Enactus is an international non-profit organisation that uses the power of entrepreneurial action among university students to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. It has 72,000 student members from 37 countries across 1,730 university campuses worldwide, and this year the Egyptian Enactus team was awarded first prize in the organisation’s World Cup.
Rosie, an affordable organic sanitary pad for women, was the project presented by the Egyptian team. After research, the team had found that sanitary pads were either unavailable or unaffordable for women in poor and rural areas. Thus, they came up with the idea of Rosie, a start-up by women for women.
The project targeted finding a natural alternative to commercial pads. That alternative should be low cost and eco-friendly, and it was found in the shape of a pad made of banana fibres, a cheaper and healthier alternative to chemically treated commercial pads.
Rosie is 40 per cent cheaper than the commercial alternative. The Egyptian team reached out to four NGOs to help them with their awareness and marketing campaign and succeeded in reaching around 7,000 women in four governorates to explain the benefits of the new pad.
The team thus developed a self-sufficient social enterprise offering a high-quality organic pad. The idea soon developed into a start-up, and hundreds of pads were sold within a few weeks from Rosie’s launch in Beni Sweif and Minya, empowering the women who worked in creating the pads as a source of income.
The team was awarded $50,000 to sustain their project. In this year’s World Cup, Enactus Canada came in second place for a project that enhances farming techniques in Zambia, and Enactus Germany was awarded third place for creating a sustainable soil enhancer produced out of locally available waste materials.
“These next generation leaders demonstrated entrepreneurial action with projects and businesses that create immense collective impact around the world,” Rachael Jarosh, Enactus president and CEO, said.
“Through innovation and collaboration, the championship team has developed sustainable solutions to transforming lives using business models as a force for good,” he added.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 26 September, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.