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Educating Girls about Menstruation in Low-Income Countries

Menstruation in low-income countries isn’t an issue often talked about, but one group is doing what it can to help teach girls about their changing bodies.

Grow and Know is an organization working toward educating girls who don’t have access to learning materials about menstruation. The company launched after successfully distributing a book on girl’s puberty in Tanzania.

The book, which was approved for use in primary schools by the Tanzania Ministry of Education, garnered positive responses from girls, mothers, fathers and teachers. There have been over 470,000 copies distributed throughout the country to date.

According to Grow and Know’s website, the organization “aims to develop books that are grounded into the local social, cultural, and economic context, and that capture the real perspectives of young people growing up today.”

It’s important to talk about menstruation in low-income countries, as many girls living in Africa, Asia and Latin America don’t have access to sufficient information, guidance and support about their changing bodies.

As a result, many don’t ask for assistance when first experiencing menstrual periods, as they feel too afraid, embarrassed or ashamed.

Without proper hygiene management, such as adequate information, safe and private places to change a menstrual cloth or pad, and water at school, girls may end up missing class, or stop going to school completely.

Educating girls, however, is shown to improve the overall health of not only their peers, but their communities as well.

When girls are more educated, they can live a healthier lifestyle, participate more in the labor market, make more money, have fewer children, and give their children access to better health care and education. Doing so improves the wellbeing of individuals in households and can spread throughout generations and communities.

After seeing success in Tanzania, Grow and Know worked to adapt the girl’s puberty book to Ghana, Ethiopia and Cambodia. All three countries’ Ministries of Education approved the book, and almost 300,000 copies have been distributed to date.

Matt Wotus

Sources: Grow and Know, Medical Xpress, The World Bank
Photo: Grow and Know