why we are working together with partner organisations, like Unicef WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) and begin in areas where education about these issues exist and where latrines and water supply is secured.

Also, our mission is to facilitate menstrual hygiene through education, which is why we are working with the direct sales models and peer-to-peer education in order to make sure that all our customers get the right education about menstrual hygiene and hygiene in general through our women vendors, who will be educated in these areas. We know that education about hygiene is crucial in order to ensure proper usage.

In regards to water, Unicef in fact conducted a study showing that in comparison to other menstrual hygiene products, a menstrual cup is the product requiring least water. In many poor communities, scarcity of water is a daily challenge. Compared to cloth or re-usable pads, Ruby Cup only uses water once a month for boiling, and is thus the solution that uses the least water.

The problem with re-usable pads are twofold: the water is scarce and not necessarily clean, so the pads are not being washed properly, which breeds bacteria. Also, they are not being hanged outside where the sun can dry them (which would sterilize them through the sunlight) but hid somewhere inside the house, where they don´t dry properly. The risk of infections from re-usable pads, it has been shown, is thus quite high in especially arid areas and where social stigma about menstrual hygiene are prevalent.

In regards to insertion, I will post the following quote by a woman from Kibera:

Joanne: "Here, there is no problem with inserting something, but I think it takes some time for me to get used to it. But if I have other women I can ask, I know this will be okay and even more healthy for me” Kibera, Kenya, June 13th, 2011

Insertion is an issue in some communities and not so much in others. This is a risk for our business, but our ambition is only to provide one solution to women and girls that really need it and that feel comfortable with inserting something. We know that a menstrual cup will not be used by every single girl/woman in Kenya and other developing countries, just like some prefer pads over tampons. We will be happy if we can help some girls and women with our product and totally accept the fact that for others pads (re-usable or biodegradable) are the preferred solution.


Also, you touch upon virginity, or more correctly, the intactness of the hymen that is required before marriage in many regions and cultures. The menstrual cup cann affect the hymen as well as doing sports or riding a matatu can potentially break it. We communicate oplenly that if girls are concerned about their hymen, they should not use the Ruby Cup before their first sexual intercourse. For most girls and women that we have talked to, however, the hymen was not an issue. However, we need to communicate open how the Ruby Cup may affect it.

For your interest:
The cultural acceptability has been tested through three studies (formal and informal). From 2008 – 2010, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) made a formal study with a sample size of 55 school girls and 45 women in urban slums in Kenya and the findings included that acceptability of a menstrual cup was 97% positive.

Moreover, there exists one school in Western Kenya, where menstrual cups are donated informally by a British woman. Girls choose this school over others precisely because they receive a menstrual cup, which allows them to attend school without worrying about leakages.

Finally, through a partnership between a Swedish NGO and a Kenyan young woman, the acceptability of menstrual cups was tested on five secondary schools around Nairobi, with 10 girls on each school, receiving extremely positive feedback and demand from other girls, which she was unfortunately unable to attend, due to lack of affordable menstrual cups on the market in East Africa.

That said, in general, the Ruby Cup business is a learning experience for all of us and we will take it step by step with close monitoring about the implications of providing Ruby Cups to girls and women in Kenya. We do not wish to do any harm. We wish to help and if we achieve doing so through the Ruby Cup, we have helped to make a little difference in this world and to girls and women that today struggle with accessing sanitary products.

Warmest greetings from Nairobi!!

Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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Last Edit: 24 Jan 2013 21:07 by tmsinnovation. Reason: Linking folks to the previous discussion
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Dec 2011 11:30 #715

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Hello again,

If you are interested in reading more articles about menstrual hygiene management, please take a look at the two following links on this site:

Acceptabilty study by APHRC:
www.susana.org/library?search=APHRC

Other publications on Menstrual Hygiene Management in the SuSaNA library:
www.susana.org/library?search=MHM

Happy reading!
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 29 Feb 2012 20:59 #1130

  • tmsinnovation
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Hi Maxie and the Makit / Ruby Cup team

How are things going in Kenya?
Are you managing to keep the momentum up that you built up last year?
Give us an update on your progress.

Hope all is going well!
Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)
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Last Edit: 29 Feb 2012 21:00 by tmsinnovation. Reason: grammar error

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 03 Mar 2012 12:04 #1147

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Dear friends.

A South African company also manufactures these products. Might be a cheaper option.

www.miacup.co.za/

Thank You.

Nazir.

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Mar 2012 21:24 #1152

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This is really exciting! Like Elizabeth, I swear by the Diva Cup and haven't gone back after starting using it 4 years ago. I hope that social norms and taboos will not prevent discussions from happening about reproductive rights and the dispersal of the Ruby Cups.

Does anyone know about any such projects going on in Haiti? I'm down here working on Emergency EcoSan and the topic of pads in the compost pile comes up because the plastic lining does not compost. We sift the compost anyways for trash, but it would be great to spread the menstrual cup joy. Cheers!

Monika

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 11 Apr 2012 16:56 #1401

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Hey everyone,

Thank you for your interesting posts!

Dear Monika, I have not heard about any menstrual cup projects in Haiti. Would you like to start one with Ruby Cup? We are currently engaged in projects and pilots in South Africa, Uganda and abviously Kenya with different organisations and in different cultural settings.

Dear Nazir, I was just on the Miacup website and the current price is 50 USD (www.miacup.co.za/eng/store/where.php#status)

Ruby Cup goes at 1/5 of that price and from what we understand, Miacup targets high income areas. Our target group are particularly girls and women in low income areas that are little educated and have little knowledge about menstrual hygiene in general. The Ruby Cup package comes with educational material about menstrual hygiene and we do capacity building for lead users/teachers.

Please read my following post for further information:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/24-men...12&start=12#1087

or please feel free to conatct me: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Cheers,
Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 24 Apr 2012 12:42 #1451

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Hi Maxie and team

Congrats on the Grand Prize at the 2012 Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Washington.

Here is a link to an article on it: depts.washington.edu/foster/34000-for-be...eneur-ideas-of-2012/

If there are other links and articles on your success, please do share.
Rgds
Trevor
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 24 Apr 2012 19:30 #1457

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Hi Maxie

I have had some communication with Miacup and all they looking at is the possibility in having agents. They are actually not equipped to find real solutions for disadvantaged communities and I believe your option would be better.

Thank You.

Nazir.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 26 Apr 2012 20:46 #1466

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Thanks so much for the information, Nazir. Good to know!

Hope to stay in touch through this forum and please keep me updated about other news regarding menstrual cups in low income areas.

Maxie
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 May 2012 22:26 #1561

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Dear all,

Here is some more feedback from the 15th SuSanA meeting which was in conjunction with the 4th Africa Water Week in Cairo last week.
I chaired a session where one of the presentations was on "Menstrual Hygiene Management in Africa" (session details here: www.susana.org/lang-en/meetings/may-2012-cairo-no-15 -- all presentations and the video footage from this session (!) will be uploaded next week).

It was Lindlyn Moma from WaterAid who gave this presentation. Lindlyn is orginally from Cameroon and is currently working on a regional program in Southern Africa. Before her presentation I mentioned the Ruby Cup to here. She immediately picked up on this aspect and built it into her presentation, including 2 photos of the Ruby Cup. Her presentation is available here:

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Here is what impressed me about this presentation in this particular session:

Lindlyn's passion and being so brave to break this taboo in front of a crowd of mostly policy makers, members of ministries, water utilities and so forth - her presentation was the only one in this entire Africa Water Week which mentioned menstrual hygiene. As is common, sanitation played a lower key role at the Africa Water Week compared to water - but more than at the last Africa Water Week which I attended. And hygiene topics were even less prominent on the agenda, except for our session.

When she was finished with her presentation I - as the chairperson - asked if there were questions or comments from the audience. I thought that probably everyone would be too embarrassed to ask a question about menstrual hygiene management... But not so! And guess what: She received about 3-4 questions (all by men if I remember right!) and all the questions were about the menstrual cup (not about the rest of her presentation)! It still strikes me as odd that menstrual cups are still so little known all over the world despite being around for decades actually (what has gone wrong with the advertisting of this product?).

I always stress that the menstrual cup will of course not be the solution for every women (many women don't want to insert anything). But what it does do: it seems to be a great entry point for further discussion on MHM! Why? Well I think it gets people interested - is is an exciting, interesting, different option. People are kind of bored/uninterested to talk about pads (washable or not), also pads are somehow inherently disgusting (when soaked with blood). Whereas the cup is a much "cleaner" solution. And what I like about the cup: we are discussing a product here which can be used by women in developed and in developing countries alike. This is not the case with the reusable, washable pads - which would never get popular amongst European women, I would say.

As Doulaye Koné said about toilets in the same session: why are we trying to push a type of toilet (pit latrines) onto people which we would never want to use ourselves?

Just to re-iterate: I am not saying that the cup will be the right option for every women. I just find it interesting how it provides an entry point to further discussions (and gets even men curious!) - as I witnessed in this session last Thursday in Cairo. Maybe it's just due to mentioning the word "silicon" which sounds modern.

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Last Edit: 19 May 2012 22:40 by muench.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 24 May 2012 07:50 #1577

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Dear Elisabeth,

Thank you for this very interesting blog post. I am grateful for your introduction of Ruy Cup to Lindlyn. Amazing that she included it in her presentation right away. I hope she reads this and knows how grateful we are about that.

Funnily enough, we share similar experiences to those you experienced during the presentation in Cairo. First of all, the concept of a menstrual cup is fairly new in many settings and as such, it always spurs curiosity and arises interest amongst people. Especially the fact that it can be re-used up to 10 years makes that people usually become very fond of the concept. Moreover, we experienced that often men are amazed by the benefits of menstrual cups, especially from an economic point of view. Men can see the cost-benefit advantages and are less concerned about cultural barriers and hygiene than women.

For your information: Ruby Cup is going to be avalibale both online in two weeks on www.ruby-cup.com and we are going to kickstart sales in Kibera and Kuwarangware in collaboration with Mchanga and Livelyhoods (www.livelyhoods.org), respctively.

I have attached two pictures of our power Ruby Sales Ladies, and will share more information from the women-to-women sales process, including our learnings on the way, as we go along.

So long,
LivelyHoods_Girls_RubyCup.JPG


ZenaSmall.jpg

sunshine greetings from Nairobi!

Maxie
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Last Edit: 24 May 2012 09:23 by muench.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Jun 2012 19:22 #1639

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And here's another one, published in Nairobi's UP (lifestyle) magazine in May 2012:

Foto.JPG


I am very glad to see how all of this is being set up as a business - and not as some aid project. Great!
Juergen Eichholz
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Jun 2012 20:02 #1641

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YAY! I simply cannot wait for people "to hop on the cup trend" here in Kenya! Its so worth it!

Its about time women in this country go about their lives without having to worry about next month and whether they are going to afford their next packet of sanitary towels. Menstruation should never be a hindrance.

Hopefully with the menstrual cup, many will be able to go about their business and school work assertively and confidently without fear and worry. The cost benefits advantages are huge. I write from experience.

I look forward to hearing about the sales.

Best regards,

Doreen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Jun 2012 20:34 #1642

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Yes, but the only thing I still like to have more research on is the silicone rubber and how it will interact with the human body. Or maybe not the rubber, but the oil around it that softens the silicone.

I know from the company I currently work at (who are doing chemical assessments for products) that we don't approve of or recommend products made out of silicone, especially those baking pans. Probably with the monthly cooking and frequent washes an interaction/reaction of the silicone is already prevented or reduced to a minimum.

Naa, thinking about it, the glue contained in commercial napkins is probably more aggressive.
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Last Edit: 07 Jun 2012 20:36 by jkeichholz.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 08 Jun 2012 12:47 #1645

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Do you think that "ruby cups" or other similar products could have a good chance to be C2C certified?
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 08 Jun 2012 12:50 #1646

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A good question, Trevor! Let me find out...
Juergen Eichholz
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 11 Jun 2012 11:10 #1657

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Just to follow up from my posting here under this thread on 19 May:
We now also have the video of Moma's presentation on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Africa at the Africa Water Week in Cairo available here:



For those interested in menstrual cups, jump towards the end, and listen also to the questions and discussion after her presentation.

