SHE Goes to Zimbabwe

We’ve made 520,698 go! pads to date and we’re not stopping there!

To keep the momentum going, we traveled to Zimbabwe in May to explore how we could turn what’s typically seen as plant waste into go! pads. We conducted initial fiber testing led by our very own engineer and Technical Director, Leah!


To kick off day one, we met with twenty-nine eager women farmers at the beautiful Magadzire Centre site to test out some new fibers. The farmers made sure to wear goggles to prepare for the messy extraction process ahead. We realized that unlike banana plants in Rwanda, Zimbabwean banana plants are full of water. This means that these varieties can be left out for up to two weeks before extraction. Immediately after extracting the fibers from the banana stems, they were placed in water to prevent discoloration. We then hung them out on a line and later stored them in dry place called a hozi, the word for storage room in the Shona language.



On the second day, our group of farmers grew by ten. They even brought with them five different banana plant varieties that we successful extracted fibers from.

Stay tuned to find out if these new fibers will be suitable for go! pads!





There is still work to be done to make SHE28 possible in Zimbabwe. Repairing the road to the site and building a centrally located banana fiber collection depot are top priorities. Our training could not have been possible without our partners in Zimbabwe. Siyabonga! Maita Basa! (Thank you!)


Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018

SHE celebrates Menstrual Hygiene Day every May 28th, and this year we held our biggest celebration yet.

Boys, girls, and their parents took a spot on the field to learn and break the silence around menstruation. Schools competed to put on the best menstrual hygiene drama skit in the hopes of winning money to improve their school’s girls room.



Miss Rwanda 2018 graced the stage to announce the winners of the competition and encourage girls to not shy away from asking questions about their periods.










Over 11,000 people participated in SHE educational events for Menstrual Hygiene Day, with 4,000 gathering to celebrate on the day itself.  The Ministry of Education was present to support SHE Rwanda’s work in improving girls’ education. Thanks to coverage from Radio Rwanda, our message traveled across the country, reaching 90% of the population of Rwanda.

Interested in being SHE’s next Production Engineer? We’re hiring in Rwanda!


We are recruiting an energetic and commercially minded mechanical engineer to join our core team. The successful candidate will have a proven track record in machine fabrication, small-scale factory setup, and mechanical problem solving. The position will require both hands-on and CAD design capacity. This is an ideal position for a hands-on mechanical engineer seeking to join a growing manufacturing start-up in Rwanda and deliver transformative, global impact. The position will require an intense and creative pace of work, flexibility and resourcefulness, and a keen ability to navigate the cultural and physical aspects of field work. The job will be located in Ngoma district with travel between Kigali to the main office and will report to the Production Manager


Manufacturing duties:

  • Work closely with and help to train quality control inspectors, technicians and production personnel in enhancing the quality and manufacturability of our product.
  • Creating and editing SOP’s and QC inspection documents.
  • Evaluates production processes by designing and conducting research programs; applying knowledge of product design, fabrication, assembly, tooling, and materials; conferring with the existing machine. This often requires creativity and resourcefulness to keep the factory running while waiting for proper repairs or components.
  • Develops Production processes by studying product requirements; researching, designing, modifying, and testing manufacturing methods and equipment.
  • Improves production efficiency by analyzing and planning workflow, space requirements, and equipment layout.
  • Assures product and process quality by designing testing methods; testing finished- product and process capabilities; establishing standards; confirming production processes.
  • Provides production decision-making information by calculating production, labor, and material costs; reviewing production schedules; estimating future requirements after consulting the Production Manager
  • Assist Production Manager in planning, managing and executing production operations.
    • Supervise and motivate production process night & day shift to meet quality and performance standards.
  • Keeps equipment operational by coordinating maintenance and repair services; following manufacturer’s instructions and established procedures; requesting special service.
  • Completes design and development projects by training and guiding shift leads.
  • Maintaining and modifying equipment to ensure that it is safe, reliable and efficient
  • Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.
  • Work with Production Manager to execute the following
    • To identify opportunities for new technical innovations.
    • To provide engineering technical assistance to Rwandan’s production team related to R&D and technical developments for replication of our machinery and existing production process in Rwanda.
  • Assist Production Manager in planning, managing and executing production operations.
  • Supervise production process to meet quality and performance standards.
  • Record all production metrics to report to the Production Manager
  • Read and manipulate models and drawings in CAD.



