SEND Ghana holds district level dialogue on Period Poverty Report 

By Albert Futukpor 

Tamale, June 18, GNA – SEND Ghana, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), has held district level dialogue with its stakeholders in Tamale to share research findings on its report titled “Breaking Menstrual Silence: Unveiling the Hidden Struggles among Adolescent Girls in Ghana”. 

The dialogue was to spark meaningful discussions, inspire action among policymakers, and support the country’s efforts at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goals Three (good health and well-being), Four (quality education), Five (gender equality), and Six (clean water and sanitation). 

It formed part of the implementation of a seven-year Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) project, dubbed: “Power to Choose”, funded by Global Affairs Canada, and implemented by Oxfam, SEND Ghana, Norsaac, PPAG, WILDAF, and PARDA, all NGOs, across eight districts in Ghana. 

The research was led by young people and assessed the effects of period poverty on the education and psychosocial well-being of adolescent girls and young women in the country.  

Participants at the dialogue were drawn from the Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly including the Deputy Director, Gender Desk Officer, School Health Education Programme Coordinator, heads of schools, adolescent girls from various schools, parents, and the media. 

The issues that came up for discussion from the report centered on the knowledge gap among adolescent girls and boys on issues around menstruation and menstrual hygiene management, which was contributing to stigma. 

Another issue that came up strongly was the fact that most of the schools in the Sagnarigu Municipality did not have separate washrooms or changing rooms for the girls. 

Most of the adolescent girls said they could not afford hygienic sanitary products, and so, they resorted to unhygienic methods to take care of themselves menstruation. 

The Power to Choose project seeks to raise awareness of challenges in SRHR service delivery, build the capacity of young people to demand better services through evidence-based policy changes by encouraging local and national authorities to prioritise the SRHR needs of adolescent girls and young women. 

Mr Sunday Gregory Apik, Assistant Headmaster, Northern School of Business Senior High School, speaking during the dialogue, said the situation raised concerns to Management of the school and indicated that Management was exploring various options to address these issues to ensure conducive environment for girls to focus on their studies. 

Alhaji Forgor Abubakari Jeduah, Deputy Director, Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly said “Today, the research has actually opened our eyes, our mind and hearts that we will have to make it a priority to actually look at the hygiene of the girl child, especially when it comes to the period or the time that they are menstruating.” 

He said “You can tell from the research findings that they go through a lot which includes psychological challenges. So, going back to the office, with our assembly persons, staff, our Gender Desk Officer, we will now look at how to make it a top issue so that any development partner that comes around, we will always find ways and means to slot in that aspect to assist our girls when it comes to hygiene during their menstrual periods.” 

Mr Mohammed Tajudeen Abdulai, Programmes Officer, SEND GHANA said project partners would follow-up on the commitments made during the dialogue, to ensure that they were implemented to help address the issue. 

He referred to the government’s 2024 Budget Statement and Economic Policy where it was promised to remove taxes on locally manufactured sanitary pads, saying the project would engage with the Association of Ghana Industries, government and other stakeholders on withdrawing taxes on these products to make them affordable.