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SaCoDé Awarded Place in Inaugural Cohort of Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator

Today Duke University and UNICEF announced that l’Association pour la Promotion de la Santé des Communautés “SaCoDé’ has been awarded a spot in the Duke-UNICEF Innovation Accelerator, which aims to support social enterprises tackling the most pressing challenges facing children and youth around the world.

Six social enterprises will join the Innovation Accelerator to develop and scale innovations that are addressing menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) in East Africa and beyond. The innovators’ solutions – which range from digital apps, to reusable and disposable pads, to community health models – all aim to strengthen menstrual health, hygiene, and management while tackling pervasive cultural taboos and educational barriers surrounding menstruation.

As adolescent girls enter puberty and begin to menstruate, many face challenges at school and at home that can lead to stress, shame, embarrassment, confusion, and fear. These challenges may include a lack of knowledge about menstruation, insufficient access to menstrual hygiene materials, and inadequate WASH facilities for girls so they can change in a private space and discreetly dispose of used menstrual materials. By emphasizing local solutions and putting girls at the fore, the Innovation Accelerator cohort will collectively bring much-needed MHH solutions to girls and in turn, help empower the next generation of women to be healthy, happy, and educated.

“I wish all women and girls in the world could have access to correct information related to Menstrual Hygiene Health and to clean, hygienical products and pads which allow them to manage their menstruation safely with Dignity. In the DUIA, I hope to learn more about what is being done to advance the Menstrual Hygiene Health, I will also share what we are doing in Burundi and my innovation AGATEKA which is a washable and reusable sanitary pad which can be worn with or without an underwear”

said Grace Françoise NIBIZI, Founder and Executive Director of SaCoDé.

Through the Innovation Accelerator’s two-year program, the entrepreneurs will have access to a multitude of resources, including UNICEF subject matter experts, mentorship opportunities, Duke University faculty and students, monthly capacity building webinars, and a week-long residency at the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (I&E).

About Duke University

Younger than most other prestigious U.S. research universities, Duke University consistently ranks among the very best. Its graduate and professional schools — in business, divinity, engineering, the environment, law, medicine, nursing, and public policy — are among the leaders in their fields.

Duke enrolls more than 16,000 students in its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, and its world-class faculty is helping to expand the frontiers of knowledge. The university has a strong commitment to applying knowledge in service to society, both near its North Carolina campus and around the world.

Situated on nearly 9,000 acres in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is one of the very few schools in the country, or the world, that combines academic and athletic accomplishment at the highest levels.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, safe water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. UNICEF USA supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

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