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Reusable cloth sanitary systems for Vanuatu

Another micro enterprise developed by Lav Kokonas with the support of Days for Girls New Zealand.

Many of the projects I run in Vanuatu are based around, a “hand up” concept, not a “hand out” and here’s one that you can give a hand to, and it might just help you to have a clean out of excess fabric.

Many rural living women in Vanuatu do not have access to what women in the western world would see as a normal way to manage their monthly period – disposable products.   I have discussed this issue with rural living women in Vanuatu and some who are currently in New Zealand.   A system that is clean, easy to use and reusable would be welcomed by many women.   Of course, there is a major revolution going on in the western world, where women are moving away from disposable sanitary products, due to health concerns, cost and environmental issues.   There is no point re-inventing the wheel, so I approached Days for Girls New Zealand – who have a long history in supporting women all over the world with sanitary needs.   So, in conjunction with Days for Girls NZ  a micro enterprise mixed with “paying it forward in Vanuatu”  is being developed.   Days for Girls have supported Lav Kokonas in finding the correct components to make sanitary items, creating a mix of enterprise and charity.

I will be leading workshops in Vanuatu later this year, showing women how to make washable sanitary items, which they will then sell at affordable prices, to rural living women, and any others that wish to purchase them.  The washable sanitary items have been trialed by a number of ni Vanuatu women currently working in the fruit industry in New Zealand, and their feedback is very positive.  A way of supporting women in both their daily lives and providing an income to many.

Each kit will include 2 shields, with specialist waterproof fabric and 8 liners.   Here’s what the sanitary systems look like.

There are 8 of these provided in each kit.


Cotton fabric is used with a specialist waterproof lining
Shields are made from (where possible) recycled patterned cotton fabric
Reusable sanitary systems
Reusable – Recycling and providing an opportunity for enterprise in Vanuatu


So far we have obtained most of the components we need for this project.  Sewing machine, over locker, specialist water proofing fabric, fasteners and snap “press”, flannelette fabric for the liners and a small amount of dark patterned, cotton fabric for the shields – but we need more of this.

Are you in the Nelson area and have some suitable fabric?

cotton patterned suitable to use for the shields of 1/2 metre or more. (Smaller scraps are not suitable).   If you think you have something that will be suitable, can you please send me a photo of it to inf[email protected] and I will arrange to collect if it is suitable.

My DEADLINE is 25 August so that these items can be sent by ship.


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