Source: www.africanakua.com| Richard Fiebor, Ghana
A Non-Governmental Organization known as RUGIRLZ EMS is joining forces with YALI RLC COHORT 13 batch to officially launch the PEN&PAD project to commemorate the Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD2019) come May 28, 2019 at Nkawie Senior High school, Nkawie, Atwima Nwabiagya Municipal, Ashanti Region, Ghana.
Rural Girls Empowerment, simply known as RUGIRLZ EMS, is a non-governmental organization (NGO) established by Mrs. Ambdiya Abdul Latiff who is a peer educator and a girl child education activist. RUGIRLZ operates mainly in deprived and rural communities in Ghana; it is committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1 – 6 through an EMS approach, thus Education, Mentorship and Support for the rural girl child who is doubly disadvantaged due to gender inequality and geographical location, ensuring they reach their full potential to lead positive change in their lives and communities.
Speaking to www.africanakua.com, Mrs. Abdul Latiff said “my priority is to eliminate the disparities that exist in educational opportunities for women and men in rural areas and the rural-urban disparity that is entrenched in our part of the world.”
She added that “I believe the prosperity of our country depends so much on these young girls and the only way to reach their full potential is by creating access to educational opportunities that will empower them to make a difference in the world for all…everybody should believe in education because we are all products of education which is the most powerful tool for development for the better world we want” hence the PEN&PAD project.
The PEN&PAD project will address health issues affecting women and girls and also promote Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of the vulnerable in the rural areas.
She indicated that PEN&PAD became a necessity for RUGIRLZ because “we have identified that dropout and low completion rate in schools for girls in rural areas persist; absenteeism and quality of education are being affected by the start of menstruation as they are often unprepared, confused and unsupported.”
The MHD is an annual health awareness day set aside globally to educate young girls and the general public about Menstrual Hygiene as well as break stigma and clarify myths and taboos that still hover around Menstruation leading to the negative attitude towards the biological phenomenon girls experience.
To celebrate the day at Nkawie Senior High School at Nkawie, RuGirlz EMS plans to feature a health talk on the fundamentals of Menstrual Hygiene Management, a practical session on how to make Reusable Sanitary Pads with locally available materials and distribution of free sanitary pads/ personal hygiene products to school girls in selected communities in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality.
“After Menache, girls are faced with challenges related to management of menstruation in public places coupled with menses often portrayed as ‘curse’ and the disgust about Menstrual blood as a threat to public hygiene” Mrs. Abdul Latiff noted.
Most importantly, according to the YALI Cohort 13 participant, school girls especially those in deprived and rural areas are unable to afford sanitary materials as they resort to the use of socks and rags while others exchange sex for sanitary pads thereby making them prone to infections that may affect their reproductive health in future, teenage pregnancy and death during delivery.
To make this day a success, RUGIRLZ EMS and YALI Cohort 13 alumni humbly request for public and individual support in the form of Pens, Sanitary Pads, Antiseptics, Soaps and other Personal Hygiene products, Refreshment for 100 students, Photo and Video coverage, Banners, Flyers, Media publicity and other logistics.
After this launch, RUGIRLZ EMS will proceed to replicate the exercise
in schools in the
rural areas of the Ashanti region until they cover the sixteen (16) regions in Ghana and beyond. Meanwhile, the NGO has already distributed over 500 packets of sanitary pads to 500 school girls in three rural communities within the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality in the Ashanti Region.
In the meantime, PEN&PAD PROJECT would also start the production of reusable, washable and cost effective sanitary pads which is a commercially viable alternative to the regular pads in the markets.
“It is our wish that no girl should have to use socks, rags or newspapers or simply miss school because they are menstruating” the peer educator emphasized.
The Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) programme, launched by the USA Government, is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders.
Its main purpose is to empower the youth across Africa by teaching them modern leadership so that they could develop the skills needed to transform their communities and or countries.
If you wish to support PEN & PAD Project, Kindly call Mrs Amdiya Abdul Latiff on +2332496835 or send an email to [email protected] Bank account details: Consolidated Bank Ghana 0511685240051.