The Kumasi Hub of the Global Shapers as part of its commitment to help improve education for girls have collaborated with the Bright Generation Community Foundation to Initiate the Pads For Dignity Initiative.
The main objective of the programme is to break the silence around menstruation and raise awareness about the fundamental role that menstrual hygiene management plays in female empowerment and enabling girls in their puberty to reach their full potential whiles providing puberty and menstrual hygiene training to underprivileged girls, support them with sanitary towels for a minimum period of one year and give each girl a menstrual hygiene booklet.
Coping with the menstrual cycle has long been a challenge to achieving equal opportunities for girls in most schools in Ghana, discussing the problem is also taboo as many girls have been led to believe that periods have to be borne in silence as they are a punishment from God for Eve’s misdeeds in the Garden of Eden. As a result, many girls absent themselves from school during this time of the month and miss up to 20% of their schooling. Menstruation remains a major cause of lower educational outcomes for girls in the school system.
Basically, girls stay at home because they lack sanitary protection and towels they stay at home to avoid staining themselves with blood and getting embarrassed in school and in public.
Research conducted by a team of researchers and funded by the Green Templeton College of the University of Oxford, and supported by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in 2008/9 in Ghana showed, that the provision of free disposable pads, and education about menstruation improved school attendance among girls, and potentially improved retention.
Absenteeism dropped from 21 percent of school days missed to 9 percent. As noted in the Report, ‘Girls need sanitary care methods that minimize the visibility of puberty by avoiding accidental leakage’. A study in 2011 showed that menstruation caused Kenyan girls to lose an average of 3-5 learning days a month. This naturally has implications for education of girls.
It is against this that the Kumasi Hub of the Global Shapers with funding and support from the Bright Generation Community Foundation is spearheading this initiative to make effective, sustainable, and healthy menstrual hygiene management solutions available to school girls from deprived communities.
Making a presentation of pads to 100 girls at the Savulugu Nanton Secondary School on behalf of the Kumasi Hub of the Global Shapers, Ms Winnifred Selby a Global Shaper of the Kumasi Hub said said without adequate access to safe and hygienic feminine hygiene products products, girls resort to using unhygienic alternatives including newspapers, cotton wool, and leaves. Using unhygienic alternatives, inadequate access to soap and water, and infrequent changing of menstrual hygiene materials have been associated with an increase in reproductive tract infections, which can jeopardize female reproductive health.
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