Mobile app eases access to sanitary towels in rural Africa

ZanaAfrica, a women-focused nonprofit, has partnered with Chase Bank to launch a mobile app called the Nia Network designed to monitor distribution of sanitary towels across Kenya.

The new platform will register distributors of sanitary towels in addition to displaying an overview of places of distribution to avoid duplication of delivery efforts. Users of the app can access information on places the towels are on distribution.

The sanitary towel distribution initiative began in 2006 when ZanaAfrica’s founder and chief executive, Megan White Mukuria, started a project dubbed the National Sanitary Towels Campaign to help over 800,000 girls access the products. According to a report, these girls missed 6 weeks of school each year as they lacked the towels. Later, the Nia Network was born.

Mukuria has since brought together various organisations and well-wishers to donate the pads to school-going girls. The realisation of this concept only happened when they partnered with Chase Bank.

“It is so important that we know what each other is doing, so that we can effectively reach the girls who need our support,” Mukuria said. “Through registering distributors, we want to create a real-life network to improve practices in distribution and help girls achieve their purpose.”

Duncan Kabui, Chase Bank CEO said: “Partnering with ZanaAfrica ties in to our aspiration of being in the forefront of women empowerment, as women are the core pillar of our society.”

For now, the application, which is downloadable through the Chase Bank Website, will only be compatible with Android powered phones. Upande, a technology-based company that creates Web Mapping and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) solutions to the market place, developed the application.

Chase Bank has been moving towards offering developmental applications. In May this year the bank launched an SME portal for entrepreneurs.

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