As part of activities commemorating Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2021, and as evidence of its wider commitment to the education of the girl-child, the Ghana Chamber of Mines, in partnership with the Ladies Lead Foundation has donated six months’ supply of sanitary products to some 500 girls in schools within the Ablekuma South Sub-Metropolitan District.
The items, worth GH¢30,000, had beneficiaries from the JamesTown Methodist Basic School; Hijaz Islamic Basic School; St Mary’s R/C Girls Basic School; St Michael and All Angels Basic School; Methodist B Basic School and Dr. F.V. Nanka Bruce JHS. Others include Methodist A Basic School; Ministry of Health Basic School as well as Kitson Mills Primary School.
The event marked a return of the chamber to make donations of sanitary items to schools in the catchment area, following a similar gesture in 2018.
Offering the rationale behind the choice of the area, Chief Executive of the Chamber, Dr. Suleiman Koney said that was aware of the economic and social challenges in the area and their impact on adolescent girls. He added that his outfit was particularly encouraged by the impact of its last donation in the area, as it vindicated the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) approach of the Chamber.
“Our objective with the PurplePeach Project is to support the increasing number of adolescent girls in not-so-endowed communities to access sanitary services for improved personal hygiene,” he said.
Access to affordable and sustainable menstrual hygiene products continues to remain beyond the ordinary reach of approximately 65% of women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, who in their reproductive prime.
With many trapped in intergenerational cycles of poverty and whose conditions are worsened by harmful policies such as the taxes applied to menstrual health management (MHM) products, Dr. Koney called for a review of such regimes and advocated for more local production.
“Menstruation is a fact of life and a natural monthly occurrence for the 1.8 billion girls and women of reproductive age around the world. As a chamber, we wish to lend our voices to the clarion call for the government to take a second look at the 20% luxury tax and 12.5% VAT that applies to sanitary pads imported into the country, which has ostensibly made the commodity quite expensive and inaccessible to many vulnerable girls in Ghana.
We also urge pharmaceutical companies in Ghana to take advantage of the opportunity to manufacture the product at a relatively lower price to support our girls and women. We cannot continue to allow the cost to deny girls access to this very important product for the management of the monthly menstrual cycle in a dignified and healthy way,” he argued.
On her part, Head of the Hijaz Islamic Basic School and representative of the Ghana Education Service (GSE), Ellen Adjaye Gyamfi, expressed optimism that the gesture would go a long way to reduce period poverty, combat instances of exploitation of adolescent girls as well as improve their educational outcomes.