Frequently Asked Questions
What does ZanaAfrica mean?
Zana is the Kiswahili word for tool. We chose this name because we’re equipping girls in Kenya with the tools they need to define and step into their own potential. We know that girls are inherently powerful and with the right support, can be equipped to express their purpose in the world.
Where do you work?
We work with girls and community based organizations throughout Kenya with a goal to expand across East Africa and beyond! Our offices are based in Nairobi, Kenya with communications and development officers based in the United States.
Sanitary pads are out of reach for 65% of Kenyan women while there is also no formalized, mandated reproductive health education curriculum for girls that gives them the answers they seek about their changing bodies. The impact of this is evidenced in the numbers: nearly 1M Kenyan girls miss up to 6 weeks of school due to lack of pads and health education, 60% of girls drop out of secondary school, 48% have sex before their 18th birthday, between 12–43% of girls report their first sexual experience was coerced or forced with a partner 4 years older, 47% of teen mothers have unintended pregnancies, and HIV prevalence among women ages 20-24 is 3X greater than that of men.
Moreover, 46% of Kenyans live below the poverty line. By supporting girls who are in low-income situations in this critical moment of puberty enables them to not only attend school, but to perform at higher rates. The more school that girls attend, the better their chance of earning more and transforming their own lives, as well as their family and their community. The World Bank states that if every girl in Kenya were to graduate from high school, there would be a 46% increase in country GDP across her lifetime.
How did ZanaAfrica begin?
Read our Founder’s Story here.
Do you make pads too?
Our partner, ZanaAfrica Group, the business arms of our hybrid social enterprise manufactures high quality sanitary pads and related products designed for women, by women. Their brand, Nia is sold througouht Kenya. To learn more about their products visit: www.zanaafrica.com.
Do you offer reusable products to girls?
Although we educate girls on all their menstrual health options, we choose to support girls with disposable sanitary pads because that’s what girls almost unanimously ask for. We believe it’s important to give girls what they seek and want. Additionally, many girls in Kenya lack the infrastructure and resources (clean water, soap, private bathrooms, etc.) to be able to hygienically manage a reusable product.
Our social enterprise, ZanaAfrica Group, is the only social enterprise globally that offers women and girls a range of reusable and disposable products as it is important to offer women and girls choice in their menstrual hygiene options.
Do you offer tampons to girls?
Although they are available in Kenya, we have not supported girls with tampons, as they are not a widely used product in Kenya, as insertion of products is considered taboo. However, as we believe in the power of choice, we'll most definitely consider moving forward should girls request it.
How old are the girls that you work?
Our programs and content are designed for girls between the ages of 11-14, but we hope as many girls, younger and older, will benefit from our work.
Do you have any programs for boys?
At the moment, our focus is on supporting girls. However, our health education content is designed with the understanding that boys will be “reading over the girls’ shoulders” so we’ve modeled a lot of positive role models with in our Nia Teen for boys as well!