Founded in 2015, Saathi changes the lives of women in the State of Gujarat. Producing eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads, the organisation's outstanding work earned them the top prize at the St Andrews Prize for the Environment 2019.
Kristin Kagetsu, Cofounder of Saathi, presented the project to the Board of Trustees at the 2019 ceremony and we caught up with her recently to see how the funding and involvement in the Prize has helped Saathi Pads.
"The Prize money from the St Andrews Prize will enable Saathi to scale faster and reach more women across India and abroad with our innovative product. Beyond the distribution of pads, Saathi plans to host workshops that will combat stigma around menstruation and educate women in India about healthier menstrual hygiene alternatives and practices. The prize money will also help us in launching a new brand. The Prize would thus help Saathi realize its long-term goal to not only increase, but also diversify output to achieve impact and to start more programs like #OneMillionPads in other parts of India such as Uttarakhand, Rajasthan Nagaland, West Bengal and Orisa."
With so many goals already in place for scaling the organisation's efforts even further, Saathi has been making the necessary plans to achieve these.
"Going forward, Saathi plans to hire staff with the required finance, sales, and legal backgrounds to manage increasing sales and production. Scaling means that Saathi will be able to source from more banana farmers and employ more underprivileged women. Saathi will be working on developing distribution channels and strategic partnerships. Encouraged by the great response to our core product, we are planning to reach out to other developing countries too. Saathi is currently working on R&D for new product lines, other sizes and variations of the pad, as well as other absorbents for the new products."
Though the funding Saathi received for winning the Prize has done a lot to help the organisation, Saathi also found value in being able to network with industry peers and all those involved in the St Andrews Prize.
"We are honoured and delighted to have been a part of the St Andrews Prize. The entrepreneur journey can be lonely and it means a lot to be supported by St Andrews which gives prestigious recognition for social and environmental entrepreneurs like Saathi. It has boosted our confidence to fight for social change. It is a privilege to be recognized amongst the top solutions around the world. Saathi is a pioneer in making sustainable feminine hygiene products and the St Andrews Prize is a pioneer in recognising environmental solutions. It is the oldest environmental prize in the world so it adds a feather to our cap and adds value to our operations as we grow globally."
Find out more about Saathi Pads on their Finalist Page.