Innovation That Matters

Sanitary pad franchise creates jobs & improves lives


According to research carried out by SHE — Sustainable Health Enterprises, around 50 days of school or work are missed by girls and women who don’t have access to sanitary pads, or can’t afford them. Mud, bark and rags are often used instead of mass-produced pads; alternatives that are mostly ineffective, unhygienic and possibly dangerous, especially when combined with lack of clean water. SHE is a social enterprise set up to tackle these problems. Its first franchise was launched in Rwanda earlier this year, and is operated by women who manufacture and distribute low-cost sanitary pads. The pads are made of locally-sourced raw materials such as banana fiber, which stimulates the local economy and keeps costs down. To help future ventures get off the ground, microfinance loans will be offered to women starting up new branches. Training in business skills, health and hygiene will also be available. Convinced that donations aren’t a long-term solution, SHE is applying market-based strategies to social and health problems. Using franchising makes sense: the model can be replicated wherever there’s a need, meaning it can spread quickly and help more people faster, while allowing franchisees to become financially self-sufficient. (Related: P&G helps schoolgirls in Kenya.) Spotted by: Petz Scholtus



Download PDF