she28: Sustainable Sanitary Products Empower Women in the Developing World

Every year, millions of girls and women in the developing world miss up to 50 school and work because they are menstruating and lack access to the proper sanitary products, which puts them at a severe learning and earning disadvantage. Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) tackles the issue with an innovative market-based solution, countering the long-term inefficiency of the traditional aid model based on donations. They are developing a line of feminine hygiene products using sustainable raw materials like locally-sourced banana fiber and partnering with existing local women's networks for distribution.


Their she28 campaign aims to address the scarcity of affordable, eco-friendly, sanitary products and services for menstruation in the developing world by investing in woman-led and operated businesses in. Each microfinance loan to a female-run business creates roughly 100 jobs and gives 100,000 girls and women access to affordable sanitary pads. Just 12 such franchises could reach a million girls and women.

SHE is the brainchild of Elizabeth Scharpf, a Harvard Business School MBA and World Bank alum whose work on the initiative earned her the prestigious 2010 Curry Stone Design Prize recognizing uses of design that "[improve] people's lives and the state of the world."

You can support the initiative my making a one-time $28 donation or setting up a monthly giving amount – it's an investment of the most rewarding kind.

via Helen Walters

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

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