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IGEA distributing sanitary products to encourage girls in Kassena-Nankana West to stay in school

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Investing in Girl Education in Africa (IGEA), is using the distribution of sanitary products in schools as a means to encourage retention of girls in schools in the Kassena-Nankana District of the Upper East Region.

This came to light when a Programmes Officer with IGEA, Jennifer Tembile, spoke with A1 Radio’s Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child recently.

“We want to encourage young girls to keep going to school because now we seem to have some pads in schools. Organisations come and go to schools and do the donations. Not just because they [the organisations] don’t want to go to communities but these organisations, IGEA in particular, are using that to encourage girls to participate in schools. If the girl comes and hears that an organisation came to a school to donate pads and they didn’t ask, I’ll ask you, why didn’t you attend school on that particular day, then we can have conversations from there. This would help retention,” she explained.

Madam Tembile added that parents must also allow their children, particularly the girls to explore in a way that helps their future.

“Parents must allow their children to explore. When I say explore, I mean explore in a positive way. Some of these girls have interest and talents in doing certain things. How can we help the young people blend education with their talents.”

The Programmes Officer for IGEA called for support and partnerships to help IGEA expand its reach and support more girls.

Meanwhile, child marriages continue to disrupt the education of girls in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, according to Evelyn Abingde, the District Girl Child Education Officer.

Speaking with A1 Radio’s Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, Madam Abingde explained that child marriages have taken a new twist, with a good number of the girls voluntarily truncating their education due to marriage.

The new twist, Madam Abingde explained, is very worrying and poses significant challenges to stakeholders working to end child marriages in the district.

“As of now, we have realised that most of the marriages are not being forced by parents. They are mostly by the children themselves. You will see some of these girls just run [from home] and go and get married. Most of the marriages we are recording are the children themselves. “

“Sometimes the parents even make efforts to let these children come home or let her, the girl, know that it is not time for her to get married but the girls would say that they want to get married.”

Additionally, AfriKids, a child rights organisation headquartered in the Upper East Region, has joined the call for a reduction in taxes on the prices of sanitary products.

Speaking on behalf of the organisation on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show, Raymond Ayinne, External Affairs Manager of AfriKids, mentioned that the consequences of the high prices of sanitary products for girls in rural areas are significant.

“Government has to take a second look at the sheer number of taxes on sanitary pads. I mean, we are not talking about dresses. We are not talking about hair braids. We are talking about something every woman needs at least once a month and she needs it for between 4 and seven days or more. Because of period poverty, you find girls putting on one sanitary pad a day. This is not acceptable.”

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of Girls and the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl Child. The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage. The celebration of the day also “reflects the successful emergence of girls and young women as a distinct cohort in development policy, programming, campaigning and research.”

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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