Scaling Production of Reusable Sanitary Pads Project


Rockflower is launching a campaign to scale up the production of reusable sanitary pads and other feminine hygiene products made by Womenchoice Industries to improve economic opportunities for low income families in Muheza, Tanzania and to keep girls in school.

The goal of $7,900 will cover Womenchoice Industries entire budget for increasing production and helping tens of thousands of girls gain access to menstrual products and improve their capacity for full retention in school.

The Scaling Production of Reusable Sanitary Pads Project campaign is being led by Mollie Meredith, a member of our Youth Advisory Board.

About Womenchoice Industries

Womenchoice Industries is a social enterprise established to provide solutions to menstrual and other feminine hygiene problems. Through the production and distribution of low cost, affordable (MHM) reusable sanitary towels, “Salama Pads”, post-partum maternity pads, reusable tampons, diapers and breast pads, they are creating a market opportunity for women and girls from low income families, to learn skills and business acumen that will in turn improve girls’ school attendance and academic performance in Tanzania. Additionally, Womenchoice Industries owned by Lucy Odiwa won the SDGs and Her competition in 2018 hosted by the World Bank and UN Women. 

Sustainable Agriculture Programming with RAIN

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Last year, Rockflower supported RAIN in their goal of achieving two of our five keys, Access to Food and Water and Economic Empowerment. The Sustainable Agriculture programming in Nassilé and Tagantassou was strengthened due to our support, particularly as the need for such a program has increased due to a difficult agricultural year in western Africa.

Nassilé began the next growing season in September by meeting to assess their past revenue and decide on a timeline of implementation. In addition to meeting, they received practical training to enhance their gardening and increase their knowledge of market economics. The garden was started by choosing a high ground settlement to avoid flooding during the heavy seasonal rains. Then the land was cleared so that it could be plowed and levelled. Irrigation was installed resulting in 72 garden beds. October saw the first transplanting of tomato, eggplant and yalo crops. In addition to these crops, the nursery beds also have lettuce, green pepper, cabbage, carrot and onion.



Tagantassou had their first meeting to discuss preparations and the successes they had last year. The women were satisfied with last year’s production, but were constrained due to a lack of well water and caterpillars invading the tomato crop. They plan to utilize a biological treatment to limit or, hopefully, stop the damage. Their second meeting included practical training and a site location for the garden. In October, 18 beds were established with onions, green pepper, lettuce, tomato, cabbage and eggplant.



Last year, 35 women gardeners from Tagantassou cultivated 1945 m2 of land to harvest 1034Kg of crops which supported over 1,000 Nigerians in the surrounding communities. In both Tagantassou and Nassilé, the knowledge they have gained through practical training has resulted in food security and built livelihoods. For example, in Nassilé total earned income was 198,352 FCFA (~US$345), which is significant as Nigeria’s GDP per capita is approximately US$378.

Due to the women gardeners satisfaction with last year’s production and their enthusiasm for this year’s crop yield, they are looking forward to the next phase of expansion. Two new wells will be dug in spring, one in each community, to increase access to water and enable a significant garden expansion. The expansion of this program will allow more community members to participate and for more of their, and their neighbors’, food security needs to be met.

Rockflower Completes Fundraising for Phase 2 in Ending FGM


The funding for Phase 2 to reduce the prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in partnership with the Society for the Improvement of Rural People (SIRP) has been completed.

The second phase will build on the success of SIRP’s efforts to engage men and boys in the push to end FGM and prevent child marriage. Our goals are to keep girls in school and reduce the FGM prevalence rate from 85% to 45% over a twelve month period.
Rex Ward, a member of our Youth Advisory Board, led the End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School campaign to its successful conclusion.

SOFEDI Women's Participation and Peace Building Training Session


Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégral (SOFEDI) works to bring peace and security to the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their goals are to assist women in playing a pivotal role in the peace-building process and be able to seek accountability for gender-related crimes in their transitional justice systems.

