Entrepreneur success stories | Kalitasha | LAUNCH.ed

"Simple healthcare and hygiene solutions for women in developing countries."

Liita-Iyaloo Cairney

Liita-Iyaloo Cairney

Liita-Iyaloo Cairney, born in Namibia, moved to Scotland to pursue her PhD in Global Health Policy. Liita wanted to solve the problem that women all over the world – but particularly in her home country – face every month: the recurrent cost of the existing menstrual hygiene products on the market is often prohibitive for girls and women with little or no regular income. Liita founded her company Kalitasha in 2013, and with the help of a SMART proof-of-concept grant followed by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship and private investment, Liita was able to prototype and test her ideas.

According to UNICEF, 77% of girls in Nigeria have no place at school to change their sanitary materials. It is estimated that some girls in Africa miss up to ten per cent of their education because they don’t have access to the right items.

Kalitasha aims to enable women to effectively and affordably manage their menstrual period so that they can find dignity in every day. Through a series of design iterations and prototypes, Liita has developed a product called Koree, an externally worn and reusable menstrual hygiene device that provides both functional and psychological protection against menstrual leakage onto garments. Manufactured in the UK, Koree protects against leakage through a unique two-part system: a shell and a removable absorption pad. The Koree will initially benefit users who are generally unable to afford the hygiene products currently available on the market or who have restricted access to these products. In addition to this product, Koree is a character on the educational website; Firstperoid, a platform to inform, educate and remove the taboo around the menstrual cycle.

Currently, Koree Kits are being piloted in Zambia, Ghana, Rwanda and Uganda where local teachers are rolling out the trail to school girls.

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