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Title of the Project: Design, Development and Pilot scale installation of a Solar powered Sanitary Napkin Vending machine for rural schools in India

Brief Description

In rural India, a significant challenge exists with regards to the availability and distribution of sanitary napkins, particularly for school-going girls and women. More than 42% of women in India do not have regular access to sanitary napkins, and this issue is exacerbated in rural areas. Urban areas have a 74% higher rate of sanitary napkin usage compared to their rural counterparts, creating a substantial urban-rural divide in terms of sanitary safety.


Government initiatives and various NGOs have made efforts to raise awareness about the importance of using sanitary napkins for women's health. Collaborations between NGOs and government ministries have aimed to make sanitary napkins more accessible in rural areas. However, the primary problem lies in the effective distribution of these napkins. Many times, they are either spoiled or distributed improperly, resulting in some individuals receiving an excess while others receive none at all. This discrepancy in supply and distribution has led to an inadequate availability of sanitary napkins, significantly impacting the health and well-being of girls and women in rural areas. As a consequence, girls often drop out of school due to their inability to access these essential products.


To address this issue, a proposed solution involves the development of a Solar Powered Sanitary Napkin dispensing system for a rural girls' school in Bolpur Santiniketan Ashram Vidyalaya. This remote and underserved area faces challenges in accessing sanitary napkins. The innovative system will not only ensure the timely availability and proper distribution of sanitary napkins for the students and female staff but will also operate autonomously and independently using solar power. An intelligent IoT integrated control system will be implemented to monitor and manage the unit effectively. The system's beneficiaries will include girl students and female teachers, allowing them to purchase sanitary napkins at their convenience. Furthermore, the system will include a mobile charging station powered by solar energy, ensuring optimal utilization of the installed solar capacity.


Existing sanitary napkin vending machines consume a substantial amount of power, which can be a problem in areas with limited access to electricity. The proposed system will bridge this technology gap by introducing a low-power, low-cost sanitary napkin dispensing system. This approach will significantly reduce the cost of powering the unit with solar energy.


The project's objectives are to automate the distribution process, ensure a continuous supply of sanitary napkins using solar energy, replace high-power and high-cost systems with a low-power, cost-effective variant, develop an IoT-based monitoring system, and integrate a mobile charging station.


The benefits of this initiative are manifold. It addresses the inefficiencies in sanitary napkin supply and distribution in rural areas, providing 24x7 access to sanitary napkins. It also offers a solution to charge mobile phones when grid power is unavailable, and the IoT-based monitoring system ensures timely restocking of sanitary napkins. Moreover, the initiative can create opportunities for employment, as the demand for these systems is expected to be substantial, allowing unemployed youth to install and maintain them in rural areas and generate income from their services.

Name of the Principal Investigator: Mr. Anupam Baral


Name of the Co-Principal Investigator: NA

Current Progress in Brief:
The project commenced with a Baseline Survey to evaluate the sanitary health status of rural school girls and identify challenges in sanitary napkin supply. Subsequently, an intelligent control system was developed and integrated with solar, grid, and battery power. The hybrid circuit underwent successful testing to ensure functionality and efficiency. Currently, the Prototype is in the final stages of product fabrication. Upon completion, installation of the machine in targeted areas will follow.

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