The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

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  • Sallyp
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

(Note from Moderator: The reply to this post has been moved to a new thread, so as to split this conversation, due to the Ruby cup moving from a business idea to a growing business, here is the link: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/24-men...ences-from-kenya#710)

Hullo,

It is great that Kenyan women are interested in the menstrual cup. Were these mainly mature women who had borne children? Here in France, the younger women who use menstrual cups do it mainly for ecological reasons, so as not to add to the waste issue around disposable pads and tampons. They are well acquainted with their own anatomy and are generally politically aware women. Cups are available for purchase in organic shops, together with biodegradable pads made from organic cotton.

In Malawi, where I did my menstrual hygiene management research in secondary schools, the issues around virginity and general unfamiliarity with one’s own body could make menstrual cups problematic. I know that my girlfriends in Laos (even mothers) find the idea of tampons distressing and the menstrual cup, which one has to insert, generates the same reaction.

Lack of water for hand washing prior to insertion and for washing the cup afterwards is also problematic in schools and communities in both countries. Is hand washing with soap addressed and has it become normal practise, before introducing the use of the menstrual cup?

Kind regards,
Sally

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  • sabine
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

After reading this interesting discussion I remeberd that a friend told me also about menstruation cups. She found them a lot cheaper (for 13 Euro) compared to the ones in Elisabeth's post. There are so many different designs, don't know how to decide what's the most comfortable....

meluna.eu/monatshygiene/menstruationsbecher.html

But I'm sure there are also other companies.

Regards,
Sabine
Project Ingeneer
Kuster+Hager St. Gallen

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  • tmsinnovation
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Hi Maxie

Do you have an update on how things are going? Perhaps what challenges you are facing?

Have you established a facebook page for Makit or Ruby Cups?

Hope all is going well.
Rgds
Trevor
Trevor Surridge
Decentralized Wastewater Management for Adaptation to Climate Change in Jordan (ACC Project)
Project Manager

Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Shmeisani,
Amman
Jordan

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  • Maxie
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Hey Doreen and Elizabeth,

We are so happy for your moral support and interesting thoughts on the issue.
Currently, we are still waiting for all the documents to be in place but as soon as we have that, we can begin with our pilot.

I will consider the HIV issue you mentioned, Elizabeth, and the implications it could have for girls and women using the Ruby Cup .

Have a lovely evening!
Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
Co-Founder of Ruby Cup by Makit Ltd
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www.ruby-cup.com
www.facebook.com/rubycup

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Menstrual cups for women living with HIV/AIDS?

Dear all,

On the weekend, I read this interesting publication by USAID and WHO, which gave me another idea with regards to the menstrual cups:
How to integrate water, sanitation and hygiene into HIV programmes(www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publ...548014/en/index.html)

There is an interesting chapter on menstruation management, pointing out the dangers of menstrual blood from HIV-infected women. Imagine the dangers of the care givers having to wash the rags. Perhaps again here, the menstrual cups could make the lives of the women living with HIV/AIDS and their care givers a whole lot easier? Has anyone explored this route yet and spoken to people in such programmes?

Here is the paragraph that got me thinking:
+++++++++++

Menstruation management
Hygiene, disease and menstrual blood in HIV-infected women are not
discussed in the literature; only the grey (unpublished) literature and anecdotal
conversations between scientists and programme managers have covered this
topic. Before antiretroviral therapy (ART) became prevalent, women often
stopped menstruating once HIV had advanced. However, now that ART is
widely used even in resource-poor countries, women continue to menstruate,
which poses a hygiene challenge and possible risk of HIV transmission to
caregivers.
Menstrual blood of HIV-positive women contains the virus,
sometimes at a higher load than regular blood (Reichelderfer et al., 2000).
Thus, HIV-positive women and their caregivers must prevent HIV
transmission from menstrual blood by practising universal precautions.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • Doreen
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Hongera Maxie!

The Ruby Cup will assist many women in Kenya who are facing enormous challenges managing menstruation. As you can see from our discussion forum, the majority have welcomed this as an innovative and sustainable approach towards MHM. We are now of course very curious to know how it will be received in the local communities! We look very much forward to the results, lessons learned, the inputs from Kenyan women and your experiences.

Best regards

Doreen
Doreen Mbalo

GIZ Sustainable Sanitation Programme
Policy Advisor in Bonn, Germany
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
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  • Maxie
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Hey Everyone,

Thank you so much for posting on this site and sharing your thoughts. It helps us very much to read your thoughts and to share experiences with you.

We will now update you here on the forum, ask questions, share experiences and hope to be able to learn from each other through this open communication and great SuSanA site.

For now a little update from our Ruby Cup social business . We have recently returned to Nairobi, after we received a grant from the SIDA´s Innovations Against Poverty programme, that Elizabeth already referred to above.

We will start very slowly conducting a pilot with a sample of women, that will sell the Ruby Cup and earn a small share form it.

