MBSSE’s, ‘Leh wi Lan’ provides menstrual hygiene kits to rural school girls  

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By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

 With funding from the UK  Department for International Development, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), and ‘Leh Wi Lan’ Oranisation, have launched and commenced  the distribution of menstrual hygiene kits to school girls in the Western Rural District.

The launch, which is part of the Radical Inclusion initiative, will benefit over 300,000 school girls in the Western Rural and is aimed at ensuring that girls are not absent from school during school hours due to menstruation.

Deputy Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Emily Gogra, who also served as chairperson of event at the Peninsular Secondary School in Waterloo, disclosed that, in Sierra Leone, adolescent girls miss up to 20% of their school year due to menstruation period and also being unable to afford sanitary products.

She said the situation has significant consequences on their learning and participation in school and that is why through the Ministry’s partners, Leh Wi Lan, they were distributing sanitary hygiene kits to those girls with special attention from poor background and girls with disability.

She further stated that, since 2019 to date, Leh Wi Lan has distributed over 75,000 sanitary hygiene kits to school girl across the country. “Menstruation is not only a biological problem, but it is also a social problem, because it has to do with money and it prevent girls from going to school,” she said.

Team Lead of Leh Wi Lan, Mohamed Barrie, said with support from the UK Aid they have been supporting the radical inclusion process since 2019 and that they have distributed half a million sanitary hygiene kits to school girls across the country.

National Gender Basic Violence Coordinator at the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Ramatu Kargbo  said  menstruation is a biological process that is experienced by every woman and girls, but many girls have experienced stigmatization over the decades especially amongst boys in their schools.

She encouraged boy to be supportive to girls going through their menstruation period instead of stigmatizing them.

Launching the distribution process, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Conrad Sachey, said he was proud to be part of the distribution process, noting that in many African countries, girls do not have access to such gesture of free sanitary pads.

He said President Julius Maada Bio prioritize the education of all learners particularly girls and as articulated in the Free Quality Education and the Radical Inclusion Policy, the country has improved significantly in all learning indicators especially in the equity indicators.

He highlighted that more girls are now completing secondary school than boys a step which is a milestone for education in the country, noting that to support girls enrolment and completion of secondary school, the Ministry in coordination with the Office of the First Lady, championed the provision of menstrual hygiene kits to school girls.

He also said since then, the Ministry has provided menstrual hygiene kits to millions of school girls in every district of the country emphasizing girls from poor and marginalized background and Leh Wi Lan organization and its partners have been working tirelessly to improve learning outcome  and they have been helping to deliver the radical inclusion policy to secondary schools.

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