Project to give schoolchildren sanitary towels launched

 A pilot project initiated by a local organisation in partnership with its international partners to distribute free sanitary towels to schoolchildren in the Ashanti and Northern regions of the country has been launched.

The project, initiated by the EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative, a  non-governmental organisation (NGO), in partnership with the World of Children Award, a US-based NGO, and P&G, manufacturers of Always sanitary towels, is targeted at a minimum of 10,000 girls in deprived communities in these regions where female schoolchildren will be given free sanitary towels in the next six months. 
Under the project, P&G will supply the sanitary towels, which will be distributed to the beneficiary pupils in the various schools. The pupils, who will be under the supervision of coordinators who are female teachers,  will be signing attendance book regularly  for their school attendance to be monitored.
The programme will also teach the girls how to use the towels and dispose of them hygienically, while a two-seater biofil toilet facility, basically meant for the girls in the schools, will be constructed to provide them with a conducive environment to change themselves during their menses.
Dubbed ‘Always Keeping Girls in School’, the programme is aimed at curbing the incidence of absenteeism among school-age girls in their menses, and also to provide access to quality feminine hygiene products, as well as educate them on reproductive health.
Launch of the project
Speaking at the launch of the project at Dagomba, a town in the Sekyere Afram Plains District in the Ashanti Region, the founder of EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative,Ms Winnifred Selby, said research had shown that girls missed school at least five days every month due to their menstrual cycle.
She said the schools did not have toilet facilities that the girls in their menses could use to maintain good personal hygiene, and many of them did not also have hygienic sanitary products to use to protect themselves, and as a result, many of them rather chose to stay home until they had finished with their menses before coming back to school, to avoid the embarrassment of soiling themselves while in school.
That, she said, affected their education and made some of them to even drop out of school.
Empower girls
Ms Selby said the project was, therefore, to empower the girls to remain in school and to take their education seriously, pointing out that the package included underwear, sanitary towels and a notebook for the girls to keep record of their menstrual cycle and also to determine their safe periods.
She said the project selected Drobonso/Dagomba as one of the pilot communities due to the deprivation there, adding that it would run for six months after which the partners would access its success before it is expanded on a large scale.
The Head of Corporate Communications and Reputation of P&G, Ms Khululiwe Thenjisiwe Mabaso, advised the beneficiaries to take their education serious and not to absent themselves from school because of menses, stressing that an educated girl was an asset not only to her family but to the whole community and the nation.