Philanthropy Friday: SHE’s Innovative

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Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) is a social enterprise with a mission to invest in people and ideas that are typically overlooked (and often taboo) as vehicles of social and economic change.

How often do you think about the availability of a maxi-pad? If you’re a woman in the US, probably not too often.

Yet every 28 days, million of girls and women in developing countries miss school or work – up to 50 days per year – because they lack access to affordable maxi-pads. Their current options are either too expensive or ineffective.

As part of the SHE28 campaign, SHE has developed a patent-pending, low-cost and eco-friendly menstrual pad called the SHE LaunchPad.

An absorbent core for pads is actually made from banana fibers without using any chemicals or super absorbent polymers. According to the website, “SHE intends to fulfill girls’ and women’s unmet need by helping local women in developing countries jump-start their own businesses to manufacture and distribute affordable, quality, and eco-friendly sanitary pads.”

Angelique Karidi, a farmer, extracts banana fiber from the trunk of a banana tree.

Angelique Karidi, a farmer, extracts banana fiber from the trunk of a banana tree.

An item as simple as a maxi-pad can keep women working, girls in school, and drive economic growth.

SHE is also using a sustainable business model for the LaunchPad that will create economic opportunities all across the value chain – from the banana farmers who will sell their banana fiber to SHE to the women entrepreneurs that will be equipped with business skills training and education to sell the LaunchPads in their communities.

The SHE28 campaign launched in Rwanda in 2009. Girls and women will now have access to a menstrual product that will be priced at 5 cents/pad.

Like what you hear? There are 4 easy ways you can involved with SHE:

  1. Give $28 and support SHE.
  2. Break the silence and go viral — share the SHE28 campaign video with everyone you know!
  3. Get the word out – tell your friends to support SHE on Twitter.
  4. Follow SHE on its websiteblogTwitter and Facebook.

I wrote this post as part of the Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of Mom Bloggers for Social Good members who focus on maternal health, children, hunger, and women and girls. 

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