Innovations in sanitary pads from water hyacinths

October 8, 2012 · 2 comments

An idea to help women in developing countries | Amanda Lee, Today Online – Sept 11, 2012

SINGAPORE – One had read about the real-life accounts of women in rural areas who were unable to afford sanitary pads, while the other had read about unwanted water hyacinth causing environmental, economic and health problems in many rural areas.

Together, Ms Ho Yen Yee and Mr Andrew Yin, both 22, came up with the idea of producing cost-effective biodegradable sanitary pads for women in developing countries using these unwanted water hyacinth plants.  

Introducing their business – named Innovative and Manageable sanitary Pad (I.M.Pad) – at this year’s Young Social Entrepreneur programme organised by the Singapore International Foundation, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) final year students emerged as one of the four winners at the Pitching for Change forum.

We thought it would be a good idea to incorporate water hyacinth into creating a low-cost and sustainable solution for women in developing countries through the creation of water hyacinth pads, as it would solve two issues at a time,” said Ms Ho.

The team aims to come up with a prototype of the product by June next year and will spend about two weeks in Pune, India in the same month to explore the proposed location for their factory.

They will also meet up with representatives from various non-governmental organisations and women self-help groups to discuss details about the marketing and distribution of their product.

To keep costs low, Ms Ho said the team intends to adopt simple methods of production, as well as develop cost-saving processes to make the product.

With the S$10,000 seed funding awarded after their win at the forum, the team is now looking for research partners.

One of the research institutes the team hopes to work with is the Lien Foundation – NTU Environmental Endeavour (EE2) – the philanthropic arm of NTU’s NEWRI (Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute).

They also hope to work with professors and students from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

aditi de January 10, 2013 at 4:36 am

I have been interested in working for a project to produce affordable and bio degradable sanitary napkins for the urban poor women. I live in Pune and while browsing about sanitary pads made with water hyacinth, I came across your website.
Knowing that you are interested in setting up a plant in Pune, I am very interested in getting in touch with you to be able to discuss this. Please contact me.
Aditi De.


Pankaj January 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Hi All,

It was just simply great to see your story and most fantastic innovation u have given to the developing world. In one shot ur innovation can help acheive two most important a developing nation like India is facing today. I am from Pune and would like to associate with you to take this forward. you can contact me for the same and would be extended all possible at all times.
Thank You!


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