Thursday 11 October 2018 is International Day of the Girl Child. The day aims to highlight and address the challenges that girls face and promote the empowerment of young women around the world.
The theme of International Day of the Girl Child 2018 is: ‘With Her: A Skilled GirlForce’. This theme endeavours to invest in opportunities for girls to attain skills for employability and preparing the workforce to enable the successful transition of girls into employment. This is so important as 600 million adolescent girls will enter workforce in the next decade (girls really are running the world).
The Jane Goodall Institute has a strong focus on animals and the environment but did you know, we also run programs which engage with the needs of young girls across the world?
When they reach the age of puberty, many young girls in Uganda end their education. In fact, Uganda has the highest school dropout rate in East Africa. This is due to two factors. Firstly a lack of scholastic materials (such as pens, paper and books) and secondly due to a lack of access to sanitary materials, forcing them to stay at home during menstruation (which is a still a taboo subject). This prevents young girls from receiving the education they need to enter the workforce which can later lead to exploitation and contributes to a cycle of poverty.
The Jane Goodall Institute Peer 2 Peer Education program aims to tackle this issue and equips young women in Uganda with menstrual hygiene kits and information on reproductive health and family planning. The menstrual hygiene kits contain pairs of underwear, sanitary items, a small portable washing line, a toothbrush, toothpaste, pencils and pens. With the introduction of this program in schools, an average of 35 girls attend year 7 in each school (compared to just 20 girls prior to the implementation of the program) which is a fantastic result.
This program ensures that girls have access to sanitary products so that they may successfully navigate puberty and continue to engage confidently in their education and social lives.
Here’s to strong women (and girls). May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. Happy International Day of the Girl Child 2018!!