A small enterprise that could fuel a movement in promoting good hygiene practices among women is all set to take roots in the rural interiors of the district from August 6 with the commercial launch of a low cost sanitary napkin brand.
Named Jyoti, the sanitary napkins are manufactured by a women self help group (SHG) at Nuapatna village under Tigiria block of the district.
The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA)sponsored project undertaken by the district administration aims to not only drive adoption of proper menstrual hygiene practices among women in the rural parts and those belonging to the vulnerable sections but also providing income generation opportunities to them.
Under the initiative spearheaded by Cuttack Collector Girish SN, the Jyoti Sanitary Napkin Federation has taken shape to establish a modern manufacturing unit with 20 women SHG members. In the face of growing concerns over unsafe disposal of used napkins, the products churned out by this unit would be without disposal worries as they are made of completely biodegradable wood pulp.
The unit has the capacity of churning out 3,000 pieces per day ensuring a monthly income of around Rs 13,000 per member involved in manufacturing and Rs 1000 per seller. The products would be sold at Rs 20 per pack of eight pieces in the market.
According to Zonal Manager of Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) Bipin Rout, the products would be aggressively marketed among the target groups comprising women in the rural areas, urban slums and other vulnerable pockets where menstrual hygiene is not adhered to in the earnest.
“Even though awareness on use of proper napkins has increased significantly, non-availability of low cost products has become the bane. These products would be specifically marketed among these sections of women. The Federation has already identified seven dealers to not only sell the products but also promote good hygiene practices among the target population,” Rout said.
The products would also be made available to residential Girls High Schools, women’s colleges and Kishori Balika programme beneficiaries. The production capacity would be upscaled in a phased manner on the basis of requirement, Rout added.