Ensuring that Mozambique’s young women are given the opportunity to truly fulfill their potential without being held back due to lack of education on menstrual hygiene management, was the inspiration behind Wamina. This social entrepreneurship venture, the brainchild of Filipa Carreira, is making a real difference to the lives of the country’s young women.
LoA met with Filipa Carreira last year at the first Lioness Lean In Breakfast event held in Maputo and learned more about this passionate social entrepreneur on a mission.
What does your company do?
Wamina empowers girls, keeping them in school for longer by distributing affordable reusable menstrual pads in rural and peri-urban areas. Wamina also provides self-esteem workshops where girls learn how to manage their menstrual hygiene and to view the period as a normal part of growing up.
"It is a widely known statistic that 1 in 10 African girls quit school because of their periods and many do not attend school during their periods because they cannot afford menstrual products."
What inspired you to start your company?
It is a widely known statistic that 1 in 10 African girls quit school because of their periods and many do not attend school during their periods because they cannot afford menstrual products. This is also true for Mozambican girls, especially those living in peri urban and rural areas. Wamina Pads are a context sensitive and affordable menstrual solution. Ultimately, Wamina Pads allows girls to exercise their right to education and most of all their right to dignity.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
The Wamina Pads are an economic, ecologic, context sensitive, menstrual solution. The Wamina Pads are an innovative high performance textile product with a lifetime of 12 months. The Wamina pads are highly absorbent, practical and discrete so girls can go about their day with confidence. The self-esteem workshops provide age appropriate fact based information about the period and menstrual hygiene while promoting self awareness and feminine pride.
"Wamina Pads are an economic, ecologic, context sensitive, menstrual solution. They are highly absorbent, practical and discrete so girls can go about their day with confidence."
Tell us a little about your team
My office team includes Maura Couto and Mariana Lima. Maura is in charge of our Branding and Image, a Marketing and Communications graduate who after dabbling in the corporate world found a home in our small social enterprise where her skills are bringing about social change and positively impacting the lives of those around her. Mariana is a Psychology student who has touched many girls lives through her educational and self-esteem workshops and is bringing about change from within as the girls are always left feeling more confident to face their daily challenges. Pamela Beltowski is a volunteer who works remotely and has contributed greatly to our work by sharing her graphic design skills with us. Finally, we are currently working with Associacao Yinguissa, a local association made up of 20 youngsters who disseminate information about sexual reproductive health including menstrual hygiene through theater and peer to peer education.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
In 2010 I completed a Masters in Global Security from the University of Sheffield - I was sure I was going to work for an international development organization and who knows maybe the UN! Like most people my age I set off on the internship journey, chasing one after the other, and I even got to intern at UNOPS just like I wanted - but after a little over a year it was time to face facts. It had been a privilege but I could no longer continue to intern and had to get a real job. After sending countless job applications I walked into what at the time was a small environmental consultancy, GreenLight, and forced Boris Atanassov to give me a job. Boris taught me many skills that I still use in my work today, but most of all he showed me the real meaning of entrepreneurial spirit - late nights, work on Saturday, how to deal with unreasonable demands from clients, and how to stand your ground when someone offers you a stable job in a bigger organization. Although I learnt a great deal about environmental sustainability, my passion is people, the give and take dynamics of relationship - it was then that I decided to start my consultancy company FC Consulting that focuses on social impact, gender mainstreaming, and market research. Starting my company was a daunting affair but I never regretted it. Wamina is an internal project that stems from a gap we identified in the market while we were carrying out our consultancy work and the incessant support from family and friends. Today Wamina is a stand alone brand.
"Wamina Pads are a context sensitive and affordable menstrual solution. Ultimately, Wamina Pads allows girls to exercise their right to education and most of all their right to dignity."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
In future I would like to extend our reach to other Mozambican provinces as well as internationally to refugee camps where there is a great need for Wamina pads and self-esteem workshops.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
My work is what I make of it.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
There will always be a million reasons not to do it, so just start.
Contact or follow Wamina
Why LoA loves it….
This month is Social Entrepreneurs Month at Lionesses of Africa, and we love to hear those stories of women entrepreneurs across the African continent who are making an impact and a positive difference in the lives of others. Social entrepreneur Filipa Carreira, founder of Wamina, is doing just that by empowering a generation of young women to fulfill their potential in the world by educating them on how to manage their menstrual hygiene positively. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa