Progress for social enterprise Lilypads in Zambia after Challenges research

Lilypads Zambia Challenges Group

Lilypads is a Scotland-based social enterprise that seeks to address period poverty. As part of Challenges’ Access Africa Programme, Lilypads had engaged our Accra team to undertake a piece of consumer market research in Ghana and Zambia. This research targeted women and girls of menstruating age, and asked them about their requirements in regards to sanitary pads; whether they would be willing to use reusable pads; and their feelings towards ecofriendly sanitary pads, including how much they would be willing to pay.

Challenges identified a clear market opportunity for Lilypads, and its product and business model.

Lilypads ChallengesFollowing this market research, Challenges then looked at the practicalities of establishing a production and distribution base in a number of different locations, including Zambia. The legalities of producing pads locally, such as the requirements for establishing a factory that produces and distributes sanitary pads, was a key consideration. Costs, employment opportunities and future forecasts were also major factors.

Subsequently, Challenges Zambia engaged both the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) for the standards required for sanitary towels; and the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) as to the legal requirements to establish Lilypads as a company in Zambia that would produce ecofriendly sanitary towels.

Challenges also engaged with a number of potential partners, identifying the One Planet Café Zambia, a business in South Luangwa that produces and exports banana paper branded One Planet Paper. This sustainability focused social business was receptive to partnering with Lilypads to produce ecofriendly sanitary pads.

Challenges is now working to raise capital on behalf of Lilypads in order to run a pilot in Zambia.


The Access Africa Programme

The Access Africa Programme enables Scottish social enterprises and social entrepreneurs to explore and expand into African markets. It provides market research and business development support, funded by the Scottish Government, to enterprises and individuals who have an idea, product, service or model that could make a real impact in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

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Lilypads and Challenges collaborate to help end period poverty

Lilypads Zambia Challenges Group

Lilypads is a social enterprise committed to improving girls’ access to sanitary products and ending period poverty. The Challenges team in Zambia is working with the business to better provide accessible and affordable menstrual health products for women and girls.

As part of our Access Africa Programme, we are assessing demand for Lilypads’ eco-friendly sanitary pads within Lilypad’s target market. Challenges consultants are also scoping the feasibility of a local manufacturing centre in Zambia, which would enable Lilypads to expand its reach and impact.

Meanwhile, Challenges’ Team Ghana is supporting Lilypads to identify a local manufacturing and distribution partner.

Lilypads’ chief exective Alison Woods said: “Working with Challenges has been a brilliant opportunity. They provided thorough market research and recommendations to enable us to evaluate what the best next step is for Lilypads.”

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Giraffe Health partnership could provide personalised physiotherapy to Ghanaian patients

Giraffe Healthcare Ghana Challenges Group

As part of our Access Africa Programme, we’ve forged a series of positive partnerships with social businesses, including Giraffe Health, a healthcare enterprise based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Giraffe provides an e-health platform that delivers high quality, personalised healthcare programmes backed by expert advice and support. We’re working with the team to identify whether there is a market for its healthcare platform among urban-based physiotherapy services in Ghana, while also providing additional insight into other potential markets and applications in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Giraffe platform means patients can directly connect online with physiotherapist, enabling real-time data-capturing and sharing, and promotes better home care through tailor-made exercise programmes. It’s been designed for people who have difficulty accessing traditional face-to-face clinical services, whether that’s due to work commitments, rural location, specific cultural and language issues, transport problems, mobility limitation, or other health issues such as fatigue.

We’re working with Giraffe’s medical specialists Professor Lorna Paul and Dr Elaine Coulter to identify whether there is a market for its healthcare e-platform among urban-based physiotherapy services in Ghana, while we’re also providing additional insight into other potential markets and applications in sub-Saharan Africa.

Giraffe is a social enterprise spin-out from Glasgow Caledonian University, and won the Converge Challenge Social Enterprise Award in 2017.

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