This role will be particularly suitable for intellectually curious manufacturing or consultant-types that are eager to dive into our production scale up. Previous experience in manufacturing roles is a plus.


Specific experience:

  • University degree, preferably in Engineering or other related.
  • 2+ years’ experience in a R&D, design, or consulting role; experience working with Product design Engineer
  • Solid knowledge of Excel, Word, Powerpoint
  • Fluency in English required
  • Experience with computer-aided drawing such as AutoCAD, Sketchup, Microstation, etc. to generate technical designs
  • Mechanical aptitude, ability to troubleshoot and repair mechanical issues with production equipment and tooling.


Desired experience:

  • Demonstrated experience working with basic shop machines and tools: manual mill, lathe, welders, etc; machine fabrication skills are preferable.
  • Experience in a medium volume, medium-tech manufacturing setting, preferable.


Personal traits and skills:

  • Attention to Detail: As Engineers you need to possess a high level of attention to detail to ensure nothing important is forgotten that could potentially derail the factory.
  • Analytical: you think through problems in a structured way: assessing them quantitatively wherever possible, breaking them down into their component parts, and tackling the highest impact problems first. You are good with numbers, and understand how different KPIs relate to each other.
  • Human-centered design thinking: you can employ a variety of techniques to understand user pain points and design creative solutions from first-principles (not just the way things have always been done). Just as importantly, you can communicate your vision using a variety of tools to a variety of stakeholders.
  • Presentation skills: you can translate complex numbers into language that makes sense to any audience.
  • You deliver and expect the best: At SHE, we all strive to deliver extraordinary work and believe that the work we are doing will benefit millions of people. We also expect others to do the same. You must take pride in owning and delivering your vision, and not be content to just faithfully execute instructions.
  • Desire to learn: You should be able to demonstrate that you know the current state of the engineering industry and can work effectively within it. Anticipate where it might go in the future.



Candidates who fulfill the requirements are requested to submit their Applications (Application letter and resume) to before 23 June 2018.


Do you know SHE’s next team members?

We’re looking for three dedicated superstars to join our team in Rwanda and New York. In Rwanda, we are seeking a Health and Hygiene Manager and an Administration Officer. In our New York Office, we are seeking a Development and Communications Intern. Apply now if you are interested, and please pass on these job descriptions if you know someone who may be interested! The full job descriptions for all three can be found linked below:


Rwanda Positions:

  • Health and Hygiene Manager: We are currently seeking an experienced Health and Hygiene Manager with strong skills to join our growing team. In this position, you will oversee, design, develop, coordinate, and run both large- and small-scale training MHM program. To do so you are required to be strong on Leadership, Government and partners relations. Manager will build on the existing work and experience of SHE- Rwanda to develop creative resources to support the delivery of Menstrual Health Education in Rwanda. The material will be widely used in the whole country by other organizations seeking to improve girls’ and women health through health education and community awareness. The Manager will also be requested to work in close collaboration with the Business team to coordinate and implement larger community awareness outreaches to our pad purchasers to ensure that communities receiving go! pads are also able to access Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) information they need. Click here to read the full job description.
  • Administration Officer: The Administration Officer is responsible for maintaining day to day financial, accounting, administrative and personnel services in order to meet requirements and support service operations. The Administration Officer will report to the Managing Director and she/ he is responsible for assisting with preparation of financial statements, maintaining cash controls , prepare the payroll, prepare the fund request together with the MD and personnel administration (Time sheet , Leaves records) purchasing, maintaining accounts payable and managing office operations. Click here to read the full job description.

