Adopted Experiment

[Adopted Experiment] Problem Definition Female Sanitation Malawi July 2019

This experiment will be conducted in conjunction with "Customer Segment"

Lean Phase: Problem

Question: Are women in urban-rural communities of Malawi prepared to talk about menstruation? What are the challenges they identify? What is their perception of how it affects their ability to learn in and contribute to their community?

Purpose: Empathise with customer segments to define the problem.


  • Women do not have access to adequate education around female hygiene
  • Women do not have access to sanitation resources that are affordable or effective at managing menstruation
  • Women are unable to be productive during their period and either stay home or maintain a low profile

Time Box: 2 weeks

Success Metric:

Whether the proposed beneficiaries (customer segment) identifies with the assumed problem(s).

Understanding of how they define the problem, if there are any further problems and if there is any known channel to finding more people like them.


Green Light: Proceed to validate Unique Value Proposition.

Success point: 60% of those interviewed identify with the problem.

Orange Light: Assess the interview responses and match-up similar responses, reassess assumptions around ‘problem’ and design the next experiment.

Failure Point: Less than 40% identify with the problem, the problem is not articulated/relevant and is not consistent.

Red Light: Assess if any interviews indicate a problem that can be defined. Re-assess customer segment assumptions and experiment. 

Experiment build:

  • Ensure an all female team when engaging with women on the topic of sanitation,
  • Create an interview script that approaches the topic in a sensitive manner,
  • Conduct rehearsals and training with the field guides on how to behave and what the best way to ensure comfort with the proposed interviewees,
  • Conduct 50 interviews with assumed early adopters (see Customer Segment (A)) to define the problem as they see it,
  • Describing the problem and hinting its solution in a way that inspires curiosity in our customer segment,
  • Post-interviews: collate data and create problem definition.

Key focuses and questions that would be asked (on top of general demographic questions, such as, household size, income, occupation, age etc.):


Do you menstruate? Can we talk about it?

What do you use to manage your menstruation cycles?


How much does one pack of pads cost?

How long does one pack last?

How many pads in one pack?


Do you use the same rags again?

Do you maintain the rags or throw them out?

How expensive is it to maintain the rags?

How long does it take you to wash and dry your rags?

Do you dry your rags in the sun? 


What do you have to do differently when you’re on your period? (meals, family, church etc etc)

Do you notice that some days are heavier than others? (If no - potentially need to incorporate education aspect into a marketable product)


Do you go to work/school while on your period/menstruating?

On average how many days of school/work would you miss?

What would you need in order to go to school or work during this period?

  • (If yes) What is it that makes you comfortable to go to school/work?
  • (If no) Why don’t you go to school/work during this period?  


Would you prefer colourful or black underwear?

How often do you wash your underwear?

Do you dry your underwear in the sun?

If no, why?

  • Embarrassed,
  • the husband doesn’t like it,
  • <third reason>.


How much is spent per month on sanitation?

Andrew Vild 1 month ago

Status label added: Experiment adopted

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