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Making A Difference

SHE builds confidence, promotes education, and creates jobs

Elizabeth Scharpf (MBA/MPA 2007)

Elizabeth Scharpf (MBA/MPA 2007) founded a business that improves the health and hygiene of millions of women. But her goal is much bigger: empowering women by fostering entrepreneurship.

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) brings affordable sanitary pads to millions of women in developing countries, including Rwanda, where they miss up to 50 days of school or work per year because women lack access to these basic necessities.

Through her work at SHE, Scharpf has created the enterprise’s first initiative, SHE 28, a franchise model to manufacture and distribute low-cost, eco-friendly menstrual pads by sourcing local, inexpensive raw materials, such as banana fibers. Launched in Rwanda, the businesses are owned and operated by women and can be replicated wherever need exists.

The result is better health and hygiene for women, along with improved access to education and jobs. “Our mission is to invest in people and ideas that are typically overlooked—and often taboo—as vehicles of social and economic change.”

(Published April 2014)

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