Training sessions are one way for SOFEDI to achieve these goals. A session was held from the 28th to the 30th of November for 55 women in Kazimia, Fizi district, South Kivu Province. Essential points that were focused on include: resolutions to conflicts and construction of peace; opportunities for women’s leadership and involvement in the peace-making process. These points also address the aims of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, which states:

UNSCR 1325 affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.
— United States Institute for Peace

Day 1: November 28

The first day covered multiple themes, such as the effects that conflict has on women, peace negotiation skills, conflict management and the roles of local women in demobilization and reconciliation efforts. While the program is information based, practical activities, group discussions and videos were planned for those who cannot read and write (female literacy rates are less than 40% in the rural areas of the DRC).


Day 2: November 29

The second day focused on conflict attitudes and management. For example, attitudes toward conflict are: turtle (tendency to avoid), shark (tendency to compete), teddy bear (tendency to give way), fox (looking for compromise), and owl (tendency to collaborate). Each have their advantages and disadvantages and for the women to understand their dominant styles helps in handling conflict situations and adapting accordingly.

Day 3: November 30

The last day was led by Atuu Sincere, sociologist and director of Sauver la Femme et la Fille du Katanga (SAFEKA), and focused on the notion of leadership. The main activity of the day was the Training of Trainers Workshop. It builds the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the participating local women leaders to enable them to participate in peace-building in the areas ravaged by ongoing conflicts.

Success Stories from RUGLI

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Muhundo Bridget

One evening, Muhundo Bridget was watching television when she happened upon a documentary on briquettes. An entrepreneur began describing the production process and demonstrating how the machines worked. Muhundo became interested and found out more through RUGLI. She began to envision herself as an entrepreneur but did not know where to start. Due to her enterprise, Practical Action approached Muhundo and introduced her to the WEEK Project.

Muhundo was given the skills, knowledge and confidence to begin her business. She met with other entrepreneurs, like herself, and started manufacturing the briquettes. Demand is high and she intends to increase her production and deliveries while improving her facilities. Because of the rainy season, it takes longer for the briquettes to dry so Muhundo would like to grow her space and upgrade the drying rack. But, since she is a part of RUGLI, she is able to dry her briquettes in the production house.

Muhundo has high ambitions and is excited for her new entrepreneurial journey.

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Kasine Moreen

During the Rwenzori United Group for Life Improvement (RUGLI) field visit to Saluti Village in Nyamwamba subcounty, RUGLI met Kasine Moreen. She is married to Balinda Roland with 7 children and has lived in the area for the past 3 years. Kasine is a beneficiary of the project.

She said, “I am grateful to be selected to participate in briquette production here. It has not only reunited me with my husband and children, but has enabled me to be a role model in my community. Earlier this year, we did not have enough money to pay for our children to attend school. I had to take care of my children on my own and had lost hope when I saw them hungry and suffering. However due to this project, I have gained skills and knowledge to make briquettes and clay energy efficient cooking stoves that help me to earn money and put food on the table. We can afford to have 3 meals a day now! This and meeting with other women in RUGLI to share, discuss and learn from each other has instilled my confidence.

We are producing 40 kilograms of briquettes daily which equals around $35 a week.

I am happy, self-employed and grateful to be a part of this amazing project. I believe we should reach out to as many women as we can, it will transform societies!”

Read more about RUGLI in Issue 6 of our quarterly newsletter, It Takes Five.

Rockflower Partners with Association Burkinabé des Femmes Battantes on Weaving and Dyeing Project in Burkina Faso


Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Association Burkinabé des Femmes Battantes (ABFB) over the next 12 months to install a weaving/dyeing loom in Godin village.

The ABFB was created in 2008 by a group of women who recognized a common desire to fight for the development of women. The organization now has 300 members, based in Ouagadougou with five auxiliary groups. The organization has 812 beneficiaries, with programs to produce and process shea butter, chicken farming, weaving and dyeing, education on hygiene and sanitation, fighting HIV, and the promotion of human rights with special emphasis on the rights of women and children.

Find out more about the Weaving and Dyeing Project.

Rockflower Partners with Footsteps Africa to Reduce Poverty in rural Malawi


Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Footsteps Africa. They promote women’s livelihoods and health, rural youth employment readiness, and  marginalized children’s improved access to education by working at the frontier of poverty and gender inequality.

Rockflower will invest in a two year project to create business and marketing capacity for rural bee farming women to engage in honey processing and branding that can access profitable markets.

Find out more about the Reducing Poverty through Honey Production and Distribution in rural Malawi Project

Rockflower Partners with Womenchoice Industries to Create Reusable Sanitary Pads


Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Womenschoice Industries, a social enterprise established to provide solutions to menstrual and other feminine hygiene problems.

Rockflower is partnering with Womenchoice Industries to invest in scaling up the production of resusable sanitary pads and other feminine hygiene products to improve economic opportunities for low income families in Muheza, Tanzania and to keep girls in school.  

Find out more about Reusable Sanitary Pads Project.

The founder of Womenchoice Industries, Lucy Odiwa, was also the winner of the SDGs and Her competition that another one of our partners, Mukuru Cookstoves, placed second in. Read more about the competition and her win here.

Rockflower Partners with Kinyamaseke Girls Youth in Development to Conserve Black Bees in Uganda


Rockflower is pleased to announce a new partnership with Kinyamaseke Girls Youth in Development (KYID). KYID promotes a community of female youth that is responsible, tolerant, accountable, respectful, and working voluntarily to improve their livelihood for meaningful development.

Rockflower will partner with KYID on a project to conserve black bees as pollinators, seeking both a solution to environmental degradation and providing economic opportunities for young girls through the sale of honey and by-products to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.  

Find out more about the Black Bees Pollinator Project.

A Year in Review for Rockflower Partner, Saving Mothers - Guatemala


The School of POWHER was created to provide culturally appropriate as well as safe maternal health care to women in Mayan communities in the Lake Atitlan region. There are two methods of teaching, theoretical and experiential, used to deepen the knowledge of each student.


The recruitment process for comadronas (traditional birth attendants) occurs every November for the new class at the School of POWHER. The areas with the highest mortality and morbidity rates are taken into account. Information sessions are given to directors and comadronas of those areas on the curriculum, expectations for participation and Saving Mothers achievements of the previous year.

Saving Mothers has had a year filled with achievements:

  • 472 supervised visits

  • 94 high-risk patients identified in supervised visits

  • 46 post-partum supervised visits

  • 410 patients received prenatal vitamins

  • 4 local health centers received vitamin donations

  • 2 trainings given to older comadronas

  • 2 communities where trainings have been completed

  • 17 communities worked in

Recruitment for the Class of 2019 is currently happening and we cannot wait to see what Saving Mothers - Guatemala will achieve next!

Rockflower Welcomes Mollie Meredith to the Youth Advisory Board

Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Mollie Meredith to the Youth Advisory Board.

Mollie Meredith graduated from Loughborough University in 2018 with a degree in Design Ergonomics. She has travelled extensively around the world on voluntary charity projects, sharing skills, knowledge and cultures with many different people and communities. Mollie’s love for empowering women to recognize the powerful communities they can create together, inspired her to join The Rockflower Youth Advisory Board and advance this message.

We are excited to welcome her to the team!

Rockflower Launches Campaign for Phase Two of End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School


Rockflower is launching this campaign to raise funds and awareness for phase two of the Rockflower and Society for the Improvement of Rural People project partnership to reduce the female genital mutilation (FGM) prevalence rate in the Akwuke community of Enugu State from 85% to 45% over a twelve month period. This will have a direct effect on keeping girls in school.


The goal for this fundraising campaign is to build on the success of SIRP's efforts to engage men and boys in the push to end Female Genital Mutilation and prevention of child marriage, thereby keeping girls in school.

