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How the Lack of Sanitary Pads (Kotex) Makes Girls Abandon Schools in West Africa

Ms. Comfort Love, Founder/CEO of the Detroit, Michigan-based Comfort’s Love Women Project is committed to helping girls in West Africa succeed in school

In rural Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, girls are not only dropping out of school because of poverty and early marriages; they are escaping school attendance and/or dropping out in droves for a simple reason: the lack of proper sanitary pads.

The lack of sanitary pad should not prevent girls from going to school in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This is why Ms. Comfort Love makes it a commitment to help girls in West Africa.  The lack Sanitary pad affects girls’ education throughout most of Africa, especially West Africa.  Together, we can change that! join Comfort Love and corps.

Several research reports and fact-finding missions have unveiled the negative impact of the lack of sanitary pads on girls’ education in poor and rural communities in developing nations, particularly Sub-Sahara Africa. A detailed research report authored by Stella Jerop Chebii published by Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) (http://osisa.org/sites/default/files/27-31.pdf) highlights how girls abandoned schools in Kenya, Uganda and other nations due to the lack of sanitary pads.

Few years ago, the National Public Radio (PBS) of the United States did a heartbreaking story (http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/03/09/391030870/proper-sanitary-pads-are-keeping-girls-in-school) that further illustrate how girls abandoned going to school in Uganda because they did not or couldn’t afford sanitary pads during their menstrual periods. Moreover, news reports have indicated that in some Africa nations, young girls are having sex with older men just to buy sanitary pads http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/HealthLiving/Young-girls-having-sex-with-older-men-for-sanitary-pads/689846-3945850-xetbed/index.html).  In India, sanitary distribution has helped to keep thousands of girls in schools, and the school completion rate has skyrocketed.

In the West African sub region of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the problem is acute.

Therefore, the Comfort’s Love Women Project which supports women’s transition from poverty to self-sufficiency and girls’ education is seeking to mitigate some of the headache rural and poverty-stricken school girls face in these countries.  The organization, a not-for -profit entity based in Detroit, Michigan with focus on Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, has recently launched a “Sanitary Pads to Keep Girls in School” initiative.  The goal is to collect, ship and distribute thousands of sanitary pads (Kotex) to school age girls in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

Ms. Comfort Love, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of the organization said, “keeping girls in school is important for the overall prosperity of the Mano River Union’s sub region nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, and if it takes just providing a sanitary pad such as Kotex to do so, it is a worthy venture.”

The lack of sanitary pads is a general problems throughout Africa, as the video shows about girls in East Africa

A sanitary napkin, sanitary towel, sanitary pad, menstrual pad, or pad is an absorbent item worn by a woman while she is menstruating, while she is recovering from vaginal surgery, for lochia (post-birth bleeding), after an abortion, or in any other situation where it is necessary to absorb a flow of blood from the vagina.

These pads are not to be confused with generally higher absorbency incontinence pads, which are worn by men or women who have urinary incontinence problems or experience stress incontinence. Menstrual pads may be used by some people for this purpose.

The Comfort’s Love Women Project’s “Sanitary Pads to Keep Girls in School” initiative has outlined two main goal: keeping girls in school, informed about their sexual health, and economically independent.

The initiative seeks to assist girls in successfully completing their education with efforts such that include: Supplying sanitary pads to girls who are menstruating; Constructing private ‘girls only’ latrines in underdeveloped schools; Providing accurate health information and mentorship through a female health worker.

Even news reports around Africa outlines the impact of the how lack of sanitary pads is affecting girls’ education in Africa.  West Africa is lacking and needs help

Comfort’s Love Women Project is a Detroit, Michigan-based and West Africa’s focused not-for-profit organization that work for the success of girls and women in poor and unprivileged communities by facilitating and promoting actions that provide safety, confidence, literacy, and economic self-sufficiency.  Learn more at: http://comfortloveproject.blogspot.com/.

Ms. Love said, the organization is piloting a project aimed at constructing and opening three women centers where local sanitary pads will be manufacturing for distribution throughout Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone at a low or no cost. Interested in patronizing or volunteer with the organization, donating or helping, please contact the chief executive officer: comfortlovewomenproject@gmail.com or at the address below:

Comfort’s Love Women Project 3342 S. Liddesdale Street, Detroit, MI 48217,  Tel. 313 757 1290

WE ARE LOOKING AND ASKING FOR VOLUNTEERS, PATRONS AND SUPPORTERS TO JOIN US IN ENSURING THAT GIRLS FROM CHALLENGING BACKGROUNDS IN WEST AFRICA HAVE ACCESS TO EQUAL EDUCATION, AND A SIMPLE GIFT OF A SANITARY PAD, A MERE KOTEX THAT WE TAKE FOR GRANTED IN THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AND EUROPE MEANS A LOT TO MAKE A GIRL STAYS IN SCHOOL.  HELP US PROCURE, SHIP AND DISTRIBUTE SANITARY PADS TO LIBERIA, GUINEA AND SIERRA LEONE.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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