MEGAN MUKURIA

Zana Africa was founded out of the desire to meet a critical need in Kenya. Megan Mukuria has lived in Kenya and worked with young women since 2001. She saw a systemic lack of access to safe, affordable menstrual products or related health education for 4 in 5 girls and women across East Africa. The resulting negative effects in education, health, safety, and economic security result in trauma and keep girls in a cycle of poverty. Megan saw this need and created Zana Africa, a hybrid social enterprise (a social business and a non-profit). The social business manufactures and sells sanitary pads as a fast-moving educational good to put health education alongside the pad package. 'Nia' sanitary pads have sexual and reproductive educational information on the packaging and are supplemented by Nia teen magazines which feature cartoons of ‘Nia’ and her friends are they experience the trials of adolescence. She also works with NGOs providing school kits.

 

Zana Africa started in 2008 as a small operation, making the products in a blender in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is now an operation with over 20 staff, has IP on its process and products, two offices and a wide range of products, Zana has grown rapidly and is expanding into a number of new fields. They serve about 10,000 girls and women through the market and another 5,000 or 10,000 a month through NGO sales.

 

In 2017, Zana Africa joined the TBN accelerator programme and particularly worked on strategy amongst other learnings; they actually changed their business model based on the process they went through on the course. She says that, 'TBN has hands down been the best accelerator that I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in a lot of programmes. It's really taken us from where we were to really being able to have the tools to go to where we want to be. I think we were a little bit stuck and it helped to get unstuck’.

 

Zana has great prospects for the future, they are expanding their sales, supplying to a greater number of retailers, working with NGOs in other areas such as HIV awareness and are starting to offer free services to girls to connect them to safe people in person and on the phone and via SMS, to connect to safe people, access family planning services. They hope to expand across the region and into other regions in Africa to replicate the entire solution and to increase their great impact.