UNLOCK THE LIMIT BOX
All children should have the opportunity to be fit, healthy and ready to learn. Healthy children make better students, and better students make healthy communities. The monthly discharge of blood of adolescent girls in rural communities is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful and dirty process in the most rural parts of Africa. This natural phenomenon is clouded by socio-cultural restrictions such as taboos and myths which leave most adolescent girls unprepared for their periods and ignorant of hygienic practices. This promotes the practice of unsafe menstrual hygiene practices which leads to ill health.
In response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 3, which is committed to promoting good health and well-being, then the need to teach adolescent girls in rural communities how to properly cultivate good personal care and general hygiene habit in their adolescent years; a crucial phase in their development, I established PRIMAD Organisation with the theme “Unlock The Limit Box : The R-SHE Project thus Rural Sexual Health Education Project) among school age adolescents in rural communities to address the Sustainable Development Goal 3 -“Good Health and Well Being”
The taboo of menstruation helps to inflict indignity upon millions of women and girls, but it also does worse. The grave lack of facilities, education and appropriate sanitary products can push menstruating girls out of school, temporarily and sometimes permanently. Research confirms that the onset of puberty leads to significant changes in school participation among girls, many girls are kept home in these rural communities when they start menstruating, either temporarily or permanently during the days they menstruate. The lack of adequate menstrual protection alternatives and /or clean, safe and private station facilities for female students and teachers undermine the right of privacy, good health and hence an obstacle to the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (TEN 2007).
Poor protection and inadequate washing facilities may increase susceptibility to infection, with odor of menstrual blood putting girls at risk being stigmatized (WASH 2014). More than 50% of adolescent girls have inadequate Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), with higher proportions reported in rural areas, according to studies across low and middle income countries including Ghana, my home country. The education of females, provision of sanitary absorbents and clean undergarments is my organisation’s “PRIMAD Organisation” contribution to raising awareness about the importance of practicing good menstrual hygiene in rural communities.
For the practice of effective menstrual hygiene management, women and girls require access to clean absorbents (sanitary pads, menstrual cups among others) with facilities that provide them with the needed privacy to change, clean or dispose off these absorbents when necessary, access to soap and water, and reusable absorbents. (UNICEF and WHO, 2014). It is critical that any project aiming to support women or girls with sanitary protection materials involves them in the planning discussions and decisions about the options to be supported AND the Rural Sexual Health Education initiative by PRIMAD organisation fills that gap.
Method and evaluation
The R-SHE project reaches out to rural communities from the month of June to December each year with volunteered Doctors and Nurses, who educate the young girls and boys, teachers, parents and guardians the need to be healthy and proper hygienic measures during the period of menstruation to only the ladies. Afterwards, the provision of free sanitary pads and new undergarments are donated to adolescent girls to ensure menstrual hygiene, safe and comfortable menstruation and also free hepatitis B screening is done for all. We have already visited nine (9) rural communities, donated nine hundred (900) free sanitary pads and nine hundred (900) new undergarments to the adolescent girls.
We aim to visit twenty (20) rural communities in 2019; Two thousand (2000) adolescent girls, thus, one hundred (100) adolescent girls in each community.
If you wish to support this great initiative, kindly reach out to me. We need your support!
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Dario Ruggiero, founder of LongTerm Economy Blog for giving me this opportunity to create awareness of this initiative!
Priscilla Asamoah Baffour