Our Social Entrepreneurs
Kasole Secrets Company Ltd
Hyasintha Bartholomew Ntuyeko, Founder and CEO
Kasole Secrets makes the Glory Sanitary Napkin, a disposable pad engineered with ultra-absorbent and naturally antibacterial and hypoallergenic bamboo fiber. These biodegradable pads are distributed to schoolgirls at a discounted and affordable price. Through an interactive menstrual health and hygiene curriculum that engages boys alongside of girls, Kasole is challenging period taboos and demystifying menstruation for a new generation.
“Through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator Program, I hope to be connected with other social entrepreneurs and innovators on menstrual health/hygiene issues and therefore get an opportunity to share experiences and learn how to overcome the business challenges based on our local setting. Building a good collaboration with researchers in our innovation will help us to conduct evidenced based research. This will allow us to make informed decisions to increase accessibility and affordability of menstrual products and therefore scale up our innovation in rural communities and hard to reach communities.”
Florence Akara, Regional Director and
Jen Rubli, Research and M&E Coordinator
Femme International seeks to make quality, reusable menstrual products available, accessible, and affordable in local markets, and along the last mile, throughout East Africa. Through a project called the Twende Initiative, Femme takes a comprehensive, community-based, and educational approach to tackle issues surrounding menstruation. Twende ambassadors are trained to engage girls and women on a grassroots level, connecting with community groups and other local stakeholders, and going door-to-door to sell safe and affordable menstrual products, provide health information, and offer support. These frontline ambassadors are destigmatizing periods by dispelling persistent myths and addressing the lack of knowledge that too often hampers women from being healthy and safe during menstruation.
“Through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator Program, we are gaining the capacity and skill to effectively manage and scale our social enterprise idea, the Twende Initiative, that will create a local market for high-quality reusable menstrual products. We are also able to gain the social business/entrepreneurship skills to boost Twende, and make it more fundable.”
Lily Health USA INC
MacGregor Lennarz, Co-Founder
Lily Health is an interactive mobile chat service that provides girls and women in East Africa with private, trusted, and discrete sexual and reproductive health advice. Through messaging on Whatsapp, FaceBook Messenger, and SMS this innovative solution uses artificial intelligence to ensure a personalized experience for every young woman seeking help. Lily Health’s team works to provide a future where all menstruating girls have the information and support they need to navigate menstruation with dignity and confidence.
“Through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator Program, we hope to accelerate our growth via cross pollination of ideas and leveraging the expertise and knowledge available to us.”
Grace Françoise Nibizi, Executive Director
SaCoDé (short for Santé Communauté Développement), is a Burundi-based startup that takes a holistic, wrap-around approach to the menstrual health of girls and women. SaCoDé’s novel innovation is a washable and reusable sanitary pad, branded Agateka, which means Dignity in Kirundi, is uniquely designed with special straps that allow them to be worn with or without underwear. Bundled alongside the product is comprehensive menstrual hygiene management and sexual reproductive health programming for adolescent girls.
“Through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator Program, I hope to upgrade my knowledge in MHH and be able to give back all what is needed for women and girls to live their menstruation peacefully and with dignity.”
Ian Tarimo, Executive Director
The Jali Project, an animation video initiative by NGO Tai Tanzania uses storytelling to change prevailing attitudes and behaviors around menstruation. Geared toward adolescents, the 3D animated videos depict real-life experiences collected from youth in the community, while providing evidence-based menstrual health and hygiene information. These taboo-breaking videos are disseminated widely through school partnerships and social media.
“Through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator Program, I believe I will acquire the necessary skills, knowledge, and network that will empower me and my team to create a better and bigger impact.”
Hodaka Kosugi, Julie Aubriot, and Agnes Makanyi,
Robert Kimathi and Hannah Muna, LVCT Health
Oky is the world’s first period tracking app that provides reliable, evidence-based menstrual health information, created for girls and with girls. This remarkable digital solution delivers girl-centered, culturally appropriate menstruation education and individualized period tracking directly into the hands of girls, in the way they want. Developed to meet the needs of girls’ digital realities, Oky is accessible on low end phones, can be accessed offline, doesn’t necessitate a high level of digital literacy to use, and is discrete and private. Originally created by UNICEF in East Asia and the Pacific, the app will be introduced in Kenya as a first entry to Sub-Saharan Africa, through UNICEF Kenya and their implementing partner, LVCT.
“Through the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator Program, we hope to introduce the localized OKY to as many Kenyan girls as possible and support girls in building their confidence and abilities to manage their menstruation through using OKY. We also want to interact with other innovators through a series of webinars and workshops and expand our skills and competencies to tackle girls’ reproductive health issues with innovations.”