From this pilot study, wich we will monitor thoroughly, we will learn from the women what kind of education they need, what sales material works best, how the Ruby Cup is received by the local community etc. This means, we will co-develop a scalable package together with the local women in order to find a business model that works best for girls and women in Kenya. After the pilot, we will implement the sales model in the rest of Kenya.

I will continously blog on this page, let you know about our results, lessons learned, inputs from the local women and hope that you will share your thoughts and come with inputs as we move along.

Enjoy your day and Asanti Sana!

Maxie
Maxie Matthiessen
Co-Founder of Ruby Cup by Makit Ltd
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+49 (0)176 2765 2953

www.ruby-cup.com
www.facebook.com/rubycup
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  • Elisabeth
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Exciting news for anyone who is interested in menstrual cups for women and girls in developing countries:

I just read on Sanitation Updates that the Danish company Makit, who developed the Ruby Cup which we discussed above in this discussion thread has won a Swedish grant worth EUR 20,000 in the Swedish "Innovations against poverty" grant scheme. :woohoo:

Well done, Maxi and team!! Please tell us more about what you are up to, what you had to do to win this grant and what you can now do with the money?

Here is the headline and link from Sanitation Updates:
Danish company gets Sida grant to sell menstrual cups in Kenya

sanitationupdates.wordpress.com/2011/09/...trual-cups-in-kenya/

(by the way, I can highly recommend subscribing to Sanitation Updates, it really is a very good and useful news service focussed on sanitation. They are also a SuSanA partner)

Dear Hellen, thanks for your interesting posting as well. Which brand of menstrual cups have you used in your work so far? I agree with you, menstrual cups are just a tiny piece of the puzzle, which could be used as an entry point to tackle all the other issues around reproductive health and rights for women in Kenya (?). (do others see this as realistic or too ambitious?)

Regards,
Elisabeth

P.S. From my own personal experience, I swear by the Diva Cup, although I have never tried other brands, and assume they all work pretty well. What I like here is that we are not talking about some sort of second class product which is only for poor women in developing countries but not for wealthy women in Western countries (= the old discussion about pit latrines versus flush toilets... (??)). These menstrual cups are appreciated around the world, by poor and wealthy women alike. One of the big unknowns is whether hygiene precautions (washing hands and the cup) could be sufficiently observed and entrenched.
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • former member
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Dear Elisabeth,

My name is Hellen and I work with an Organisation called Sisternet that is based in Sweden. We have been working with school girls in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya on the usage of menstrual cups as an alternative to pads.
Giving out menstrual cups to girls is not a solution to creating a sustainable sanitation when it comes to better ways of dealing with menstruation. The best way will be to use menstrual cups as an entry point to having girls discuss their reproductive rights. This is how we have managed to work so far with 10 different schools and 60 girls within a duration of six months.
I come from Kenya, but now resides in Sweden. In my community it is a taboo to discuss menstruation in public and it is more difficult to convince people that Menstrual cups can be used as an alternative to sanitary pads.
We have encountered quite a few challenges since we kicked off the project in Kenya. Some issues that have come up;
1. Girls will lose their virginity
2. Stigmatization
3. Lack of even support from friends and family (this was very obvious when we started the project, but now things are changing.
Hellen

Www.sistercup.wordpress.com :P

++++++++
Note by moderators: This post was made by a former user with the login name hellen who is no longer a member of this discussion forum.

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  • awesome
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Dear Elisabeth

On the use of tampons in Zimbabwe there's also that fear of destroying the virginity in girls. I remember growing up i never wanted to hear anything about tampons because of that myth and only recently have i started using them. the reason why so many women in my circle don't use tampons even though they would want to is because they are too expensive compared to pads and also the lack of knowledge on how to insert them.

On the cup, i have no knowledge on anyone using them in Zimbabwe.

Cheers
Annie

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Dear Dorothee,

Wow, I am impressed that you say many women use the menstrual cups in Switzerland (or at least quite a few). Here in Germany, they seem to be so unknown, even my gynocologist had never heard about them.

You are right about the inserting question. I am no expert on this, but was amazed to learn how few Chinese women use tampons for example. I am not sure if it is the higher cost or the insertion part that puts people off using tampons in China. I read somewhere that Muslims discourage tampon use, especially for young women (fear of destroying virginity).

I hope that other on this forum who know more about this topic will share their knowledge with us here: how do women around the world view the option of inserting a tampon or cup to manage their menses?

Regards,
Elisabeth
Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
Located in Ulm, Germany
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  • dorothee.spuhler
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Re: The Ruby cup business idea in Kenya

Thanks for the pictures and information!
I know a lot of women in Switzerland (and around) using similar cups for ecological reasons.

But I wonder if for religious and other reasons to use the Ruby cups would not need a important behavioral change as you introduce it instead of just having something in you underwear...???

Thanks for sharing your experiences on this – Dorothee
WG1 Co-lead
Developing methods and tools to support strategic planning for sustainable sanitation. Particular interested in novel technologies contributing to more inclusive and circular sanitation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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