A new branch of the Girls Excel Mentoring Club (GEM) was recently launched in Bamenda, by our focal point Ms Takwe Helvecia who is the national coordinator of World Vision for Education and Development (WVED) our partner organisation in the North West region. The aim of this club is to engage and support the girls in local communities and schools to have access to health education and sanitary pads. It is worthy to mention that this club has been launched thanks to funding from the British High Commission within the framework of the project ‘Menstrual Hygiene Campaign in Schools’ implemented in four regions in Cameroon within the space of 6 months.
In the North West region, the GEM club had 2 sessions already with each session lasting 3hours. The first session took place on the 20thof April 2019 at WVED’s office with 15 peer educators. This week’s lesson was very interesting and exciting as the girls were very happy to get engage into this new program that is Girls Excel Mentoring Club. The program started with a brief introduction by WVED’s coordinator Mme Helvecia Takwe where she stated the objectives of the club as:
- To train, support and inspire girls in the region on issues affecting their lives such as sexual and reproductive health education (menstrual hygiene management inclusive).
- Promote access to education for girls by ensuring that girls don’t school because of menstrual hygiene related causes
- Teach girls to make reusable sanitary pad, how to use and clean them
Within this session the different kinds of material and equipment necessary for the production of reusable pad was presented to the girls. The girls were taught how to tread a sewing machine, how to paddle a sewing machine, the different parts of reusable sanitary pads/towels as well as cutting out stencils of pad using cardboard paper. The girls took turns practicing how to paddle the machine and how to sew straight lines. The girls were also taught how to carve out different stencils that they will use for the production of the reusable pad.
Session 2 (27th/04/2019):
A second session was held on the 27thof April 2019. This session was another exciting moment with the girls as they had a brief summary of the female reproductive organ. The girls also continued with the production of the reusable pads. They girls succeeded to carve out the stencils they will be using in the production of the reusable pads. The different parts carved out were:
- Underlying adhesive layer
- Middle absorbent layer
- Adhesive wings
After producing the paper pattern, the girls placed them on the material and cut the material needed for the production of the reusable sanitary pad. So far, most of the club members are excited about using a sewing machine to produce their own reusable sanitary pads and this excitement was shared by one of the club members, 15 year old Samiratu who said that;
“I am really excited starting this new program. I am curious to see how my reusable pad produce by a sewing machine will look like”