New York Office Position:

  • We’re looking for a highly motivated individual who wants to work and learn with our development team for 12-15 hours a week for a monthly stipend. S/he will be responsible for conducting research to support our fundraising and development efforts, help us improve our donor communications, and manage our social media sources. Click here to read the full job description.

Meet a SHE Farmer: Nyiransaba

We’re growing quick in Rwanda! As we reach more and more girls, we also need more banana fiber.  In order to fill this demand, SHE has begun working with a new banana farming co-op in Rwanda, giving 220 new farmers the opportunity to earn over 30% higher incomes.


Nyiransaba is a farmer and a mother of 5 children. She is one of the farmers in the new banana co-op we began working with this year. What does this new opportunity with SHE mean for Nyiransaba?


“The women in my village have a club to help us to save money and every member must pay her share each Sunday. It used to be hard for me to bring my share each week but with the banana stems I extract, I am now paying on time. I also have been able to buy others basic need at home and pay school fees. In fact, I have even bought go! pads for my oldest daughter! I have been surprised that the banana stems we used to consider as waste can be used to produce sanitary pads. We now count banana fibers as money.”




Though she has just started receiving additional income from SHE, the money Nyiransaba is saving will give her and her family financial independence and the ability to get ahead in the future.  SHE plans to bring on one additional co-op by the end of the year.

Want to be our next intern?

Are you a highly motivated individual who wants to work with an innovative, international award winning social enterprise? Can you work on a volunteer basis for 8-12 hours a week in our NYC office? If so, you may be interested in becoming our next Development and Communications Intern! We will work with any candidate to obtain college credit if needed, and this position is well suited for someone enrolled in university and studying a related field.

Responsibilities include:


• Be our sleuth. Conduct research on prospective funders and foundations.

• Show our funders some love. Write thank-you notes to acknowledge our donors.

• Back us up. Edit and proofread documents such as slide decks, communications materials, and proposal materials. Conduct needed research for proposals as needed.

Social Media

• Write on. Research and develop creative content for social media and blog posts.

• Keep the trains running on schedule. Organize social media and blog content into an editorial calendar.

Administrative Support

• Support SHE. Respond to inquiries from account (respond directly or direct inquiries to appropriate staff member, as needed)

• Get to know the database. Enter data into Salesforce as needed.

Our ideal candidate has:

• Great writing and communications skills.

• Organizational skills and the ability to manage time well.

• An understanding of social media platforms and WordPress. Knowledge of measurement tools such as Google Analytics a plus!

• A passion for women’s rights, international health, or social enterprise. The ability to talk about these issues comfortably to produce content consistent with our brand.

• A knack for design, some experience with Adobe Photoshop preferred


If interested, please send a resume, cover letter, and a two-page writing sample in an email with “Development and Communications Intern” in the email heading to


If interested, please send a resume, cover letter, and a two-page writing sample in an email with “Development and Communications Intern” in the email heading to by September 8th.

SHE Stories: Discreet Design

Aimee Sealfon Kassana is a Design Director living in Kigali, Rwanda. She started working closely together with the SHE team and Johnson & Johnson two years ago as both a designer and a design strategist. The SHE Team and Johnson & Johnson design partnership created sustainable design concepts together with key stakeholders, in order to develop more sustainable go! packaging and readily accessible health education. During the decade that she worked for Johnson & Johnson, Aimee says that designing for SHE is the project she is most passionate about and invested in.

1. How did you start designing such culturally sensitive and work? How did you test your designs to make sure they communicated the right messages?

All designers need to be culturally sensitive in order to create materials that are successful. I began working with Johnson & Johnson more than a decade ago as the design director for the Women’s Health franchise. I managed the design and creative direction of the consumer packaging for all of their global women’s health care brands and feminine hygiene brands. Some products play an intimate role in women’s lives, and understanding the appropriate cultural sensitivities and how they differed from region to region — and even country to country — was incredibly important to understand from a consumer insights perspective.

