Entrepreneurs Everywhere

January 21, 2010
Kigali, Rwanda

Greetings SHE’ers,

It’s been a busy and exciting week in Rwanda. We went to a really fascinating entrepreneurship gathering on Monday evening sponsored by JCI – the group has a creed that everyone was asked to say together standing up (which started to give Elizabeth SHE ideas, until Julian and I gave her a don’t-abuse-your-power look). So after we all sang/stated the creed, there was an initiation ceremony for the new officers and board for 2010. Over the course of the evening, there were some interesting motivational type of speakers that talked about the importance of development in Rwanda: one of the biggest goals for the country is to increase the amount of jobs available in the formal sector (to 1 million, the speaker said).

One of the things that drew me to SHE was how many different aspects of development it contributes to – from curbing infections related to using rags to helping girls continue to attend school to helping women start their own businesses that they then expand and use to create local jobs. It’s a powerful idea, and I look at the two women that I work with each day and now that these are the women are quietly making big things happen.

Keep reading and commenting please,
Fatima

Julian kicks off the year with SHE Full House

January 19, 2010
Kigali, Rwanda

Hey guys, sorry I have been quiet but that’s because I did not have anyone to SHE talk to over the break. That’s not going to happen again, as I started off with a ‘SHE full house’! So, with me now, is Fatima, who is already doing a great job at not only getting us up to google-everything speed, but also developing a new and improved Monitoring and Evaluation plan that we are ready to run with all around the country (see our planning picture below!) and yours faithfully-the founder, who flew in to wish me ‘Joy in the New-year’-I needed it. I guess with my SHE chair full, I will be ready to rock and roll!

















However, just to fill you in on what I have been up to: (Oh by the way , if you did not have your share of the ‘Health and Hygiene training’ in 2009, sorry because ‘I have gone commercial’, no more free lessons. Just kidding.)
So I have had the pleasure to not only Train 50 CHWs on ‘Health and Hygiene and business skills and inventory management’, but also been a guest speaker at ‘GLO Peace Camp' organized by the US Peace Corps, OTF ALCP entrepreneurship class for young and upcoming entrepreneurs, PSI Youth Centre staff (social marketing/health org), not to mention what will be in my next blog. Watch out for the 2010 action, I might as well be training H.E’s around the globe, you know we are dealing with a global issue right?
I will see you next week-- be sure to watch this space.

Julian, SHE Chief Operations Wizard

Taking a Page from Ferris


January 18, 2010
Kigali, Rwanda

SHE is the Vespa of social ventures—quick moving, gets the job done well, without the heavy price tag and baggage (oh, and we like to think we look good in baby blue too!). But sometimes when you have what seems like an unending list of things to do in what seems like so little time, we should take Ferris Bueller wise words to heart,

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

Who wouldn’t listen to Ferris? In fact, let’s take a look around right now. By the end of 2009, SHE has
• 50 new trainers trained in health + hygiene who have each committed to training 100 community members in health + hygiene, bringing us to 5,000 newly educated in the country of Rwanda
• 50 sole-proprietor distribution businesses up and running, equipped with simple business skills (e.g., inventory management, bookkeeping) who are selling sanitary pads at 15% less than the cheapest available option
• Patent-pending technology that takes locally available banana fibers and makes into absorbent material, creating jobs for hundreds of farmers, a promising sustainable manufacturing business, and product 35% less than cheapest available pads.

Here’s to looking around in 2010!

Elizabeth

Welcome to Rwanda, Fatima!

12:34 January 14, 2010
Kigali, Rwanda

Fatima Sabar, SHE's trailblazing Fellow, has arrived in Rwanda to make things happen. She's no stranger to SHE, having helped draft the hygiene curriculum used to train hundreds already in Rwanda. Following in the footsteps of the great Stanford dropouts like the Google founders, she's taking time off from school (don't worry Fatima's mom, she'll make graduation!) to bring ideas to life. Meet Fatima now!

Fatima video

Muraho from Rwanda! Life is exciting here - I’m writing from Shirley’s inzu where across from me is Julian (SHE Operations Wizard) translating a community healthcare worker feedback from kinyarwanda to english in between answering calls to plan important meetings, and next to me is Elizabeth (SHE Chief Instigator) working on product development. What am I doing, you might ask, as my colleagues are hard at work? I, dearest SHE followers, am taking a break from redesigning a monitoring and evaluation system. Soon I’ll be out in the field talking with community health care workers (in the company of someone who can go between english and kinyarwanda, as my learn-10-words-each-day regimen has failed me in effective communication thus far) and meeting the women and girls who are learning about menstruation and general health and hygiene, and subsequently buying pads. Stay tuned!

Fatima