Right now in various parts of the world, girls are missing days of school for a completely preventable reason. They don’t have access to menstrual hygiene supplies.
This isn’t a new problem. In fact, it’s one that various organizations around the world have been trying to address. We know that educating girls brings widespread benefits throughout the society in question. But many of these programs don’t prioritize menstrual hygiene in their approach.
One organization, Community Development Network, is trying to change that. They launched the first workshop for their Menstrual Hygiene Project in May of last year, just in time for international Menstrual Hygiene Day. They are working with international and local partners to provide menstrual hygiene supplies and education to girls in rural Cameroon.
The Scope of the Problem
In Cameroon, girls miss an average of 4 days of school per month. This leads them to fall behind in their lessons to the point where 12% of school age girls will repeat a grade, specifically due to missing days while on their period.
The numbers become even more startling when you consider that only 50% of girls attend primary school to begin with, and only 32% of that group will go on to secondary school. Most girls in rural Cameroon simply don’t have access to menstrual hygiene supplies, and many lack practical knowledge on how to care for their bodies during menstruation.
Without access to practical supplies and knowledge about safe alternatives, many girls resort to using pieces of cloth during their period. This lack of access consequently exposes young girls to a number of (completely preventable) reproductive health issues.
Be a Part of the Solution!
Through manufacturing partnerships, Community Development Network has been able to distribute 1,300 washable pads, period underwear, and menstrual cups to girls in Cameroon. In their workshops, they focus on destigmatizing menstruation, empowering girls with knowledge about their bodies.
They work with nurse practitioners on the ground to make sure that for every product distributed, the girls know how to properly use and care for their new sustainable menstrual hygiene supplies.
For every girl they have been able to serve, there are thousands more, just like her. Community Development Network is thus trying to raise funds to keep their workshops going.
They have partnered with Days for Girls, from whom they can purchase washable pads and period underwear at a discount. Every donation helps another girl get what she needs to stay in school and focus on her education.
You can learn more about the Menstrual Hygiene Project and contribute to their efforts here.