The Flo Kit Could Provide Sanitary, Reusable Pads To Women In Need Around The World

In many countries, access to disposable menstrual products is extremely limited, and with the stigma surrounding menstruation in many cultures, being discreet is far more important than women's health. One group of art students, however, aims to change that with the Flo kit, which could provide sanitary, reusable pads and the means to clean them discretely to women in need around the world.

Students at the Art Center College for Design in Pasadena, California, have designed a cheap, simple tool that allows women to inconspicuously wash and dry the cloths they use for menstrual blood. According to Tech Insider, the system is relatively uncomplicated: First, women place the rag inside a basket, which sits inside two plastic bowls held together with nylon string. When the string is pulled, the bowls come together to form a makeshift washing machine that uses half the amount of water and detergent of manual washing.

Of equal importance is the fact that Flo's opaque bowls also hide their contents from sight, which allows women to wash their rags without fear of being seen. In developing countries, the stigma surrounding menstruation is often so pronounced that girls are forced to skip school or even drop out completely due to their periods.

Products like menstrual cups are slowly making their way into some developing regions, but all too frequently, women still make do with whatever they have at hand: Rags, banana leaves, or even sand and ash, the Huffington Post reports. At less than $3 per kit, Flo provides an option for women and girls to use the tools they already have at hand, just in a more sanitary way.

The product even lets women dry their rags discreetly — cloths are often stuffed into mattresses or left on roofs to air out after being washed, but the creators of Flo suggest leaving them in the basket to dry. If users are worried about hiding their rags, they can tie burlap around the basket to hide the contents from view while still allowing it to dry without fear of bacteria growth.

Unsurprisingly, Flo is already receiving acclaim. It was one of 81 winners of this year's International Design Excellence Award, and the creators are now working with students at the Yale School of Management to form a business plan.

Can I get a praise hands emoji? I just love the sound of ladies helping ladies in the morning.

Image: Mariko Higaki Iwai/Behance; Giphy