International Needs, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has embarked on an initiative to present sanitary pads to 1400 adolescents in six communities in the Central Region.
In all, 4,200 packs of sanitary pad will be distributed to beneficiary girls selected from vulnerable families to help them improve basic hygienic practices in the pandemic period.
The first batch of 350 adolescents were presented with their sanitary pads at Kissi in the KEEA Municipality and Ekon in the Cape Coast Metropolis to mark World Menstrual Day.
Each adolescent from the beneficiary communities, selected from three districts including the Cape Coast metropolis, Mfantseman, and Komenda-Edina-Eguafo Abrem (KEEA) municipality, received three packs of sanitary pads, a petite radio set, a bottle of hand sanitiser and paper towels.
The project was undertaken with support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNIICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Menstrual Hygiene Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day has been marked on May 28 each year since 2014 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management. The theme for this year is: “Periods in Pandemic.”
The Project Officer of International Needs, Ms Elikem Awuye, noted that menstruation did not stop during pandemics, so the project was to empower girls in most vulnerable situations so that they would not engage in practices which may lead to unplanned pregnancies and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“Most girls are in very vulnerable situations and need just a little support to mitigate their suffering and something as basic as sanitary pads could save them from falling prey to abusers,” she reiterated.
According to Ms Awuye, International Needs had worked with many of the adolescents on its Safe Spaces programme where they were provided with safe spaces to be themselves and express themselves and were empowered to take informed decisions on their sexuality.
The adolescents were also supported to learn to sew reusable pads, she stated and indicated that with the outbreak of the pandemic the meetings could no longer be held.
She said she was hopeful that the project would sustain the girls and prevent them from moving round in search of sanitary pads from the wrong places.
The Queenmother of Kissi, Nana Afua Badu, admonished the girls to stay focused on their goals and work to attain higher heights.
She encouraged teenage mothers not to give up on their ambitions but be motivated to explore all opportunities available to them to better their lives.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed their gratitude to International Needs and its sponsoring agencies for the support.
Christabel Abbam, a 17-year old mother, said the pack had come in handy. “It will help me save GH¢24 for the next three months. The money can be used to support our feeding,” she said.
Sarah Amponsah, also a beneficiary, said: “I am happy to have received the pack. It has saved me some money and a lot of troubles.”