Name: Elizabeth Scharpf
Occupation: She is an entrepreneur who focuses on strategies to help improve the world-wide health care. She is the founder of the organization Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE).
Background: Scharpf received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her MPA in international development from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She attended Nortre Dame for her undergrad education, where she obtained her BA. Scharpf has worked as a strategic management consultant at the Cambridge Pharma Consultancy, The Clinton Foundation and the World Bank in Asia, as well as the World Bank in East Africa. She has had extensive traveling opportunities, and lists this as one of the main reasons for her interest in health and education entrepreneurship. Scharpf has become widely recognized for the success of her latest project, SHE enterprises, of which she is the founder and CEO.
Why Sharpf is a MAPS hero: Scharpf is a true hero for MAPS, not only because of all the amazing work she has done to develop sustainable health care changes for women in 3rd world countries, but also because she demonstrates the kind of change that one woman can make. Her organization, SHE, manufactures and distributes low-price, highly accessible and economically friendly sanitary pads which are made from banana fibers. In many countries women could not gain a good education or hold a decent job because they would have to miss school or work when they were menstruating, for they could not afford sanitary products. Elizabeth Scharpf, however, provided them with a solution. She is working with Rwandan women to help find a solution for the eighteen percent of girls who miss as many as 35 days of school or work each year due to menstruation. SHE has become a great success and has reached more than 1 million women. In this past year, SHE was awarded the Curry Stone Design Prize which came with $100,000 as prize money. Now, Scharpf is helping SHE is expanding beyond its distribution of sanitary products. They have begun working in Rwanda full-time, along with other organizations, like the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology, in order to continue improving the quality of life for Rwandan people. Scharpf hopes to use Rwanda as her model, which, in time, she can then expand to other countries around the globe. With her MBA from Harvard Business School, Scharpf could have build a high-paying career for herself, but instead, she used her excellent education to better the world. Her success is an inspiration to women across the globe, and serves as a perfect example of how one person can truly make a profound impact on this world.