Enjoy! (sorry, the lighting was not ideal, it is hard to make out Moma's face. Sorry about that)
All the other 14 video clips from the Africa Water Week are available here now:
www.susana.org/lang-en/meetings/may-2012-cairo-no-15

Regards,
Elisabeth

(P.S. Trevor: it might be helpful to others if you explain what is meant with the abbreviation "C2C certified" and a brief background to your question maybe.)
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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Last Edit: 11 Jun 2012 11:12 by muench.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 12 Jul 2012 18:06 #1871

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Hi all,

Here is a quick up-date from a rather chilly Nairobi (the weather has been unusually cold over the last few days).

Despite the meteorological downsides, spirits are high and we are happy to report that our first badge of Ruby Cups has arrived safely from the factory in China. After a long wait we were able to see them life today and now have some here at the house, ready for distribution with our sales women tomorrow.

Some of them will go to Kibera and Kuwangware where we did house visits earlier this week. It was a truly thought provoking visit to venture so far into the neighborhood and experience the differences in standards of living, also among the inhabitants, with our own eyes. The visit has given us a better idea of the conditions under which our products might be used, something which is very helpful for our development of the information available and training of the sales women. Next week we will continue the Ruby Cup distribution in Korogocho.

Another positive report is one of a visit at Saint John’s School in Kibera where we last week saw 15 girls together with their parents and got their consent to try out the Ruby Cup (see the picture) Working together with the families is an important part of getting a strong support and understanding of the product. Besides our Ruby Cup instructions for Use that are included in the package, on top of that we now also have the educational material with information about menstrual and general hygiene, basic reproductive health, myths and facts and a menstrual calendar that the girls can use.

As some of you might have noticed it is now possible to buy the Ruby Cup online via our website, ruby-cup.com/ . This way girls and women in other countries to support our mission and outreach on the ground.

Finally, I would like to share with you the great news that we won the Venture Cup for the most promising start up in Scandinavia and came second at Future Impact Prize 2012 in Lugano, Switzerland. We are very grateful for tese acknowledgements, which give us an extra push and motivation for Ruby Cup social business.

Also, we were invited to Tedx in Kibera and held a presentation in front of the slum inhabitants about Ruby Cup. We will be featured in their local radio, PamojaFM, and this was a great pooortunity to spread knowledge abour Ruby Cup.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 12 Jul 2012 18:08 #1872

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Jürgen, Ruby Cup is made out of medical grade silicone, which is a material that does not interact with the body at all. It is anti-septic and has a life span of at least 10 years. Hope this clarifies
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 12 Jul 2012 18:10 #1873

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A good question. We have been investigating that but currently no proper benchmarks exist, i.e. how much CO2 tampons and pads produce per product. We would have to investigate that with a company that can certify products in regards to their Co2 emissions. I bet Ruby Cup would beat always and O.B. by far!! We will keep you updated if we find out more information.
Happy greetings!Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 13 Jul 2012 14:41 #1886

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I love my diva cup and have used it for about 2 years now. However, I only use it when in Germany and leave it here whenever I travel back to kenya .
From my experience most household toilets do not have enough pressure to flush away the blood after emptying the cup. In such case one would have to wait for the water tank to fill up(which sometimes takes long) and then reflush. A worse scenario would be if there is a shortage of water.
I would be more comfortable using it in a house hold with a pit latrine, however washing my hands thereafter would be a problem if there is no flowing tap water. I wouldnt want to have to wash my 'blodied' hands in a basin.

I've tried promoting the cup to my friends who all worried about times of water shortage.
I think a good water supply will go a long way in encouraging women to start using menstrual cups which are a cheaper and environmentally friendly option!

Keep up the good work in kenya.
Cynthia
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 13 Jul 2012 17:21 #1887

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I would like to write a response to the WEDC fact sheet - Menstruation hygiene management for schoolgirls in low-income countries- by T. Croft that was published on sanitation updates (sanitationupdates.wordpress.com/2012/07/...ow-income-countries/) the other day. It is a factsheet about menstruation in developing countries and I have attached it to this blog post. We are happy and impressed with the amount of information the author has managed to convey in a very pedagogical and simple manner.

However, we were wondering about the text about tampons and menstrual cups. In the fact sheet, menstrual cups are apparently not a feasible alternative for girls and women in developing countries as they are too expensive and a poor solution due to practical and cultural reasons.

