Sanitary pad innovation wins 2019 World’s Challenge Challenge

World's Challenge Challenge medalists

University of Waterloo’s SheCycle project – an initiative to introduce a unique antimicrobial reusable sanitary pad that can be locally sourced and distributed in Uganda – won the 2019 World’s Challenge Challenge, which was held this week at Western University in London, Canada.

Team Waterloo (Canada) delivered their award-winning idea for a solution to a global challenge in the Global Final on Thursday, June 6 in front of a panel of academic and community leaders from Western and the London community and were announced as the winners last night at the World’s Challenge Challenge closing ceremonies.

Gold medalists Anna Kuepfer, Abigail Loewen and Leah Wouda, who share the top prize of $30,000, believe SheCycle will improve health, increase access to education and make work a safer place for women in Uganda.

The silver medalists were Arianna Bacic, Henry Frear and Ishie Sharma from the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Winning $15,000, they developed an eco-friendly loyalty program called Loyal Trees that allows environmentally conscious consumers to make sustainable choices, resulting in the planting of trees to offset carbon emissions.

Olivia Burgner, Abdulrahman Hassaballah and Anish Kirtane from the University at Buffalo (United States) were the bronze medalists and collected $7,500 with their project Numu, which introduces a new protein burger product made of mealworms that will reduce greenhouse gases caused by the cattle and meat-production industry.

All told, 20 student teams from nine countries gathered together in London this week for the international pitch competition and a chance at seed money to bring their world-changing ideas to life.

Outside the Top 3, other competing university teams included:

Bond University (Australia)
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dalhousie University (Canada)
Hirosaki University (Japan)
McMaster University (Canada)
Queen’s University (Canada)
Radboud University (The Netherlands)
University of Alberta (Canada)
University of British Columbia (Canada)
University of Calgary (Canada)
University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
University of Liverpool (United Kingdom)
University of Minnesota (United States)
University of Otago (New Zealand)
University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
University of Tulsa (United States)
Western University (Canada)

Each team advanced to the Global Final at Western after having won competitions at their home universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kris Dundas, Communications & Marketing Manager, Western International, 519-661-2111, ext. 81064, 519-615-9625 (mobile),

Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

Downloadable Media


World's Challenge Challenge medalists
SheCycle (University of Waterloo)
Loyal Trees (University of Auckland)

Numu (University at Buffalo)