After finishing in the Top 20 of the MIT Solv[ED] Youth Innovation Challenge, The Pennington School’s Women in STEM Solving Problems (WISSP) club has been chosen as a finalist in HP’s Girls Save the World contest.
This subset of MIT’s competition focuses on the intersection of gender and climate change, and invites students ages 13-18 to submit ideas to address an environmental issue in the community.
WISSP’s submission, entitled “Hybrid Sanitary Napkin for Economic Change,” detailed the initiative they have been engineering since spring 2019: a part disposable/part reusable product. This hybrid design keeps menstruating girls in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi from missing school while also offering refugees the opportunity to work towards economic independence through the making and selling of the reusable pads, according to information provided by the Pennington School.
As well as the educational and economic impact of this product, the part disposable/part reusable design allows the women to use less water for washing and creates less waste overall. Due to limited water resources and access to safe waste disposal in the refugee camp, these aspects also benefit the environment and community there as a whole, according to the statement.
The students involved in the project will attend an MIT online finalists camp in May, where winners will be announced. The prize for the winning team is a $10,000 donation to their initiative, funded by HP.
The faculty advisor for the group is Susan Wirsig, the director of Pennington’s Applied Science Certificate Program.