We sell Ruby Cups at an affordable price to girls and women in Kenya that earn a commission for each product sold. That way we create livelihoods and improve lives for girls and women in low income areas.

Regarding the cultural acceptability, a study by the APHRC has shown 97% acceptability of menstrual cups by girls and women in Kenya. In our experience, Ruby Cup is a highly demanded product and we have been introducing it to girls and women in both rural and urban areas with positive results.
Practical reasons: We agree that education about hygiene is essential when introducing Ruby Cup, no matter the location.

In water scarce areas, Ruby Cup is a great alternative to re-usable pads, as it only requires water for boiling once a month and clean hands before insertion and removal. The material is healthy and anti-septic, and it is cost-saving compared to buying pads every month. Re-usable pads require much water for washing, which is a challenge in some areas. Moreover, re-usable pads are not being dried outside where the sun can additionally sterilize them, since girls are ashamed of showing that they are on their period. As a result, the pads are being kept inside often under the bed/madras where it is humid and unhygienic. Also, Ruby Cup, as opposed to pads, is great for girls that have no panties as it can be used without underwear.

Menstrual cups are an increasingly preferred sustainable solution world wide, and we hope that Ruby Cup will give Kenyan women and girls yet another option to choose their preferred way of managing their period.

What do you think?
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Last Edit: 13 Jul 2012 17:24 by Maxie.
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 Jul 2012 13:18 #1953

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Hello all,

It's good to see so much activity around this product. We, a group of master students from different nationalities are participating in a summerschool program. For this progam we are asked to come up with a sustainable business idea around which we should write a business model. Our first thoughts went after the recycling of plastic bags in rural areas and make useful, sustainable products from these recycled materials.

After some debate we are currently looking into the possibility of producing Menstrual Cups out of these recycled plastic materials. This would reduce the products environmental impact as well as deliver a usefull product that not only saves the environment but also has a very practical use.

Our question is what are your thoughts about this sustainable business idea. leaving aside the technical feasability (we are currently looking into those), would anyone be interested in such a sustainable product if we would be able to provide such a product for comparable costs?


With kind regards,
Elleore, Erik, Miriam & Munya
Climate-KIC TheJourney Participants
Climate-KIC TheJourney 1
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Elleore, Erik, Miriam & Munya

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 Jul 2012 14:21 #1955

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Hi there,
No, I don't think that is a good idea. A menstrual cup should be made of high-grade silicone rubber, nothing else. I cannot imagine that you could make one from recycled plastics that would be comfortable and safe to use.
In any case, the amount of plastic you could recycle would be miniscule in the scheme of things because one woman can use one single menstrual cup for 5 years or more!

By the way, you failed to mention which country you are from or where that summer school is?

Regards,
Elisabeth
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 Jul 2012 16:04 #1958

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First of all thanks for your quick response to our project,

We are 4 masters degree students (from different countries) enrolled in the Climate-KIC summerschool program called TheJourney. This program takes us from Paris to Zürich and finally Berlin. During this 5 week program we come into contact with experts in many fields regarding climate change and are asked to develop a business case around climate change.

In response to your comment, we already have come into contact with a company that is producing menstrual cups out of plastic material, rather then high-grade silicone rubber. Also we've had contact with several experts (ETH-Zürich) in the field of material science and found (for now) no reason to believe it couldn't be done. This is supported by the fact that there are already plastic menstrual cups out there.

Lastly, on the amount of recycled plastics issue; We believe that the potential market of this product is huge, and that for this reason the potential plastic savings are significant. Besides this, by transforming the recycled materials into this menstrual cup you remove the plastics from the environment for a very long time, as well as have major environmental benefits by removing the need for other sanitation products (tampons and/or pads).

So besides the technical feasability of this product, could you identify anymore possible barriers surrounding our product?


With kind regards,
Elleore(FR), Erik(NL), Miriam(CH) & Munya(DE)
Climate-KIC TheJourney Participants
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 19 Jul 2012 18:54 #1960

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@theJourney1

Great idea, but could you please define "plastics"? Are we talking about PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, PS or a mix of other/various plastic materials?

Also, is the downcycling of the recycled plastic such a sustainable approach?

