AOEF’s Youth Advisory Council and Young Friends of AOEF have been researching and reporting on a variety of factors affecting education in Africa.
One particular finding concerned our young female leaders: a lack of sanitary products.
Obtaining an education in sub-Saharan Africa is hard enough for girl students given their responsibilities in the home, gender-based violence, the region’s cultural and religious beliefs, and early marriage and pregnancy. Add a lack of sanitary products to the list of reasons girls fall behind in education.
Girls at greatest risk live in rural and disadvantaged communities with parents who are not well educated about health and reproductive systems. Virtually all of these girls lack access to disposable products. The majority also lack soap and running water at home.
Feelings of shame and anxiety due to stigma, lack of support from parents, teachers and male peers, and inadequate and unsanitary bathroom facilities at school add to the complicating factors.
Compelled to respond in an appropriate and meaningful way, AOEF’s youth leaders in the U.S. and Africa have designed and distributed surveys. Responses to the first 50 surveys have already been tabulated as we await results from other nations. The full slate of results will help AOEF youth leaders better understand this issue for girl students in Africa in the context of the cultural, traditional and tribal norms that define their communities.
Any further engagement by our youth leaders will be shaped by the benefits that might be derived from advancing education on personal health and hygiene.
Stayed tuned to Breakfast On The Nile updates as AOEF’s Youth Advisory Council and Young Friends of AOEF continue to conduct research and analyze data in an effort to help young girls address the obstacles that impede their pursuit of an education.