SHE Rockstar of the Month: Tash McCarroll

Editor's note: It's time to debut SHE's Rockstar of the Month. Team SHE is more than our staff; it includes amazing volunteers that share their expertise to help further SHE's mission. Photographer Tash McCarroll ( joined our staff in Rwanda for a few weeks to capture our work in action during our industrial-scale pilot. Learn more about her time with SHE from the trailblazer herself:

"In my short time with SHE, I experienced the lengths they go to in order to educate, inform and reach as many women, men, boys and girls in Rwanda as possible. My first day with the SHE team we traveled for three and a half hours to the South West of Rwanda to a UN Refugee camp with 17,000 displaced families from North Kivu region in DRC.

The families and women are faced with serious issues of safe hygiene and sanitation with few toilets and lack of running water to many areas of the camp. The toilet facilities like many UN camps are simply constructed tarp longdrop toilets with limited privacy making menstrual health management very difficult).

In a small room 4 x 10m over 30 women tightly packed in with as many babies on backs, knees and 'boobs' to hear the SHE team deliver their important message. While the number was limited due to the size of the space available women had been gathered from different areas of the camp so they could go back and educate others with what they had learnt.

There were many more curious ears and eyes peering and listening from the door, along with several male leaders from the camp. The room was filled with anticipation, ears and eyes fixed ready to absorb any information. Julian delivered information DEBUNKing myths and beliefs around menstruation, educating on what the menstrual cycle was and why both men and women need to have information on this topic.

When Gerardine stepped up with her 'bag of goodies' to show and give demonstrations on use of various types of sanitary items a lot of excitement filled the room and many of the men who were outside came into the room for closer inspection. The room filled with  side conversations, laughter, and then many questions about the various items shown and how they really worked.

'Can I go out and visit someone with a tampon inserted?'
'How does it stay in once its inserted?' 
'Won't it fall out?', 
'Can a teenage girl and a married women use a tampon in the same way?' 
'Could a female condom then be used as a method for menstrual management?'
The SHE team members answered the questions with calm words, sincerity and clarity that the women were relieved and thankful for their time and knowledge gained.

The second time I went with the SHE team we visited the South East of Rwanda and started on a schools education project. This photo series takes you through some of the events on that day with the two schools and children that we met. The remainder of the week they were meeting 8 other schools groups in the district, leaving me confident of the education that so many children who will be better equipped to deal with their own or daughters' menstrual health/hygiene in the future."

SHE Advocacy and Policy Manager, Jackie Mupenzi, delivers information to a group of 250+ students from Kabilizi school, Ngoma District, Rwanda

SHE Junior Marketing Officer Geraldine shows students a sanitary pad and explains how to use it

SHE's newest team member, Health and Hygiene Officer Nadia Hitimana, shares a fun moment with the students when someone answers a question correctly

A student stands to ask one of many questions during the Menstrual Health & Hygiene session. The school children asked many great questions surrounding menstrual health.

A young male student comes up to show what he has learnt about the reusable cup and proudly shows his classmates 

Students gather with great interest as SHE's Jackie and Geraldine show students how a sanitary pad works by pouring some water on it to show absorption

Jackie gives her piece on why menstrual health and hygiene education is important for both boys and girls and DEBUNKs some of the beliefs students have around menstrual cycles.

Gerardine uses a resource in the classroom to answer a question from a student about the days of the menstrual cycle.

Girls and boys students sit focused for over 2 hours receiving information, asking & answering questions and interacting with the SHE Team

SHE Soiree in Second Life!

There ain't no party like a SHE Party, and thanks to SHE trailblazer and supporter, Jessi Kane, SHE was in the house in Second Life. Jessi and her friends hosted the first-ever SHE Soiree in Second Life on St. Patrick's Day and raised funds and awareness in the virtual world!

They will continue to raise funds for SHE, so join them! Check out the photos from the event below:

An end to value-added taxes is in sight!

Jackie, SHE's Advocacy Guru and Senator Nyiramilimo
Dear SHE supporters,

Allow me to introduce you to Nyiramilimo Odette (pictured at left), a Rwandan Senator and a member in the East African Legislative Assembly. This leader is special in every way, indicated by her listening skills, professionalism, and the fact that she is a woman of action!

As SHE's Advocacy and Policy Manager, one of my objectives is to instigate national policy makers to pass legislation waiving taxes on menstrual pads to ensure girls and women access to more affordable products.

