A commendable social intervention programme christened 'Always Keeping Girls In School Programme' has been launched at Dagomba in the Sekyere Afram Plains District of Ashanti Region to help halt dropouts of female students in the junior high schools.
The initiative is a brainchild of Procter & Gamble (P&G), in collaboration with P&G and EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative and World of Children Award, which will see a staggering 1,000 sanitary supplies and education materials being distributed to JHS girls within the next six months. It would be increased to 20,000 by the end of the year.
The programme is mainly intended to stop unfortunate situations whereby female JHS girls stay out of school during their menstrual periods due to lack of sanitary pads. It is also aimed at building the confidence of young girls during puberty to enhance their academic pursuit.
Khululiwe Mabaso, P&G's Director of Communications for sub-Saharan Africa, disclosed that she is optimistic about 300, 000 school girls would benefit from the programme by 2018, adding that the programme would be extended nationwide to help support the needs of the underprivileged school girls across the country.
Speaking at a gathering that graced the launching programme at Dagomba, she stated that the programme seeks to give beneficiaries the best menstrual products and education possible to enable them to better understand proper sanitation practices during menstruation.
Ms Mabaso added that the “presentation of the sanitary pads will not be a nine-day wonder”, hinting that her group would periodically engage the beneficiaries in a thorough educative talk about the proper ways to use sanitation pads.
“Empowering the female child is multifaceted and one of the most powerful platforms to positively change our society. Beyond the powerful impact this initiative will have on the lives of vulnerable Ghanaian females,” she remarked.
Ms Mabaso added that “we are optimistic that this will transverse all over Africa enabling an environment that positively embraces and uplifts the female African child”, indicating that P&G would engage the beneficiaries often and increase sanitary pad distribution to ensure the programme achieved maximum impact.
Over 1.2 million girls across sub-Saharan Africa receive puberty and hygiene education from professional nurses annually through the 'Always Programme' which commenced in 2006. P&G has already made significant impact in this area with campaigns such as the 'Always Like A Girl Campaign' which elicited an incredibly positive global response.
President of EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative, Winifred Kyei Selby, pointed out that EPF aims at fighting against menstruation-related absenteeism from school, hinting that “most girls absent themselves from school during their menstruation periods.”
On his part, Harry Leibowitz, co-founder, World of Children, indicated that they have provided scholarships for students in their menstrual periods as means of keeping them in school.
From I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi