Group calls for pad banks in deprived communities
More than 1000 members of the Empowered Youth In Action (TEYIA) project have petitioned the government to create sanitary pad banks in deprived communities to support vulnerable girls to have decent periods.
The TEYIA project is being implemented the International Needs Ghana with support from UNICEF, Spotlight Initiative and the European Union together with other adolescent empowerment organisations.
The implementing districts are Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem, Cape Coast and Mfantseman all in the Central Region.
To drum home their demand, they processed through the streets of the Cape Coast Metropolis with placards which had inscriptions that called for youth well-being and empowerment after which they presented a petition to the representative of the Central Regional Minister, Justina Marigold Assan, at the Regional Coordinating Council.
While calling for the removal of taxes on sanitary pads, they proposed that sanitary pad banks be created in all communities to support vulnerable girls who have difficulty buying sanitary pads during their menses.
The group said it believed no girl must endure her menstruation because she does not have access to sanitary pads.
The petition explained that in most deprived communities, adolescent girls already had difficulty buying sanitary pads, adding that the new tax had made the product even more expensive.
This, it indicated, had put young girls at risk of exploitation from some men who lure girls with the intention to buy sanitary pads for them and end up having unprotected sex with them.
The petition said the situation put the girls at risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.
While acknowledging the many efforts to champion the fight against adolescent pregnancy, child marriage and promotion of girls and women’s empowerment in the region, they proposed that the fight be intensified to end that menace.
"In as much as we have had significant achievements, there is still more work to be done to reduce child marriage, cohabitation, drug abuse among the youth and the overall youth development for sustainable development in the region and Ghana at large," it stated.
The petitioners further observed that co-habitation and child marriage were still major problems in the communities affecting the education and general well being of girls, adding that when adolescent girls get pregnant, most parents send them away from home to live with the men who impregnated them.
The petitioners proposed that the Regional Minister engage the Regional House of Chiefs to pass by-laws on cohabitation and child marriage that would discourage the practice and to encourage the chiefs as custodians of the country's tradition’s and culture by laws to send a strong message to communities on child marriage.
They called for an increase in education on sexual reproduction health and rights to empower the youth with knowledge on how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
The Central Regional Coordinating Director, Kingsley Agyei Boahene, who received the petition on behalf of the minister, said the minister was committed to work with the stakeholders to promote youth well-being and empowerment.