Grey sponges
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Tanzania: Sponge farms in Pangani feasible?

What is at issue:

In Tanzania, many women have no access to hygiene products. Bandages are more and more available but too expensive for many women. Moreover, in many places there is no adequate waste disposal. Menstrual sponges would be a sustainable solution for building local jobs.


The aim of the project is to enable the population of the coastal regions of Zanzibar in the long term to set up and expand independent small aquaculture enterprises that contribute sustainably to the income of local fishing families and individuals.

What's happening now:

The project ended in 2018.

What we have achieved:

With a test sponge farm a feasibility study was made over more than one year which turned out negative for different reasons:

  • It was not possible to locate enough sponges for the start of test production in Ushongo. For sustainable production, the sponge species to be cultivated must be widespread so that sufficient sponge fragments can be taken from nature to build up a breeding stock without damaging the natural stands.
  • The conditions for sponge farming in the Ushongo/Pangani area have turned out to be miserable. For most of the year, visibility near the coast is poor because the nearby river carries a lot of sediment. Most of the time you didn't see the sponges even in the farm, because the visibility was under 1 meter. For the same reason no living specimens of the selected species could be found in the sea, although they are abundant in dead form on the beach.
  • The selected species and the cultivation conditions on site are not suitable for the production of menstrual and bath sponges for the reasons mentioned above.

We're on it!

Annual report (in German)

More information:

Who has done it