‘’Is spotting a sign of premenstrual syndrome or do I need to see a doctor?’’ was an innocent question. The question was from an uninformed young girl at a secondary school in Olubadan Grammar School, Adekile Orita Aperin.
One of the very special days we celebrate at Onelife Initiative is the International Day of the Girl Child. On this day, we acknowledge and respect the rights of girls, and the need to eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls. This year, the theme was “Digital generation, Our generation”. Just based on their gender, the digital rights of so many girls all over the world have been hindered and restricted. This in turn impedes their well-being and ability to achieve a quality life, and also diminishes their chances of reflecting their ideas on the world.
The most basic sexual health information a girl needs is the ability to understand her body, what changes occur at different stages in her life time. Sadly many girls will go on living life without having the information that can either make their lives better or destroy their lives. This reduces the age of sexual debut among adolescent girls because they have limited information.
Working with Happy Moms
This year we partnered with a Facebook group called Happy Moms with a passion to see smiles on the faces of young in school girls. The programme main target was to provide menstrual hygiene management information to the girls. This is because the sexual health of girls begin with appropriate comprehensive sexuality education. During the outreach we reached 99 girls who learnt menstrual hygiene management. They also learnt how to calculate their periods which can help them to plan their day properly. This is important because a lot of girls miss school when they get their periods simply because there are no proper facilities to help them make their periods stress-free. Apart from helping the girls manually calculate their periods, they were introduced to digital technology that can help make calculating their periods seamless.
The second part of the commemoration was to introduce the girls also to tools that can aid their learning in school. This was quite exciting to the girls because for the first time they were able to see the place of technology in learning beyond the four walls of a formal classroom. The excitement was visible in the fact that they did not want the session to end, they had to be nudged by their teacher to break out from the session.
With support from the Facebook group Happy Moms, they provided backpacks for 20 pre-selected student who need them most. That bags contained mathematical set, sanitary pads and other personal sanitary materials, including bars of soap to encourage good hygiene practices and academic excellence
Girls have the right to learn through digital technology as well as acquire digital skills and also make a statement through technology. When we ensure that these digital rights of women and girls are indeed fulfilled, we get an environment and a justice system that works for all, and also be able to sustain such an environment both for now and for future generations.