As the world marks International Day of the Girl Child today, October 11, 2018, FANTHONIO Foundation wishes to urge stakeholders in Ghana to prioritise the welfare of the girl child particularly their health and educational needs.
According to research, reproductive health issues constitute one of the biggest challenges confronting young girls especially in rural and inner city communities. There is also evidence that most girls in such deprived communities lack basic needs like modern sanitary pads. Moreover, there is widespread lack of knowledge on reproductive health among female adolescents, a situation that often results in all sorts of problems including teenage pregnancy and drop out from school.
Lack of access to sanitary pads, often because of poverty, leads to absenteeism during menstruation. This has serious consequences on the academic performance, personal growth and development of young girls.
As we collectively work towards empowering girls across the globe to inspire, aspire, innovate and take charge of their own future, it is equally important to ensure that every girl has access to basic yet critical needs such as sanitary pads.
FANTHONIO Foundation under its “One Friend One Box” campaign is dedicated to promoting the reproductive health of young girls in marginalised communities by donating sanitary pads to them to ensure their full participation in school.
FANTHONIO Foundation as part of its advocacy efforts continue to monitor and sensitise the public on the need for girls in deprived homes to have access to sanitary pads. The Foundation recently commissioned a research among some female students at the Tolon Senior High School in the Northern region about the challenges they face during menstruation and how these challenges affect their education.
With a female population of about a thousand, at least ten of these students miss classes every week during menstruation. This implies that about 40 female students would have missed classed in a month. Thus, an average of 520 female students is likely to miss classes at least three times in a term (13 academic weeks). Looking at these figures, absenteeism during menstruation among female students has serious implications on their academic performance as compared to their male counterparts.
Expressing their frustrations, some of the students indicated they preferred to stay at home during menstruation because they could not afford sanitary pads. The also indicated it was better to stay at home to avoid soiling themselves, a situation which according to them is embarrassing.
“When we are menstruating, it’s better to stay at home than to be in school because we don’t have sanitary pad to save us from embarrassing ourselves in school” they lamented.
The students also indicated that access to modern sanitary pads will improve their participation and confidence in school therefore appealed to benevolent organisations to come to their aid to enable them stay and study in school throughout the term.
The increasing number of female students that tend to miss classes during menstruation particularly, in rural areas and inner city communities across Ghana is worrisome and needs urgent attention.
The theme for this year's International Day of the Girl Child is "With Her: A Skilled Girl Force." "However, we will not get anywhere near this skilled workforce if young girls are forced to stay out of school because they cannot afford sanitary pads during menstruation. Access to sanitary pad is a basic need and it is therefore crucial for government and stakeholders across the country to prioritise the provision of sanitary pads to all female students across the country to enhance their full participation in school," said the Founder of FANTHONIO Foundation, Ms Felicia Anthonio.
FANTHONIO Foundation calls on Ghanaians to support the ts One Friend One Box campaign which seeks to support young girls with boxes of sanitary pads as well as raise awareness about the need for increased menstrual hygiene education.
The campaign which was recently launched on July 20, 2018, donated boxes of sanitary pads to 100 female students at the Kwabenya Community Senior High School. The next donation is scheduled to take place in the Northern region of Ghana in December 2018.
For more information about how to donate kindly call or text via 0557288151 or send us a message on our Facebook page, FANTHONIO Foundation.