Yinson Ghana, an oil and gas service company, has in collaboration with the Ahanta West Directorate of Education, launched the ‘Yinson Girls Education Programme’ involving the distribution of sanitary pads to female students in the area.
The programme is expected to positively impact approximately 750 female students, drawn from upper primary to junior high levels in the Ahanta West Municipality.
It would help reduce poor academic performance due to ‘period poverty,’ which contributes to school absenteeism among girls over the years.
Mr Edward Mensah, a representative of Yinson Ghana, said, the company was committed to improving the lives of people in its host communities and that the programme was in line with Yinson’s mission of promoting quality education and effective learning in its communities.
He said aside education, good health and wellbeing, and gender equality were some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that Yinson was aligned with, ‘and these are the main drivers for initiating this programme.’
The programme also aimed at improving the study of STEM among the females in the Municipality.
Mr Mensah encouraged the female students to take advantage of the programme to have a more focused academic regime to excel in their studies.
The maiden edition of the programme would run for a week amid health talks.
He said the 300 girls who attended the launch would each go home with a pack of sanitary pads, while some 450 packs would be shared in the Municipality within the week.
He said Yinson would organize a programme to promote STEM studies for female students later in the year.
Period poverty is a global issue affecting those without access to safe, hygienic menstrual products who are unable to manage their periods with dignity, sometimes due to community stigma and sanctions.
Studies showed that one in 10 girls in Africa missed school because they didn’t have access to menstrual products, or because there were no safe private toilets to use at school.
Some girls missed as much as 20 per cent of their school year, while some drop out of school altogether not forgetting the serious health risks if menstruation was unhygienically managed.
Ms Ernestina Kangah, Girls Education Coordinator at the Ahanta West Municipality said lack of menstruation knowledge, proper facilities and support for female students had led to high absenteeism, poor academic performance, and early dropout, leading to other social issues among girls and impeding their quest for a better future.
Ms Sakyiwaa Darko, the Community Relations Officer of the Petroleum Commission, said menstruation was not a disease but a sign of progression in any girl’s life and so it was critical that many of such girls took proper care of themselves and stayed away from early sexual behaviours.
She said misconceptions about menstruation must be diffused in communities and the girl child properly supported to go through that cycle.
Ms Darko recalled how her parents educated her on menstruation and called on Churches, teachers, parents and queen mothers to revisit such teachings in communities to prepare the minds and hearts of the girlchild even before reaching that stage in life.
Ms Amen Morrison, a Public Health Nurse and Adolescent Mentor at the Ahanta West Municipal Health Directorate, encouraged the girls to seek advice on any issues bothering menstruation at the nearest health facility.
Mr George Effah, the Municipal Director of Education said girls’ education was at the heart of the Ghana Education Service and for that matter, the Ministry of Education because no nation could unearth the full potential of its human resources without educating girls and women.
He said good menstrual health and hygiene practices could prevent infections, reduce odours, and help the girls stay comfortable during their period in school.
Source: Ghana News Agency