Creating Safe, Dignified Health Products for Women
Zubaida Bai, Founder and Chair of Ayzh, is a mechanical engineer turned product development expert. She is fluent in eight languages and holds a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering specializing in development of modular products, and an MBA in social and sustainable enterprises. She currently serves as Managing Director of CARE Social Ventures.
A midwife in rural India proudly showed me the tool she used for cutting umbilical cords — a sickle, also used for cutting grass. I knew at that moment that I would bring life-saving change to women in need.
– Zubaida Bai
Zabaida’s journey began in 2008 on a summer afternoon in India. After spending the day listening and talking to women about their needs, her final conversation with a midwife launched a movement that has elevated women’s health issues and broken cultural taboos. Over one million women and babies die every year in developing countries because they lack access to basic cleanliness during the birth process. So, in 2010, Zubaida created Ayzh (pronounced ‘eyes’), a social enterprise providing health and livelihood solutions to impoverished women worldwide. The organization manufactures and distributes a range of high-quality, low-cost reproductive, maternal neonatal, and adolescent health products designed for resource-poor communities in India and around the world.
A Mission of Dignity, Access and Work
True to Zubaida’s belief that “women are at the center of the sustainable world and we do not exist without them,” Ayzh is primarily owned and operated by underemployed women, who serve as safe birth advocates within their local communities. Their first product, Janma, was a customizable “$3 Clean Birth Kit,” packaged in a biodegradable pink jute bag that could be reused as a purse. Ayzh expanded to provide training and education for healthcare workers via a mobile training program to assure proper implementation of the birth kits. Today, Ayzh has impacted more than 1 million mothers, babies, and adolescent girls, and trained over 6,000 health care workers.
Miller Center and Ayzh
Miller Center worked with Ayzh through two accelerators, including a six-month program in 2016 for 17 African social enterprises aimed at improving maternal and/or child health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2021, Zubaida joined our Social Enterprise Advisory Council. The council’s different perspectives bring forth the voice of the customer and have continued to help inform Miller Center’s strategic decisions with social entrepreneurs. Reflecting on her journey with Miller Center, Ziubaida said, “I learned the value of hands-on mentorship and support through my experience at Miller Center. The experience helped me craft my personal vision: to enable an ecosystem of social businesses to impact the lives of a billion women, girls, and babies globally.”