Inspire to Rise, a non-profit organization which focuses on mentorship, menstruation hygiene education and advocacy, in collaboration with Futurestars Charity an education-through-sports charity have launched an initiative dubbed “Periods of Change”, aimed at providing menstrual hygiene and health education to girls in schools across the country.
The Periods of Change project seeks to promote greater awareness about menstruation by educating pupils to better understand this biological process combined with the donation of sanitary items to girls in participating schools to reduce the stigma and ensure that they do not miss school during their monthly cycles.
In many developing countries, girls face significant challenges in managing their periods, including a lack of access to menstrual products, clean water, and adequate sanitation facilities. This can lead to a range of negative consequences, including social stigma, missed school days, and even health problems.
Ghana’s 2021 Policy Brief on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) indicates that over 7 million women and girls in Ghana menstruate. Available data indicates that one out of five girls between the ages 15-19 feel excluded from school, social and home activities during their period.
The policy brief also revealed that out of the necessity to cover basic needs unmet by caregivers, including purchase of sanitary pads, many girls are exploited. Additionally, the brief indicates that majority of girls do not have accurate information on menstruation before their first period.
The “Periods of Change” initiative seeks to change the narrative and help address these challenges through engagements and by bringing all stakeholders together to drive sustainable solutions for girls, especially those from disadvantaged homes and communities.
Founder of Inspire to Rise, Wendy Laryea indicated the collaboration with Futurestars Charity and Trashy Bags Africa affords is testament that when the right partners converge around a problem, lives are transformed.
She said “now more than ever, we need to take concrete action to protect our girls by ensuring they have access to information about their periods and that they can freely speak to their parents and caregivers about concerns they may have.
“Additionally, we must make sanitary pads available and affordable for these girls and young women. One of the ways we can do so is to remove the 20% tax imposed on sanitary pads, which has produced the undesired consequence of increasing prices beyond the levels many can afford”.
“I call on all stakeholders to lend their voice and help address the menstruation related challenges that girls and young women face in our schools and communities, primarily the stigma, ridicule and exploitation. This partnership is an example of what is possible when we all converge around a problem that requires collective action. Our gratitude to Futurestars Charity, Trashy Bags Africa, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office and all organizations that have and continue to support this effort,” she concluded.
The first phase of the project aims to provide free menstrual pads, panties, soaps, and hand sanitizers to over 600 school girls.
The Development Director for UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Ghana, Beth Cadman OBE, expressed the willingness of British High Commission to support the initiative to change the lives of young girls in Ghana.
The Director of Futurestars Charity, Simon Milton was confident the partner organizations can do more by working together and called on other likeminded organizations to come on board.
The launch event brought together partners and stakeholders who pledged their support for the purchase of the “Oblayo Bag” which is a recycled bag that contains menstruation products.
The Operations Manager of Trashy Bags Africa, Nick Parish indicated the project aligns with the organizations pillars of recycling, education and female empowerment.
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