Pad-Up Creations : Washable, durable and affordable products that serve you better

Pioneer in the manufacturing of menstrual hygiene products, Pad-Up Creations Ltd produces and distributes reusable, affordable and body-friendly sanitary pads. The startup’s mission is to fight against the high dropout rate of girls and to contribute to the empowerment of African women by providing sustainable solutions to scourge of menstrual insecurity they face. The company founded by Olivia Onyemaobi has a large distribution network covering 16 African countries, and has developed more than 1,000 outlets run by women.

Please introduce yourself


My name is 威而鋼 om/in/olivia-onyemaobi-a058531b/”>Olivia Onyemaobi, I am the CEO of Pad-Up Creations LTD, a social company producing washable and reusable sanitary pads as sustainable solution for girls and women in rural and low income communities.

What is the story behind your startup?  

In July 2015, there were different reports of sexual abuse of girls in Nigeria. I felt that those girls will also live with the same traumatic abuse experiences that I had as a teenager, so I took my 1 hour break while working in a commercial bank in Nigeria, went round schools, educating and administering therapy on sexually abused girls to help them overcome sexual trauma. A total of 1500 were rehabilitated in 3 months.

 On follow up with them at 3 months, we realized that the girls had returned to the men that abused them sexually. They have excuse that their families where not providing them with sanitary pads on monthly basis and they didn’t want to be bullied when they get stained or have their improvised materials fall off, so they accept offer of pads or cash, in exchange for sex. So I started making research on how to create a sustainable solution to the lack of sanitary pads for girls, especially those in the rural and low income communities in Nigeria, and that was how I started the Pad-Up Creations Limited. This is not just to solve the sexual abuse issues but also to solve the menstrual hygiene issues faced by girls.


Who are your target customers, and what problem are you solving?

My target are girls and women within the ages of 11 to 45, who are predominantly found in the rural and low income communities. We are majorly focused on Africa.

What are your challenges?

Currently, we have systematically dealt with products knowledge and have huge acceptance of the products in 18 African countries. We are currently looking to increase our automation to help us scale up our daily increasing machines.

What is your vision for your start-up? What does success look like?

Our vision is to be among the top 5 companies making sanitary wares in 5 years- “Vision 5 in 5”. Success is our ability to reach 50 million girls and women in the next 10 years.

Why did you apply for NHA? Why NHA and not another accelerator?

Being among the pioneer cohort of the Next Health Accelerator (NHA) is a great privilege that I appreciate. The team were so dedicated to help us understand our problems, redefine our values, and re-strategize on how to accelerate our businesses. There were sessions where HCD was used to help us understand more on the solutions that we create.

What stands out for me was the availability, commitment and the individual attention that was given to every start up that are

What were your expectations, and how was your experience with the program so far?

My expectations were met. I was able to get new network of entrepreneurs in different countries, met new investors and partners.

Have you met someone who inspires you since participating in NHA?

Yes!. I admire Mr. Senam Beheton’s patience and ability to listen in details. I admire all the team members.

What significant progress have you made in your business since joining NHA?

We have been able to implement the suggestions and increased our staff strength to 163 in 3 months. Our visibility has also increased, leading to an increase in our daily purchase orders.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I would like to see an end to hunger in the world.

Do you have any last comment or advice you would like to share with your fellow entrepreneurs?

What drives me on this job is the compassion I have for the rural and low income girls. Compassion is driving me much more than the passion because I believe that passion will fail me when there is no profit but when i remember the compassion i have on the girls, i keep moving to solve the social need.

When you start a business, remember you did to solve a problem and when the problem is still

Research Paper: Reusable Pads Industry in Africa

Africa counts around 350 million girls and women of reproductive age who live with less than $1.90 a day. For women and girls in that population, period poverty is still a significant issue, with comprehensive daily implications. They are unable to afford costly menstrual hygiene products leading to unhealthy period management practices, such as use of rags, feathers, and leaves. They also face strong cultural stigmas and biases relating to menses, which may even result in social exclusion.

Over the past decades, many stakeholders have worked to provide practical solutions to this situation, including governments, international organizations (UNFPA, Unicef, UNHCR, etc.), Non-Governmental Organizations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett Foundation, etc.), and private companies. Among the large array of privileged solutions, reusable pads appear as a remarkable innovation, representing a healthy and affordable alternative for the millions of women who cannot afford the more traditional disposable sanitary products.

The theme of reusable pads has been widely covered over the past years, through academic research papers, press articles, reports, and analyses. However, these endeavors have mostly focused on the social impact potential of the reusable pads. In contrast, Next Health Accelerator and Noru Capital have elected to approach the topic through business-oriented lenses, broadening the scope and understanding of the subject. As a result, the current research paper intends to complement the existing knowledge body with a business analysis, shedding new light to a widely discussed topic, and providing novel data to analyze, to the ecosystem of stakeholders.

This paper is subdivided into three chapters, each focusing on a specific facet of the reusable pads business in Africa. The first chapter emphases on market dynamics (for both disposable and reusable products) and covers sanitary pads market sizing in Africa, business models, and a few success stories on that industry. The second chapter explores the quality standards of reusable pads on the continent and product certification strategies. Finally, the third chapter discusses growth levers and growth strategies for reusable pads manufacturers in Africa.