As a designer, I have to gather insights on cultural norms, customs, practices, taboos; how and where she shopped; how she lived, trying to better understand her desires and dreams; mapping her journey and how she interacted with these products throughout her life. These insights were then embedded into the design concepts that were developed, in order to create products that added delight, meaning, or in some ways, improved or positively impacted her life.

To test them, we would create prototypes and share them directly with our target audiences in both qualitative and quantitative groups to gather critical feedback and / or co-create together.

2. What did you learn from this work and how did those lessons affect the final product?

Women around the world ultimately have very similar feelings and frustrations around their intimate health needs. Women are women. Regardless of where they live or their socio-economic status, women struggle with issues of self-confidence and wish they knew more about what was happening to them. Being aware of this has allowed me to create consumer experiences that are more approachable and delightful, more meaningful and authentic.

3. Why does design matter on this project? How does it lead to social impact?

People are inherently visual beings, so I would like to think that good design is important for all projects. However, in this specific case with the development of more sustainable packaging for SHE, we needed to figure out how to create more sustainable packaging that also fit within the consumers’ lives in a seamless manner.

It is really hard to change existing behaviors — for example, trying to get the girls to dispose of their used pads and wrappers in a manner other than throwing them down the latrine would be challenging. Recognizing this need led to the development of PET coated paper for the pad wrappers, which will biodegrade.

4. Tell us about the educational pamphlet you’ve been making for SHE.

As we gathered insights from the girls and women, to gain more perspective around how to create more sustainable packaging, we also learned that the girls had SO MANY questions that were not fully answered from what was taught in a classroom setting. They were intimate questions that they did not feel comfortable asking their teachers or their aunts or older sisters. Thus, the idea to create a pocket-sized, educational pamphlet that could be updated in different versions, was born, as it allowed the girls easy access to all of their most pertinent sexual and reproductive health queries, in a format that was discreet (easy to hide from nosy boy classmates and brothers) but that was also easily shareable with their friends and younger sisters.

How to Build a Production Process That Sticks

Building a sustainable social business comes with many challenges, but the quality of the product itself is one factor that can make or break success. How do we keep producing a high-quality product, and how do we ensure this production can be sustained in the future?

We’ve enlisted Leah Putman, an engineer who brings years of experience working in both American industries and low-resource environments to join our Rwanda team in tackling these challenges.


Quality is Key

In order to have a business that lasts, Leah knows we have to be “producing a stable and reliable product that girls can count on.”  To keep accomplishing this, Leah has begun to work on improving the consistency in our banana fiber supply chain. This can be difficult since rainy season in Rwanda can cause unpredictable downpours that extend fiber drying time by days. Our team will build a storage facility to dry the material at the supplier, which will reduce the amount of time spent on drying and washing of fiber.  In the meantime, 2017 is already on track to be our most productive year yet.


Eyes on replication

SHE is solving a global problem, and we never take our eyes off the big picture, which is the replication of SHE28’s model. With every minor and major step we take in production, we always keep replication and scale in consideration.

On a large scale, we recently implemented some new machinery (pictured above), which our staff affectionately refers to as “The Turbo King Machine.” This technology boosted our production capacity- we’ve made nearly 60,000 pads already this year! In order to recreate this technology, our staff will have an important challenge.

The SHE production team will recreate this technology with parts that are easy to find, replace, and repair locally within Rwanda. If we are able to rely on locally sourced parts, we ensure sustainability and prevent many of the common failures that traditional development projects often face.

But even on a smaller scale, Leah noticed that the adhesive that holds the pads together before they are sealed is currently imported, but could be made locally. She is experimenting with different formulas that would be “easy to use, stick well, cost-effective, and easy to make anywhere.”  Even in her free time, Leah is tinkering with different formulas at her kitchen table.

These incremental improvements will produce big returns. Local sourcing increases our impact on the local economy and lowers our unit costs so that we can reach as many women and girls as possible.