The impact of Supreme's work reaches far.
The accessibility of sanitary pads, the provision menstrual hygiene education and the support of the local economy impacts not only women and girls, but the entire the population.
When barriers are lifted and dignity restored, women and girls are able to participate fully in school or work. This affects themselves, their families and generations to come greatly. Supreme contributes in closing the gender inequity gap, enhancing public health and alleviating poverty in rural Northern Malawi.
Impact on the (local) economy
Supreme is a social business with the aim to apply business strategies to maximize impact on human and environmental well-being. The focus lies on creating impact rather than personal gain and profits.
This means that 100% of the profit is reinvested in the company. Supreme supports the (local) economy in many ways: local women produce the products, we purchase our materials locally, local rural shops sell the pads to a population that otherwise would not be reached and the women and girls who use our products are able to work and go to school, which supports their economic and social power.
Impact on social restrictions
Taboos and cultural restrictions surrounding menstruation exclude women and girls from many aspects of social and cultural life. Such taboos include not being able to touch animals, water points, or food that others will eat, exclusion from religious rituals, exclusion form the family home and sanitation facilities. As a result, women and girls are not able to participate in society and are often denied access to water and sanitation when they need it most.
The lack of sanitary products often confines women and girls in their home, unable to participate in society.
Well designed and appropriate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and products that address menstrual hygiene can make a significant difference in the ability of women and girls to participate in society.
Impact on education
The accessibility of reusable sanitary products empowers Malawian girls to attend school with dignity and protect them from adverse health outcomes.
Malawian girls have a lower attendance and many drop out of school due to the lack of sanitary products. Interventions such as access to reusable sanitary products increase the years of schooling which has have important secondary health outcomes, enhances girls’ economic potential over the life course, impacts population health outcomes, and also extends to girls’ sexual and reproductive health outcomes, self-esteem, and sense of agency.
Females that stay longer in school are associated with; reduced maternal death, improved population health, increased contraceptive uptake, decreased fertility rate, improved child health, increased vaccination rates and decreased HIV infection rates.
Many schools lack the proper facilities to support adolescent girls or female teachers in managing menstrual hygiene. Inadequate water and sanitation facilities, make managing menstruation challenging. Poor sanitary protection materials can result in infections, discomfort and blood-stained clothes causing stress and embarrassment. Teachers (and male members of staff in particular) can be unaware of girls' needs, in some cases refusing to let them visit the latrine.
As a result, girls have been reported to miss school during their menstrual periods or even drop out completely.
Impact on health
The use of proper sanitary products protects women and girls form adverse health outcomes. Menstruation is a natural process; however, if not properly managed it can result in health problems such as infections in the reproductive tract system. The impact of poor menstrual hygiene on the psycho-social well-being of women and girls (e.g. stress levels, fear and embarrassment, and social exclusion during menstruation) should also be considered.