Inspire to Rise, a non-profit organization which focuses on mentorship, menstruation hygiene education and advocacy, in collaboration with Futurestars Charity, an education-through-sports charity, and Trashy Bags Africa, a Ghana-based commercial social enterprise which upcycles used water sachets into sustainable products and bags, launched an initiative dubbed “Periods of Change”, aimed at providing menstrual health and hygiene education to girls in schools across the country.
The Periods of Change project seeks to promote greater awareness about menstruation by educating pupils to better understand this biological process combined with the donation of sanitary items to girls in participating schools to reduce the stigma and ensure that they do not miss school during their monthly cycles.
In many developing countries, girls face significant challenges in managing their periods, including a lack of access to menstrual products, clean water, and adequate sanitation facilities.
This can lead to a range of negative consequences, including social stigma, missed school days, and even health problems.
Ghana’s 2021 Policy Brief on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) indicates that over 7 million women and girls in Ghana menstruate.
Available data indicates that one out of five girls between the ages 15-19 feel excluded from school, social and home activities during their period.
As part of a working visit to Ghana, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, visited the Trashy Bags Africa Factory in Accra where he toured the factory and engaged officials and staff of the organization on their work in Ghana.
During the tour, he interacted with Inspire to Rise and Futurestars Charity on their joint project Periods of Change project in partnership with Trashy Bags.
The co-created project is focused on tackling one of the biggest challenges affecting girls and young women from deprived communities; lack of access to menstrual hygiene education and sanitary kits.
The three organizations have teamed up to provide menstrual hygiene education to pupils in public schools across the country coupled with the distribution of menstruation kits to girls in vulnerable communities.
Interacting with the Foreign Secretary, Founder of Inspire to Rise Wendy Laryea touched on the launch of ‘Periods of Change’ and the first phase of the project which has so far benefited close to 100 schoolgirls.
Beneficiaries from the effort of the organization receive menstruation kits from Inspire to Rise to reduce period poverty and period stigma.
Phase One of the Periods of Change project aims to provide free menstrual pads, panties, soap, and hand sanitizers to 600 schoolgirls in the recycled ‘Oblayoo Bags’ produced by Trashy Bags.
She also shared with the Foreign Secretary and his entourage the work Inspire to Rise is leading to drive advocacy for the elimination of period tax and efforts to ensure that vulnerable girls and young women living with disabilities are front and centre of the work of her organization.
She shared examples of how inspire to Rise is driving inclusion through its work, including organizing a menstrual health and hygiene advocacy event for pupils of the Demonstration School for the Deaf in Mampong-Akuapem in the Eastern Region of Ghana among others.
Inspire to Rise has also commenced a social media menstrual health educational campaign dubbed ‘Period Health’ to provide on-demand content to girls and young women and to engage decision makers on the systems level changes required to drive inclusion and reduce period poverty in Ghana.
The campaign includes sign language interpretation to cater for audiences with hearing impairment.