My colleague Julian and I met this leader with a purpose of raising awareness not only about the value-added taxes on pads, but also to share SHE's mission and vision. Thankfully,
 she responded that SHE “ is preaching to the converted” because she well understood the issue and how lack of access to pads and education negatively affects girls’ education. 

During our meeting, Odette came up with an exciting idea to table a motion in their next parliament forum with the rest of East African parliamentarians that will be held in April that will bring up the issue of lack of affordable sanitary pads, and how the removal of taxes in the region, will greatly benefit girls and women. Once the motion is presented, a report will be given to the Cabinet ministers asking them to implement our ideas into action and policy. This is a great step forward!

In addition to the face time with politicians, SHE is also conducting menstrual hygiene awareness with girls and boys. I joined my colleagues, Nadia, SHE's Health Trainer, and Gerardine, SHE's Junior Business Development Officer, at one of our trainings with 8 schools in the Ngoma district of the Eastern region. Our goals were to break the silence around menstruation and to also enable the head teachers to request for an increase in school's budget for girls’ sanitary pads. 
Jackie, at left, and Gerardine, pouring water on a sanitary pad to demonstrate absorbency to a group of girls

This was my first time joining my team at one of these trainings, and I was surprised that their level of menstrual health and hygiene is still low. Can you imagine a P6 student ( age 12) girl asking us "Do white people, I mean girls, also get menstruation like African girls?"  It was an unbelievable question, but shows the pervasiveness of menstrual taboos, the lack of knowledge that girls are receiving at school, and the cultural silence that still exists at the primary school level. 

We really still have a long way to go, so please join us on this journey as part of the SHE Team.

- Jackie, Advocacy and Policy Manager

Are you the next Steven Spielberg or Safi Faye? Join SHE, Rwanda as our Videographer!

Join us in our Rwanda office on a short-term contract basis in Spring 2013 and help shape the visual voice of SHE as our videographer! SHE is looking for a videographer to film and document our team at work with a focus on the launch of our industrial-scale manufacturing of our first product, a menstrual pad. The video will not only feature our team at work, but the communities and groups we are partnering with, which includes banana farmers, schools, school girls, and NGOs.

The footage will be used to produce a 2-3 minute video about SHE Rwanda to be shared on a variety of digital platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.) as well as DVD.

The shoot will begin in April and will end by mid-May, 2013 and will occur in Kigali and Kayonza districts. We are seeking candidates currently based in Rwanda.

The videographer will be responsible for the entire video production process, including:
      Coordinating all pre-production and production activities with the SHE staff
      Organizing and directing video shoots
      Conducting and transcribing interviews
      Handling post-production workflow and delivery of broadcast quality videos to SHE staff and video editors
*SHE will work with you to set up a shoot schedule to obtain all of the video and/or photo shots needed. Travel across Rwanda is required.   

● Experience working with non-profits/community-based organizations
● At least three years of video production experience and a solid working knowledge of the entire production process, from pre-production through online distribution.
● Experience shooting video on assignment, in rural and urban areas
● An advanced understanding of non-linear editing and suitable software.
● Understanding of preparing video for several different forms of playback, including DVD and Web video (Vimeo, YouTube).
● Must have an HD camera
● Must have a laptop computer with video editing software, including but not limited to, Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, and motion graphic software such as Motion or After Effects for creating dynamic text and special effects
● Transforming creative ideas into practical reality
● Being highly organized: prioritizing and planning activities that take into account factors such as deadlines and coordination of staffing and resources
● Must be physically able to do heavy walking
● Adopting a range of styles, tools, and techniques appropriate to the audience, the nature of the information, and the situations
● Working independently
● Being highly attentive to the details involved in all aspects of the production process
● Has knowledge and/or experience with acquiring photo, audio, and video release forms from subjects.
● Also, a degree in video production, motion graphics, video journalism, or a closely related discipline would be a plus

How to Apply:
      Please take a look at our website and current video ( If you believe your skills and interests align with our needs, please send your resume, links to video that you have produced, and a brief note of interest to Connie Lewin at

St. Timothy's Visits SHE in NYC!

Editor's Note: SHE loves spreading awareness about the SHE28 campaign and we love it even better when the audience comes to us. Students from the St. Timothy's school in Baltimore visited the SHE offices in NYC. Ali Sugarman, a junior, writes about her time at SHE.

On Tuesday, March 12th, my 11th grade class came to New York to visit Elizabeth and Connie in the SHE's offices in Soho. Little did we know that behind the walls of an office building is an incredible effort to make sustainable sanitary pads affordable for all. 
Founder Elizabeth Scharpf describes the SHE28 campaign 

St. Timothy's students watch the SHE28 campaign video

After our class learned all about the lack of affordable sanitary pads in Rwanda from Elizabeth, we were challenged by the SHE team to create a marketing campaign using viral marketing tactics that would be both low cost and efficient. 

