Our social enterprise of the month for June is SHE
Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)
Are you missing ~50 days of school/work a year?
Maybe you aren't, but millions of girls and women in developing countries are because they don't have access to affordable sanitary pads when they menstruate. SHE are doing something about it!
Who are they?
SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises) was founded by Harvard graduate Elizabeth Scharpf in 2007. SHE is a social enterprise whose mission is to invest in people and ideas that are typically overlooked (and often taboo) as vehicles of social and economic change.
Whilst working for the World Bank in Mozambique, Elizabeth was told by a factory owner that 20% of her employees were missing work regularly, up to 30 days a year, because of menstruation. The reason: pads cost more than a day’s wages.
In 2008, Elizabeth and three MIT students headed to Rwanda with a blender in their backpacks. What they came away with was a sustainable plan to tackle an urgent, global problem: girls’ and women’s lack of access to affordable menstrual pads.
Where are they?
Based in New York and Rwanda, but SHE are selling both their sanitary products, Go Pads, and menstrual hygiene/education training globally.
What they do?
SHE are jump-starting locally-owned franchises to manufacture affordable, eco-friendly, menstrual pads. Coupled with health education and advocacy, they set out to ensure that girls and women will have even more productive lives than before. SHE are debunking myths and taboos about menstruation with their health and hygiene education in schools and in the community.
Why do we like them?
SHE developed a really practical, sustainable solution to a problem that shouldn't even still be a problem in 21st century. SHEs solution is ecologically sound, sustainable and also tackles gender, socio-economic and health inequalities. They talk about what is still a ‘taboo’ subject frankly, raising awareness of this unacceptable problem and providing education and training where it’s most needed. SHE ticks so many boxes.
“IT’S NOT A FAIRY TALE: SHE IS SPINNING BANANA FIBER INTO GOLD.”
If rich, white men had periods, would this be an issue? Just saying…