Plan International Ghana, an International non-governmental Organisation, has donated an appreciable number of sanitary pads to adolescent girls at Leklebi Fiape and Leklebi Agbesia DA Primary and Junior High School (JHS) at Afadzato South District in the Volta Region.
Considering the fact that females make a high number of the students’ population and they experience monthly menstruation, menstrual hygiene is significant for the holistic development of the female from healthy lives to equitable education, to ensuring gender equality and empowerment.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 4 states that all boys and girls should be able to have a quality education.
However, despite the provision of Free Basic Education, many girls continue to miss out on education due to absenteeism that is related to reproductive health issues as they are forced to stay away from school when they are not facilitated to manage their menstruation. Studies have shown that girls from poor families miss 20% of school days in a year due to lack of sanitary pads.
It is based on this that Plan International’s free sanitary kits which is a component of the Rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (RWASH) Project has been introduced to ensuring access to quality and sustainable feminine hygiene for girls in schools who otherwise go without menstrual health management education and easy access to sanitary pad.
In Ghana issues associated with menstruation are treated as a ‘taboo’ and are never discussed openly. The silence surrounding menstruation burdens young girls by keeping them ignorant. But currently, thankfully to the timely intervention by Plan Ghana’s menstrual health management education in schools the myth surrounding menstruation is been broken.
Menstrual hygiene management is said to be a very important aspect in the life of the adolescent girl and women. Managing menstrual hygiene is quite challenging for menstruating young girls and women because of some factors which may span from financial or social backgrounds.
The smiles, joy and the loud shouts that greeted the Plan Ghana’s RWASH team at a grand durbar held at the compound of the Leklebi Fiape/Agbesia DA JHS was overwhelming because of the good news to pupil’s received ahead of the team’s visit.
Addressing the pupil’s at the function, the Volta Programme Unit Manager for Plan International, Mrs. Rose Beyuo Siilo said her outfit is focused on providing programmes and projects that enhances the development children especially the girl child.
Mrs. Rose Beyuo Siilo, Volta Programme Unit Manager for Plan International.
It’s on this premised that today we are here to distribute the sanitary pads which is more hygienic and fashionable, as well as to create the needed awareness and provides training for girls on personal and menstrual hygiene. She pointed out.
“We at Plan International are of the high hopes that this kind gesture will go a long way to end the use of unhygienic items as well as eradicate the practice where girls miss days or weeks of school each month.” Mrs. Siilo said.
“The provision of sanitary pads, female friendly toilet with changing room and hand washing facilities provide the necessary opportunity for girls to stay in school”. The Volta Programme Unit Manager for Plan International added.
Before the distribution of the sanitary pads, the Gender and Influencing Specialist of the RWASH Project, Madam Lillian Bruce educated the pupil’s on personal and menstrual hygiene practices to promote good health.
She said the unhygienic practices like using materials like rags, toilet rolls, old cloths for the absorption of menstrual blood in place of sanitary pads, reuse of the same cloth during menstruation leads to many health-related issues.
According to the Gender and Influencing Specialist, access to information on menstrual hygiene management is directly linked in achieving some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all (SDG 3), quality in education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) and decent work and economic growth (SDG 8).
On her part, the Marketing Manager of Fay International manufactures of Faytex sanitary pads took the students through how to fix a pad in a pant as well as the proper panties to be use during menstruation periods.
Each girl received three sets of sanitary pads which will last for a quarter of a year.
One of the girls receiving her three set of sanitary pads for the 4th quarter
In an interview with some of the girls who received the sanitary pads, they were happy about the organization’s initiative, adding that, not only will most girls freely come to school during their menstrual cycles but also, it will save parents who cannot afford sanitary pads for their girls.
Apart from the distribution of sanitary pads, the schools in the two towns also receive Teekytap hand washing facility to promote true hand washing practice among school pupils after a demonstration by the RWASH Project Coordinator, Mr. William Domapielle and some school children.
Mr. William Domapielle, RWASH Project Coordinator demonstrating to the crowd how the Teekytap hand washing facility works .
Story & pictures by: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH, back from Volta region.
Writer’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org