Three-Party Program in Ghana Seeks to Reduce Menstruation-Related School Absenteeism
Kumasi, Ghana – May 23, 2016 Procter & Gamble’s Always Keeping Girls in School Program, World of Children® Award, and EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative announced a joint project to provide support for underprivileged girls in Ghana to pursue their education. EPF is a Ghanaian organization founded by Winnifred Selby, 2015 World of Children Youth Honoree.
The joint project, designed to provide sanitary supplies and health-related educational materials to 1,000 junior school girls over the next 6 months, will be the first time P&G will be initiating the Always Keeping Girls in School Program (AKGIS) in Ghana. It is in line with P&G’s Commitment to Action, announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September 2015, to help girls and women around the globe build confidence. Khululiwe Mabaso, P&G’s Director of Communications for Sub-Saharan Africa commented on the project saying “Empowering the female child is multifaceted and one of the most powerful platforms to positively change our society. Beyond the powerful impact this initiative will have on the lives of vulnerable Ghanaian females, we are optimistic that this will transverse all over Africa enabling an environment that positively embraces and uplifts the female African child. ”
Selby is thrilled with the joint project and its potential to expand the scope of her current programs. “Girls can face so many problems in Ghana today. Winning the World of Children and entering into this relationship with P&G shows that EPF’s work – and these girls – are truly important to the world. I cannot wait to share the news with them!”
Harry Leibowitz, Co-Founder of World of Children and recipient of the 2007 Procter & Gamble Alumni Humanitarian Award describes the reasoning behind the three-way project saying, “With P&G’s new commitment and past work, Selby’s work with girls in her native Ghana, and World of Children in a position to connect the two, the project just makes sense. We’re honored to be an integral part of this incredibly important program designed to help girls remain in school.”
Over 1.2 million girls across Sub Saharan Africa receive puberty and hygiene education from professional nurses annually through the Always Programme, which commenced in 2006. P&G has already made significant impact in this issue area with campaigns like the Always #LikeAGirl campaign, which elicited an incredibly positive global response. Several P&G brands recently launched related campaigns, including Secret’s “Mean Stinks” program dedicated to bringing an end to girl-to-girl bullying by inspiring and supporting girls directly in their quest to end mean behaviour and Venus’s “Use Your And” campaign which encourages women and girls to stand up against one-dimensional labels.
Leibowitz, himself a P&G Alum, recognizes the incredible opportunity the project has to bring a largely taboo subject out of the shadows. “Through Winnifred, I’ve learned that girls and young women in some parts of Ghana face unimaginable obstacles to caring for themselves. Lack of access to sanitary supplies during menstruation drastically increases school absenteeism. Inadequate reproductive health education can have even more devastating consequences. Girls fall behind or drop out completely. It is broadly estimated that as many as 30 million girls globally lack access to proper sanitation during menstruation. With this program, we are making a start at changing this troubling statistic. Together with P&G and EPF, girl by girl, we can begin to address this problem and give them the tools and support they need to continue their education and grow into strong, bright leaders for our future.”
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About EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative
EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative has three main projects, which focus on decreasing menstruation-related absentee days for secondary school girls by providing them with feminine hygiene products; providing shoes for students who must walk long distances over rough terrain to reach their schools; and connecting young Ghanaian women to scholarships that enable them to continue their education.
This story also appeared in Modern Ghana News