And: could your manufacturer guarantee that the created products are free of any toxic substances (~ biocompatibility)?
Juergen Eichholz
watsan eng.
water, sanitation, IT & knowledge management
www.saniblog.org
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 20 Jul 2012 10:23 #1965

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Thanks alot for the interest, we realy enjoy recieving the feedback;

With "plastics" we are talking about Recycled Polyethylene either LDPE or HDPE (still looking into this). To ensure similar performance as the regular menstrual cup we will be adding an additive in the production process. This additive would only be a small portion of the final product and ofcourse will be an environmental friendly and non toxic material.

For the downcycling part, we believe that every plastic that is removed from the environment and turned into a new usefull product is better then using up new raw materials. In this way we believe this is a sustainable approach (offcourse keeping in mind the added proces and logistic emissions). As the production of 1 cup, doesn't use too much raw materials the impact on this side of the chain may remain limited. But as we've said: we can provide a more sustainable product then the original cup and at lower costs. Keeping in mind the targeted customers we feel that our product provides added value to the customers.

Logically we check to make sure the created products are free of any toxic substances and assure biocompatibility. The final product performs the same as the silicon based cup, only then producted with recycled materials.

We are currently looking into how the end consumer would respond to having such a personal product be made out of recycled materials. We believe that as we can assure the same performance as the original product this should not be too big an issue. What are your thoughts on that?

Please feel free to ask more questions, we love to discuss our idea.


With kind regards,
Elleore(FR), Erik(NL), Miriam(CH) & Munya(DE)
Climate-KIC TheJourney Participants
Climate-KIC TheJourney 1
Summerschool Participants

Elleore, Erik, Miriam & Munya

The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 23 Jul 2012 03:32 #1972

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The menstrual cups are not without their usability issues, as you know if you talk to current users. (An amusing account of the issues is on an Amazon.com page for one cup brand on the North American market.)

The cups must be flexible to allow insertion and to be securely in place. Most easily recycled plastics are rigid. Also, the plastic can go "biological" fast. To avoid toxic shock syndrome and other bacterial diseases, a plastic that does not harbor bacterial growth is best.

Cleaning, pain in use and removal, and sizing are issues.

Note that women using a diaphragm for birth control already are using something not unlike a menstrual cup. It can be used the same way.

Just an aside: We hear historical accounts of women using the hollow-out rinds of small oranges and lemons for this purpose.

Good luck with finding a solution.
Carol Steinfeld
Ecowaters (etc.)
Book writer, researcher, workshop presenter, eco-toilet vendor, market transformer

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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 18 Aug 2012 17:32 #2101

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Dear Elleore, Erik, Miriam and & Munya,

Thanks for your great interest in finding more ways of producing menstrual cups. There is a German brand, called Meluna, that are producing emnstrual cups of a material calle TPE: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoplastic_elastomer. You might want to talk to them about your idea : meluna.eu/meluna.html

We have contacted our partners in regards your idea of producing Menstrual Cups out of these recycled plastic materials and I will let you know as soon as I know more about it. It is to be noted, however, that silicone is a very eco friendly material accoring to various articles on the Internet.

Have a lovely weekend!

Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 12 Sep 2012 20:54 #2241

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Dear all,

Thanks for you valuable cost break down of sanitary towels. We provide Ruby Cup at affordable prices in slums. And currently we are looking into ways of further lowering the price. So far, we can sell Ruby Cup at a price that equals 6-8 months (depending on the menstrual flow) of spending on pads. At the same time, as Elizabeth mentioned, we are also a for profit company and need to get costs covered and in some areas this kind of up-front investment, although it saves money on the long run, is difficult to make. For these areas we are looking at different payment methods, distribution methods and are also looking for partners that can help us either cross-subsidizing the price or purchase the product, so that we can sell it below costs while we distribute and educate about Ruby Cup including menstrual hygiene and basic reproductive health.

One challenge has also been to establish trust in the product. Since it is so unknown in Kenya, we have faced scepticism in regards to longevity and benefits of the product. This requires awareness building and marketing. The positive thing: we are on it and going to make it work! However, any input in regards to distribution/marketing is highly appreciated.

Greetings from Kenya!
Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
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The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 24 Jan 2013 16:21 #3233

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Happy New year to everyone!

