In many parts of Africa, especially in West, Central and East Africa, bananas are widely eaten and have significant cultural and medicinal values. Bananas are one of the most abundant, valuable and adaptable tropical fruits in Africa.

In fact, countries like Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda consume up to 45 kilograms per person per year; the highest banana consumption rate anywhere in the world!

Many people think banana stems are good for nothing; they can’t be eaten or used as firewood. Typically, when bananas are harvested, the stems are cut up and abandoned on the ground to rot.

In this short video, you’ll see how a team of students from Europe works with local women in rural Rwanda to transform fibers from banana stems into a very valuable and absorbent material that could be used to make nappies for babies, and sanitary towels for women.

This material, made from raw inputs from banana trees, could help Africans — especially those in poor and low-income households — to buy cheaper and more sustainable nappies for their children, and provide a more dignified option to rags and other infection-prone materials used by rural women during menstruation.

Watch the short video below to see this ingenious technology at work!

Video credit: CCTV Africa