Girls Excel Mentoring Clubs is a long-term project of Girls Excel, a social impact organisation implemented in partnership with New Dawn Foundation. These clubs aim to create communities in which the absence of reproductive health education and sanitary pads don’t hinder schoolgirls from pursuing their education and building their confidence. The project aims to break the stigma and promote menstrual hygiene management by training 200 adolescent girls as peer educators in 20 communities in the South West region of Cameroon. The project will use non-formal education tools like arts, peer education and technology to achieve it objectives.
The training was needed to create a safe platform where girls can freely discuss issues surrounding menstrual hygiene and reproductive health education without fear or humiliation. UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girls skip school during menstruation because they lack sanitary pads. Added to this, lack of menstrual and reproductive health education is a leading factor in the high rate of teenage pregnancy in Cameroon. Aside from the health and educational disadvantages, there is also socio-economic implications when girls skip school, their ability to break free from poverty is limited.
Therefore, Girls Excel designed a comprehensive menstrual and reproductive health education program which tackled reproductive health education, leadership skills, peer education and the art of making affordable eco-friendly reusable sanitary pads which will last at least one year. At the end of the three weeks training, the girls graduated from as peer educators with the skills and capacity to establish girls clubs in their different churches/ quarters and replicate the skills and knowledge that they have gained from the training.
On the 10th of July 2018, Girls Excel officially opened its doors for the very first GE holiday club. After a “not too easy community mobilization” from previous weeks, GE received 25 children from the community with ages between 3 to 15 years old.
The objective of this holiday club is to encourage non formal education, get the children active and totally involved during this long holiday period, instil leadership qualities and improve teamwork among themselves. These future leaders were taught their rights and obligations as children, hygiene and sanitation, they all participated in Educative and team building games, and with so much enthusiasm, they asked very touching and intelligent questions to the GE team.
Many interesting topics will be revealed as the program unveils. We say a big thank you to all the parents who accompanied their kids and stayed back to watch them.