A quick Ruby Cup update from Kenya. We are currently available in 60 pharmacies in Nairobi but not yet available outside the city. We are working on making Ruby Cup available in Kisumu.

Here is a list with pharmacies where you can get Ruby Cup: ruby-cup.com/default.asp?page=buy_now.as...p;diffdel=&idc=3

The price for one Ruby Cup is 1800 KES in Kenya but we are currently running a promotion and you can get Ruby Cup for 1250 KES for a limited period.

Also, we have a discounted price for Ruby Cup if organisations or individuals wish to provide the product to underpriviledged school girls. We offer the provision of Ruby Cups, the education involved about menstrual hygiene and reproductive health and of course how to use Ruby Cup.

In Europe, for every Ruby Cup we sell, we sponsor one and provide it to a school girl from underpriviledged backgrounds in Kenya.

Last year, we conducted a study with the Red Cross in Uganda and I am sharing the postive results with you in the attached document. Happy reading and speak soon!

Sunny greetings from Nairobi!

Maxie
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Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 05 Jun 2013 11:35 #4612

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Hello everyone,

We've got news for you! Ruby Cup has established an office in Berlin. This means we are present in East Africa (Kenya) and Europe (Berlin) with sales increasing in both regions.

In Europe we sell Ruby Cup mostly through the Internet. For every Ruby Cup we sell online, we sponsor one to a school girl in Kenya. The school girls who received Ruby Cups have founded Ruby Cup Clubs, in which they talk freely about menstrual hygiene and what it means to grow up as a girl in Kenya.

In Nairobi, we engage in sales through pharmacies and supermarkets. Here are pictures from our team in Kenya during an event called Blankets and Wine where we promote Ruby Cups to girls and women from Nairobi.

Best greetings!
Maxie
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Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Aug 2014 10:29 #9649

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Hi Maxie,

I have been silently but attentively following and reading about the Ruby Cup experience since I registered in SuSanA forum. Congratuations for your success!

I recently read about MHM in developing countries in a French magazine (Causette) and they mentioned the Ruby Cup, drawing the attention on the problem of excision and how it prevents women from using the cup. I know the development of cup sales does not aim at reaching all women, however it is surely something to consider, since it excludes a significant proportion of women. Have you experienced such situations?

(I am sorry my question may be really naive, I am not at all an expert on these matters, and I guess excision is less common in Nairobi where most of the Ruby Cup sales take place).

Kind regards,

Carlotta
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Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 07 Aug 2014 20:17 #9666

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Hi Maxie and the Ruby Cup Team

I remember meeting you at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Nairobi, Kenya as we waited our turns to see the Chief Health Officer, Dr.Kepha Ombacho. I advanced the idea of publishing a short note of your project in the Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene but you said that the matter was in the teething stages.

That was two years ago and a lot of water has passed under the bridge to say the least.
Isn't it the high time we had that short write-up of your experiences on the hygiene aspect of the 'Ruby cup' for the benefit of thousands of our readers who are not members of this forum?

Kind regards / Mwaniki
Am the publisher of the Africa Water,Sanitation & Hygiene and the C.E.O. of Transworld Publishers Ltd.,Nairobi-Kenya.
Last Edit: 07 Aug 2014 21:53 by mwaniki.

Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 13 Aug 2014 14:49 #9725

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Dear Mwaniki,

I have attached our latest Report on Ruby Cup's work in Kenya, Kisumu.

Hope this helps to clarify? Otherwise, I am avaiable via email on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We are still looking for implementing partners on the ground in Kenya, so should you know of any organisation that wishes to assist in the distribution process, please drop me an email.

All the best,
Maxie
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Last Edit: 13 Aug 2014 14:49 by Maxie.

Re: The Ruby cup and MHM experiences from Kenya 17 Aug 2014 22:49 #9783

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Hi Maxie

Thanks for the material for publication in the oncoming edition of the Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene.Could I please use the pictures of the sales girls you posted in May and the pix of the product earlier on?

Kind regards / Mwaniki
Am the publisher of the Africa Water,Sanitation & Hygiene and the C.E.O. of Transworld Publishers Ltd.,Nairobi-Kenya.
Last Edit: 17 Aug 2014 22:49 by mwaniki.
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