First Menstrual Health Education Project
Betwease and Aseratoase, Assin South District, Central Region, Ghana on the 2nd and 3rd February 2021.
Our first workshop for this year was in partnership with Grooming Girls Network, an organisation based in Accra that is into reproductive and menstrual education for girls. We have had a project previously in May 2018, where we educated and sensitised about 500 girls.
This menstrual health education project comes in two phases;
- Educating the girls in an engaging and interactive session about menstruation, how it occurs, why it occurs, the dos and don’ts, debunking myths and encouraging self-acceptance.
- Introducing the cloth pad and menstrual cup to girls in the target areas as a solution to their inability to afford sanitary materials during their period.
DAY 1 (02/02/2021)
The first interaction was held at Asaratoase Basic School with a total of 32 participants with ages ranging from 9 to 18 years. During the interaction with the girls, we found out that they had knowledge of menstruation and the use of sanitary pads. The previous knowledge was built upon and the education, focused more on debunking the myths associated with menstruation, how to calculate the menstrual cycle and safely deal with it.
After the program, the cloth pad was introduced and shared with all the participants. We introduced the menstrual cup and questions were raised on how it was used, its effectiveness and its side effects. Afterwards, some girls and a female teacher volunteered to try out and use the menstrual cup.
During the interaction with the girls, we found out that ;
- Some families do not allow their wards to cook or touch their food when they are menstruating for fear of contamination.
- Menstruating girls are not allowed to bathe with the same bucket as every other person in the house.
- The boys at school refuse to sit with the girls because they are menstruating.
- Some people see menstruating girls as a vector of contamination.
The girls mentioned the following as the challenges faced during their monthly bleeding.
- Parents’ inability to purchase enough sanitary pads hence the usage of one pad for a whole day.
- Some girls have to do menial jobs to be able to afford sanitary pads.
- Some girls turn to boys to give them money to buy sanitary pads.
- Some girls lend money from their friends and others use their savings to buy the pads.
Day 2 (03/02/2021):
This interaction took place in Betwease Basic School with 21 young girls ranging from 9 to 12 years. The program also included the women in the village with us aiming to introduce the cloth pad and the menstrual cup to them.
The interaction with the girls took the form of an introductory lesson as none of them have started menstruating yet. The girls were receptive and followed the lessons all the way; they answered questions correctly and were able to reflect on all they were taught after the session. Although they haven’t started menstruating, the cloth pads were donated to the girls.
The women were receptive, accepted the cloth pad and menstrual cup and agreed it was a sustainable sanitary material. We gave out the menstrual cup to women who were willing to try and the cloth pad to the others. The women showed their willingness to purchase the clothe pad should it be made available to them.
The project was a success and in the end, we were able to reach out to the girls, help out with their sanitary needs through the donation of the reusable sanitary pads and get them to accept themselves as menstruating women, accept the period as a norm and the lifestyle of the woman.