We will raise $2,600 to cover the cost of training and sensitization for: 

  • 10 traditional and religious leaders

  • 15 family heads, elders and opinion leaders

  • 15 teachers

  • 15 Youth activists

The End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School is being led by Youth Advisory Board member, Rex Ward.

When I saw the project to End Female Genital Mutilation, I felt really compelled to be part of it. I have to be honest, I didn’t even know about female genital mutilation (FGM) or how widespread it was or how it affects girls ability to go to school. But then I read about Somto, a young lawyer in Nigeria, who was engaging with his friends and holding a soccer tournament to get men and boys to understand that they need to be advocates for these young girls, I realized I needed to join the effort. If these were my sisters, I would want someone to help me.
— Rex Ward

Rockflower Welcomes Rex Ward to the Youth Advisory Board


Rockflower is pleased to announce the addition of Rex Ward to the Youth Advisory Board.

Rockflower's Youth Advisory Board brings together a unique collection of inspiring young individuals determined to use their creativity and passion to leave a positive imprint on future possibilities for girls and women globally.

Rex is a sophomore at Tabor Academy, Marion, MA. Having grown up with three older sisters, he was raised to appreciate the importance of gender equality.

Rockflower partner Jiwo Paro Receives Multiple Recognitions

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Jiwo Paro and their co-founder, Dancan Onyango,have received a number of recognitions recently. In August, Dancan Onyango was selected alongside 13 other entrepreneurs across five countries in east Africa, to attend a Startup Collaborator Event by Enpact in Berlin, Germany. Rockflower has continued to provide professional development investment to Dancan and his team by covering the cost of transportation to Germany. The investment proved significant as Jiwo Paro won the Pitch Contest and will be participating in a year-long startup mentoring program.


Dancan was also awarded the prestigious Diversity Leadership Fellowship for 2018/19 at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College, Massachusetts. Dancan provided some thoughts as to why he believes an MBA will impact his personal and professional development as well as gain him credibility in his respective field. “ I anticipate that on completion of the programme, I will have gained instruction from top notch professionals on how best to contribute to the regional and global discussion. I am also certain that the interaction with fellow counterparts from the programme will enrich my learning experience and further reinvigorate my drive to influence and be part of change in my community.”

Building on the Rockflower partnership, Dancan Onyango will be connecting with another of Rockflower’s partners Women’s World Banking at their event in New York on November 7th, Making Finance Work for Women.

We are excited to see what comes next for Dancan and Jiwo Paro.

In identifying me as a change maker, Rockflower has shown me that I can continue to believe that I am part of an emerging world community, whereby my actions contribute to building good and sustainable community practices. I am perfectly aware of the world beyond me. In distinguishing myself from the rest, I have learned to respect diverse values and practices. I am eager to shift my paradigm in solving world issues. Furthermore, I acknowledge that it is by working collectively to tackle issues that I can live to see many of the ideals I strive for in my community.
— Dancan Onyango

Progress Update from Youth African Alliance

In January 2018 Rockflower invested in a partnership with the Youth African Alliance in West Cameroon. The project was specifically designed to provide basic literacy and social entrepreneurship skills to highly marginalized young women with the outcome being potential for employment and improved quality of life. 70 women and girls are participating in three separate groups. 

The groups meet twice a month and provide safe discussion spaces for the young women to improve their skills through peer mentoring. 

These new skills include soap and body lotion production, arts and crafts, baking and the production of reusable sanitary pads. The girls have also been learning basic accounting and computer literacy which can be used for social entrepreneurship and school.

The overall dialogue has contributed to a sense of empowerment for the young women in being free to express challenges and offer solutions.

Check out our social media platforms to see firsthand accounts from members of the Youth African Alliance.

Instagram: @rockflowerfund

Twitter: @RockflowerFund

Facebook: RockflowerFund

SPRIT Empowering Single Women Through Credit Assistance

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SPRIT has partnered with Rockflower for over a year now and has been steadily progressing towards their goal of self reliance for single women located in the coastal villages they focus on in India. Their economic empowerment projects include: seaweed cultivation, fish vending and making thatched roofs with coconut leaves.

