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What we do

Cloth pads

Sexual Health and Entrepreneurship in One Package

In Somaliland, extreme drought and water scarcity are making life difficult for people. Climate extremes, poverty, and inadequate healthcare particularly affect the lives of girls and women. Taking care of hygiene during the menstrual cycle is nearly impossible without clean water and proper supplies.

Lack of menstrual products forces women and girls to resort to using things like newspapers, plant leaves, and socks during their periods. Not everyone has this option, which can result in difficulties, even preventing them from going to school.

Missed school days lead to delayed education and even school dropout. Lack of education deprives many women of the opportunity for independent livelihoods, perpetuating a cycle of inequality.

Reusable cloth menstrual pads are washable and can be used again. They are an essential part of menstrual health in areas where proper menstrual products are not always available. That’s why International Solidarity Foundation, in partnership with the local organization SOYDAVO, is starting a project in Somaliland to explore the possibilities for women living in the Buraon refugee camp to earn income by sewing reusable cloth pads.


  • Mapping the sewing of reusable cloth pads as an entrepreneurial opportunity for internally displaced women.
  • Providing girls and women with menstrual products that meet hygiene standards.
  • Developing climate-resilient solutions to improve menstrual health.
Nainen kaataa vettä vesiastiaan
In Somaliland, water scarcity is a significant challenge, and the fifth consecutive failed rainy season is further exacerbating the situation.



School dropout rates decrease.

Reusable cloth pads made from fabric are a crucial resource for impoverished girls and women. They enable girls to continue attending school even during their periods, preventing them from being left behind in opportunities.


Girls’ and women’s menstrual health improves.

When an adequate supply of hygiene-standard reusable cloth pads is available, girls and women no longer need to resort to makeshift alternatives that increase the risk of infections. Hence, reusable cloth pads enhance menstrual health.

As an indirect consequence, reusable cloth pads also improve family dynamics by alleviating the concern about menstrual products and the financial strain associated with acquiring them, reducing the burden on relationships between mothers and daughters.


The production of reusable cloth pads offers women a means of livelihood.

Simultaneously, producing reusable cloth pads provides income opportunities for internally displaced women. Manufacturing menstrual pads is a flexible occupation that can be done from home, which is particularly important for women in the region who traditionally bear the responsibilities of family and household duties.


Reusable cloth pads are an eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads made from plastic.


  • Creating a sustainable operational network. In this project – as in all our activities – our goal is to enable operations to run independently and for female entrepreneurs to, along with other local stakeholders, form a network that facilitates the ease of bringing products to the market.
  • To achieve lasting benefits from the project, long-term commitment, necessary resources, and training are essential.

Project details

Location: Burao, Somalimaa

Implementation period: 2023-

Partner: SOYDAVO