RAISE THE ROOF

RAISE THE ROOF: RAISE HER VOICE

United KingdomNakuru, Kenya
Year Founded:
2011
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Raise her Voice- a social enterprise with multi layered benefit & holistic approach. We design and manufacture reusable sanitary packs, creating employment opportunities for men & women, increasing access to education for girls and using profits to support sustainable, community empowerment projects

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the 4 billion girls and women across the world had the same chances to receive education as boys and men. Imagine the unlocked potential in these young women, what if those voices were heard? We need to Raise Her Voice.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Gender equality, one of the most talked about Sustainable Development Goals, is prolific in the rural communities we work with. Our school attendance records demonstrate monthly female absentees and our empowerment days highlight the need for body awareness, self esteem, sex education and the need for this to be inclusive of men. Through menstrual hygiene management and empowerment through quality education, we can Raise her Voice.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Our social enterprise works with local organisations and experts to design, manufacture and distribute female sanitary packs, but it's more than the products- it's about the people. We create employment opportunities for men & women, increase access to education for girls & uses profits to support sustainable, community empowerment projects. The most exciting part is our girls empowerment programme, addressing issues surrounding relationships, sex, HIV, self esteem, confidence, menstruation, and leadership. We understand the importance of a holistic approach and the need for this to be inclusive of men. We address this through simultaneous day programmes. We use our social media platforms to promote positive female role models.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our programme is a combination of training and sanitary pads for a holistic approach. The fully interactive program aims to dispel myths and stigma related to becoming a woman and unlocks the potential in every girl to not only stay in school, but to thrive. Working with men, we aim to reduce the pressure on women and readdress gender stereotypes. Our Sanitary pads are one of the most innovative designs available. Not only do they address the lack of sanitary product, they also provide underwear which so many girls lack. Made from high quality, durable, free trade, water proof material. Our programme designer has already trained over 5000 girls and has seen absentee rate of girls drop by 30% in the first six months of the project period.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Our sanitary pack prototype has already been distributed to over 25,000 girls. Our empowerment days have raised concerns of otherwise undisclosed issues and enabled us to support our girls, whilst redeveloping our programmes to include the immediate needs of the young women we work with. One of our main issues is that men are the decision makers in the community, and so we now work with men to tackle abuse and assault and address pressure lines. By adding training to the distribution of sanitary packs, we can can ensure that accurate, well researched and effective education reaches thousands of girls. With partner organisations into East Africa we aim to extended the reach of our work and improve access to education and employment, create equal opportunity, improve health and well being, whilst reducing the rate of HIV in East Africa.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We aim for Raise her Voice to be the 'go to' brand for menstrual hygiene solutions and female empowerment training. Our pads will be bought by organisations working with girls and women worldwide. With experts in menstrual hygiene, gynecology, policy making and sustainable development, our team are well equipped to continue to develop the most effective approach to addressing gender equality. Our strong partnerships with local government ministries and history of policy reformation will allow us to make a lasting change in line with the Sustainable Development Goals for equality.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Raise her Voice is a social enterprise model. Our pads will be sold to global organisations at a slightly increased price, meaning that profits can be used to support sustainable community projects, with a focus on education, healthcare, sport and equality and to support operational costs of the project. Girls empowerment training will be bolted on to the cost of hygiene packs and carried by our well equipped staff in hand with pad distribution

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There is currently a combination of disposable and reusable pads available, but non with a social enterprise model that allows for continuous development & greater impact. The closest product we can find is Zana Africa, which incorporates humorous stigma dispelling comic strips into their sanitary packs, but are produced in Egypt. We are focused on a Kenyan model, supporting local economic growth & employment opportunities, with potential growth into East Africa. We are unaware of a programme that offers training in line with pad distribution, which we believe is vital to a holist approach
Team

Founding Story

Holly Bantleman and Haley WIlliams have been friends, colleagues and organisational partners since 2010. A female powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with. Together they have established several sustainable grass roots projects, with a community lead emphasis and seen a beneficiary base of over 15,00 people. RHV was born through a realisation that the untold stories of their girls held the key to lasting change. Many issues associated with gender equality could be addressed through access to suitable MHM, if only their girls were given the chance to be heard. With their combined skills and an army of young women ready to be empowered aside them, they are ready to end gender equality.

Team

Holly and Haley are spearheading the project, with business partner organisations on the ground. They are already in process of adding capacity through the recruitment of a leading Gynaecologist who will fill specific medical and healthcare gaps. They are in talks with several high profile ambassadors for the project. With Haley heading up programmes on the ground in Kenya, and Holly securing partnerships and grants in the UK, their reach is vast. Both currently work part time on RHV with the aim of increasing working hours in 2016 as the finished product becomes ready for the market. Haley Williams; Masters in Public Administration. Seven years of progressive development experience in East Africa. Intended PhD candidate for MHM in WASH early 2016. Three years of direct experience implementing large international donor funded MHM and hygiene grants. Technical consultant for hygiene and MHM. Member of the Nakuru County Sanitation technical working group and chair of the MHM technical working group. Designed MHM training program and has distributed sanitary pads and trained more than 5000 girls to date. Her projects saw the absentee rate of girls drop by 30% in the first six months of the project period. Holly Bantleman; Current Masters in Practicing Sustainable Development, 5 years experience of development in Kenya. Extensive experience in Government partnerships and business stakeholders. 3 years experience establishing start up's, sustainable business and social enterprise, trained Youth Mentor. Nivea Woman of the Year 2014, Vodafone World of Difference Winner, The Board of International Development and Prime Minister Point of Light Award Winner, Shortlisted Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year, Pride of Britain Finalist 2015.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

invited

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Gender Equality.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

The Barut youth Development and Sports Centre- the highest ranking vocational training school in the Nakuru District, and its thought in Kenya. With a 100% exam pass rate and a rare partnership with the Minsitry of Youth Affairs that allows the intake of young people who have not been formally educated, a break in the current constitution. A strong community partnership which ensures participation, avoids corruption and support sustainability.

Chariteatowel - a not for profit business, which sees celebrity self portrait doodles printed on teatowels, with 100% of profits supporting Raise the Roof

Kujenga - 'to build or to create' a textiles brand which sees the employment of local artisans through hand made bags, which are made to do good. Profits support project operational costs, whilst promoting a sustainable fashion ethos.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Grass roots organistaions, local government Ministries, business partners, field experts, community groups, mentors