Members meets monthly to monitor and evaluate their progress and distribute the credit assistance they provide. 12 women from three coastal villages received assistance.

Mariammal, a single, 45 year old, was one of two women who received a loan of Rs. 5,000 (rupees) (equivalent to approx. $68 USD) for coconut leaf products to make a segment of thatched roof. Previously, Mariammal would buy one leaf for 3 rupees and sell the completed product for Rs. 10 each. With the assistance of her loan, she can now make 20-25 completed products and earn around Rs. 250 in a day. Mariammal is “planning to put a sales centre at roadside to get more orders and earn more money. [She is] very grateful to SPRIT and Rockflower for the financial support for [her] livelihood.”

Coconut Leaves

Coconut Leaves

Thatched Completed Product

Thatched Completed Product

Rockflower Welcomes Global Research Intern


Rockflower welcomes Kirsten Drew, who joins Rockflower as our Global Research Intern.  Kirsten has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, studied at American University in Washington, D.C. and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in International Development at the University of Manchester in Manchester, England.

Kirsten brings a wealth of practical knowledge and skills having previously interned with The Advocacy Project in Washington, D.C. We are delighted she will be working with us to empower women and girls to build prosperous and successful lives.

Rockflower Partner Charlot Magayi Awarded 2nd Place in World Bank “SDGs and Her” Competition

Charlot Magayi, owner of Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya, (seen on the left) and Lucy Odiwa, owner of WomenChoice Industries.

Charlot Magayi, owner of Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya, (seen on the left) and Lucy Odiwa, owner of WomenChoice Industries.

Charlot Magayi, owner of Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya, was awarded second place in the World Bank’s global SDGs and Her competition. Her business addresses SDG8 (Decent Work), SDG1 (End Poverty), and SDG3 (Good Health). Magayi and Odiwa, the first place winner, were flown to New York City to attend the UN General Assembly to discuss their work and its impacts.

There were over 1,200 entries received from 88 countries. Congratulations to Charlot Magayi and Mukuru Clean Stoves of Kenya on this great recognition from the World Bank. Rockflower recognized your potential from the outset and is proud to have been an early investor in your work.

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Winning this award is a crucial validation to the work that my team and I are doing with the aim of significantly reducing household air pollution in Africa, and it boosts our commitment to making the world a better place by implementing the SDGs. The award naturally comes with the responsibility to network and share with other women business owners about my challenges and breakthroughs in running my enterprise; with the aim of sharpening each other’s business skills.
Our partnership with Rockflower was a major stepping stone in terms of enabling us to create more impact and grow our business. Through our partnership, we have directly impacted the lives of over 1000 people by providing 200 households with clean cookstoves.
— Charlot Magayi

Read the World Bank’s press release here.

Read Ideas for Action’s article about events Charlot attended here.

Progress on Food Security for Ebola Widows in Liberia

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Foundation for Women and Children Empowerment (FOWACE Inc.) has completed the first phase of their project to fund innovations for food security for widows affected by Ebola. From the first financial support they received from Rockflower, FOWACE Inc. were able to start a sustainable, environmentally-friendly food security and income generating project with 10 groups that benefited 362 people across seven towns.

With additional support from Rockflower, they will now begin phase two which will focus on expanding the gardens with additional crops to accommodate more groups, all of which are excited as they have already identified what they plan to plant.

SIRP's First Training Session

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Society for Improvement of Rural People (SIRP) has begun their first training session of the End Female Genital Mutilation and Keep Girls in School project.

The training sessions focus on engaging with spiritual and community leaders in the Akwuke region to convey the importance of education for girls and the impact that female genital mutilation (FGM) can have on them mentally, physically and in their future economic development. These leaders can then analyze the affect their culture and traditions have on girls within the community.

Through training sessions like this one, our goal is to reduce the current FGM rates from 85% to 45% by the end of this 12 month project.