Promoting Girl’s Health, Education and Equality During Women’s Month

The Girl Effect Conference, launched on 22 August 2019 as part of Women’s month celebrations, provided a much-needed platform for strategic stakeholders within the economic development sector to address the needs of the ‘girl-child’ and tackle topics such as menstruation; sexually transmitted diseases; sexual consent; and teenage pregnancies.

Funded by REISA solar farm, the Girl Effect Conference’s ambit will continue to reach more learners within Gamagara communities through regular conversations on the concerned topics at targeted schools.

“This conference kicked off by creating a space for practical conversation starters concerning the identified topics with 100 girl learners,” Veronique Isaacs, Community Operations Manager for REISA.

In keeping with REISA’s socio-economic development role, a strategic and interactive conference, ‘The Girl Effect Conversations’, was designed to have further and deeper educational discussions with learners about Menstruation; Sex and Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Sexual Assault and Sexual Consent; Family Planning and Teen Pregnancies.

REISA’s Ubuntu Schools Project Social Worker’s intervention programme has been focused on teenage pregnancy this year. Over 900 teen-pregnancy learners were reached and almost forty school drop-outs returned to school, receiving support from the programme.

Support is provided to teen moms in terms of accepting their new role and responsibility as well as coping with examination anxiety. Additional support has been extended to pregnant learners who chose to leave school, often due to shame.

“What has been most distinct about the Social Worker’s engagements and findings has been that the predicate for teen-pregnancies has evolved. Children as young as 10 years old are experiencing this phenomenon, hence sexual assault and sexual consent educational sessions have become an integral part of the Social Worker’s interventions,” explained Isaacs.

Since its inception in August 2018, The Girl Effect, which promotes menstrual hygiene education and quality education for all girls by providing equal access to education and health-care, over 2 300 girls have been reached. Through the provision of sustainable, alternative and eco-friendly sanitary towels, girl’s absenteeism during their menstruation period, has decreased. The Subz Pads are washable sanitary pads and panties designed especially for the underprivileged girls. The panty is made of 100% cotton knit, which allows the skin to breathe and is an eco-friendly/green solution and is SABS Absorbance approved.

In addition to receiving a supply of sanitary wear which is designed to last for a period of 5 years, girls are educated on menstrual hygiene and how to use the Subz Pack. This educational programme provides an enabling environment where girls can ask questions in a supportive space.

This Project is in line with REISA’s Strategy, responding to a number of Sustainable Development Goals, namely good health and well-being, quality education and gender equality.


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