Brainstorming how to make the SHE28 campaign video viral

Ali presenting her 1-minute pitch to her classmates and SHE Team

The ideas behind these viral campaigns were cool and creative. Maybe you'll see some of them used for SHE campaigns in the future - I love the idea of designing of designing  a maxi-pad dress! Thank you to Elizabeth and Connie for hosting us, it was a great morning. PERIOD.

- Ali

Are you our next Business Strategy Wizard?

Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), recognized by Harvard Business School, Echoing Green, and Bill Clinton as an innovative social enterprise, aims to drive social and economic change through sustainable business development in emerging markets. SHE’s first initiative, SHE28, is addressing girls' and women's lack of access to affordable menstrual pads often leading to missed school and/or work. SHE is stemming these significant costs by developing a franchise model, coupled with health education and advocacy, to manufacture and distribute affordable, eco-friendly menstrual pads for girls and women by sourcing local, inexpensive raw materials (e.g., banana fibers).

SHE is an entering a period of scaling up its operations, currently based in Rwanda, globally and is looking for an individual or a team of all-star graduate students or working professionals to lead key internal strategy and business development projects.

Business Strategy Wizards

SHE is seeking passionate and talented individuals to work as strategic advisors to our senior management team. Our Business Strategy Wizard(s) will work on one of SHE’s high-impact consulting projects that address critical capacity building challenges faced by SHE, as it seeks to scale its operations globally in the next five year. Each consulting projects is a market opportunity with strong growth potential that requires further market analysis, due diligence, and go/no-go recommendations.

Business Strategy Wizards will focus on one of the projects listed below:

  • Developing detailed financial models and valuation scenarios for strategic initiatives that will best prepare SHE for growth and global expansion 
    • Research and valuation models to be presented to SHE's senior management 

  • Providing a go/no-go recommendation to SHE’s senior management team on whether to pursue developing a new menstrual product for a new geographic market; project includes qualitative and quantitative research that includes, but is not limited to developing a detailed understanding of the target market, volume forecasting and a go-to-market strategy

Research to last no longer than 3 months, and to ideally begin in mid-May 2013, but to last no longer than August 2013, depending on the start date.
  • MBA, MPA, or other related graduate degree. Candidates who do not have a graduate degree but have significant related work experience in marketing, management consulting, extensive international development, social entrepreneurship or other relevant industry 
  • Strong work ethic and ability to self‐manage. High attention to detail and excellent time management skills are necessary. 
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. 
  • Strong Excel skills required. Financial modeling experience a plus. 
  • A sense of humor!
Compensation and Benefits:
  • Monthly stipend 
  • One of a kind opportunity to be a part of a growing social enterprise and develop an insider’s experience into the social enterprise industry! 

Application Process:

To apply, please submit your resume and a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the mission, values, and activities of SHE to by June 5, 2013. In the e-mail subject line please write “Business Strategy Wizard”

The Name Game - be careful what you call it!

Dear SHE Trailblazers, 

We are in the last mile of launching our industrial-scale production, which means that we are in the thick of designing a brand identity of our SHE pads here in Rwanda. While the team has finally decided on our brand (you'll have to wait for the official debut); here is some food for thought.

I and the entire SHE team have been engaging ourselves in determining a brand name for our menstrual pads. 

We tested a variety of our brand name ideas amongst our target consumers - rural schoolgirls - and it was amazing to witness their responses to our name ideas. I'm curious to hear what you would call our pads that were produced with such unique innovation, and no, BananaPads are not an option!

After testing our brand name, I came to notice the importance of brand naming while walking down the street in Kigali. I noticed a shop called the "One Stop Shop Centre." I have never seen a shop like this here and was curious enough to enter, especially because it looked way to small to carry all the things one may need.

When I entered the shop, I walked up and down the aisles and saw that this shop had nothing more in stock that a regular corner shop: from bread to milk to juice and toiletries.  I asked the owner why he called his store a "One Stop Shop Centre," since it does not have everything. He replied that it has "everything that you need', to which I replied, no it doesn't because I cannot buy a mattress from this shop!

My point is often times we just pick names, whether it's for a person or a product, with any consideration of how it will be interpreted by others and what type of impact it will have on the user or the person reading it.

I learned a few lessons, watch out for the names that pop up next.

Julian Ingabire
SHE Rwanda COO