Women in Sub-Saharan Africa struggle to access personal care products due to unreliable supply chains as well as a lack of retail in rural areas and slums. In Kenya, an estimated one million girls regularly miss school because of a lack of sanitation products. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges by increasing demand for soap, hand sanitizer, and masks.
Solution and Impact:
Equity financing is helping the women-owned and women-led e-commerce business Kasha, expand its business selling personal care products to women in Kenya and Rwanda. Kasha offers an online store accessible through basic mobile phones, where consumers can browse, order, make payment and arrange for delivery. The company also works with a network of agents, most of them community health workers, who reach out to women in more remote areas to assist them with their purchases. To date, the company has served 70,000 customers, most of them low-income women.
The Kasha project advances multiple DFC initiatives, including the 2X Women’s Initiative and the Portfolio for Impact and Innovation (PI2) Initiative. In addition to offering a product that benefits women and girls, Kasha was founded by two women, Joanna Bichsel and Amanda Arch, and has women representing half of its senior leadership and almost one-third of its staff.
Because Kasha has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by stocking masks and sanitizer, it also advances the Global Health and Prosperity Initiative.