According to the United Nations (UN), one out of ten girls in Sub-Saharan African miss school during their period, thus missing a fifth of the academic year. The story is not different in most rural and deprived communities in Ghana where poverty is a nemesis hence many young girls are unavailable to afford sanitary pads therefore resorting to t-rolls among others.
The Heidi Health Foundation (HHF) in an effort to curb the situation launched the “RedGirl” campaign to provide education on menstrual hygiene and donations of sanitary pads to 50,000 girls in rural and deprived communities in Ghana.
The first Campaign was held at Berekusu Presby Basic school in the Eastern Region approximately an hour drive from Accra.
At the campaign both male and female students were educated on how to handle the menstrual period which certainly cannot be done away with in the life of the girl child.
The campaign is themed “Keep Girls In School”.
Speaking to Miss Shirley Ofori, the Executive Director of the foundation, she stated that the initiative was meant to create awareness on menstrual hygiene which most teenage girls in the rural and deprived areas do not have access to.
“We have to educate them so that they will also educate others. We did not leave the guys out because we want to let them know it is natural for their lady counterparts to have their monthly flow. It is not a bad thing hence they shouldn’t stigmatize them.”
The event had in attendance people from diverse professions which included nurses, journalists, real estate developers, actors and entrepreneurs who came to motivate the students to take their education serious.
Actor and T.V presenter Godwin Namboh interacted with the boys on the need to avoid caution stigmatization on the girls during the period.
Sanitary pads were also distributed to all teenage girls in the school, most of whom it is their first time and were also taught how to properly fix the pads before using them.
The Heads of the school expressed their gratitude to the organizers of the “RedGirl” Campaign for choosing their school as the starting point of the good initiative. She promised the education will not just stop on that day but rather, she and her staff will continue the good course which has started.
The RedGirl campaign helps to achieve a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including, Good health and well being (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5) and clean water and sanitation (SDG 6).
Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is one of key focuses of the foundation and HHF seeks to provide access to adequate information, support and preparation with how to manage a healthy, safe and dignified menstruation to keep girls in school.
The shame and stigma most girls go through will be a thing of the past with the intervention of the Red Girl campaign which is designed to help girls understand their periods better and get them sanitary pads to face “red” with pride.