Franchising Sanitary Pads: An Interview with the Founder of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)

Daniel Epstein January 14, 2010

One of the biggest economic and human costs in the world is the number of women and girls who miss work and school because they can’t afford sanitary pads to protect them during their periods.
Don’t believe me? Watch this incredible 2-minute video.

I was fortunate enough to catch the pioneer behind the idea in this inspiring video. Elizabeth Scharpf founded Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) 2 years ago in Rwanda and now serves as its Chief Instigating Officer (CIO). We had a wonderfully fun conversation over Skype. Check it out!

Video Interview Table of Contents:

  1. What is SHE? (0:01-1:33)
  2. How have taboos around menstruation been an obstacle for SHE? (1:34-5:20)
  3. What has been SHE’s impact to date? (5:21-8:34)
  4. What advice do you have for aspiring social entrepreneurs? (8:35-10:32)

A little bit about Elizabeth Scharpf. Elizabeth is an entrepreneur who has spent most of her professional career starting up ventures or advising businesses on growth strategies in the health care industry.  She has spent time as a strategic management consultant at Cambridge Pharma Consultancy and had stints at the Clinton Foundation in Asia and at the World Bank in East Africa, respectively.  Elizabeth has an MBA from Harvard Business School, an MPA in international development from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a BA from the University of Notre Dame. Despite all the academic acronyms, she thinks her best education has come from talking with those sitting next to her on buses around the world.

Thanks so much to Elizabeth Scharpf for talking so openly about menstruation, sanitary pads, and the impact they can have on the world. Learn more at

written by: Teju Ravilochan (Unreasonable Institute)

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