Child-centered NGO, J Initiative, is calling for a confrontation of the problem of the girl child with practical programmes and policy interventions instead of the usual rhetorics during this year’s activism of the girl child.
The organization says, it has observed that usually, stakeholders just pay lip service to the challenges confronting the girl child using hashtags and other social media activism without a commensurate practical approach to getting solutions to the problems of the girl child.
J. Initiative believes, all the years women groups and child-friendly NGOs have spent fighting to raise awareness about gender-based violence has not brought about the desired lasting and fundamental change.
In statement issued as part of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the organization says, it rather craves for a radical move beyond the use of hashtags but accelerated concrete ACTION to impact positively the lives of girls and women.
“The campaign on 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence has raised enough awareness and achieved the needed awareness creation momentum. It is time to move beyond words and ACT,” the statement said.
The organization noted that due to the increasing cost of sanitary towels, some girls, especially those in rural areas and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves and paper. Aside the fact that the neatness of these absorbents cannot be guaranteed and could cause diseases and infections to girls, most often they leak and soil themselves (their uniforms for girls in schools).
According to the Organization, the embarrassment girls face as a result of soiling their uniforms during their periods causes them to miss school, which ultimately affects their academic performance.
“The Ghana Revenue Authority classify sanitary pads as luxurious items which should attract a 20% import tax levy. This affects negatively the cost of sanitary pads, and other essentials necessary for women’s hygiene during mensuration. How do we campaign to end violence against women and associated problems such as child marriage, teenage pregnancy and other cultural and traditional acts of violence when an essential product such as sanitary pad has been wrongfully classified to attract tax?” the organization queried.
They warned, that until taxes are waived on sanitary pads and an institution of proactive policy and programme interventions, gender-based violence and related challenges will persist.
Research carried out in Ghana and Kenya have revealed that providing sanitary pads for girls and giving them skills to make their own pads will improve school attendance for these girls challenged by this natural happening. Kenya has recorded good results from providing free sanitary towels for girls aimed at encouraging school attendance during their periods, thereby removing menstruation as a barrier to girl child education.