Yinson Ghana, in collaboration with Ahanta West Directorate of Education, is honoured to introduce the ‘Yinson Girls Education Programme’, which was recently launched at St Mary’s Senior High Secondary School in Apowa, near Takoradi.
The programme launch was graced by key members of the community including Mr George Effa, Ahanta West Municipal Director of Education, Mr Alfred Ayah, Western Regional Director of the Petroleum Commission, Ms Sekyewa Darko, Community Relations Manager of the Petroleum Commission, Ms Ernestina Kangah, Girls Education Coordinator at the Ahanta West Municipal Education Service, and representatives from Yinson Ghana.
The programme aims to improve Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) studies among female students and reduce poor academic performance caused by Period Poverty. The programme is estimated to impact around 750 female students from upper primary to junior high in the Ahanta West Municipality.
Period Poverty is a prevailing issue relating to menstrual inequity caused by factors such as menstrual product scarcity, inadequate access to clean toilets, hand washing receptacles and hygienic waste management systems and stigma towards a biologically normal and healthy process. Period poverty can subsequently lead to health complications and lower attendance rates at schools, causing poorer academic performance.
Mrs Amen Morrison, A Public Health Nurse and Adolescent Mentor at the Ahanta West Municipal Health Directorate, hosted an educational talk for female students regarding menstrual management and hygiene. She also highlighted the physical and mental outcomes of improper sanitation and unhygienic alternatives, causing severe bacterial infections accompanied by heightened anxiety and depression. She then reiterated that menstrual products are basic necessities, not luxuries.
Ms Samelia Bawiah, an author, writer and publisher, organised an interactive, educational drama for students to perform at the launch of the programme. The student’s performance was filled with joy and laughter, as they acquired valuable insights on maintaining personal menstrual hygiene.
Yinson Ghana also took the opportunity to donate a pack of sanitary pads to all three hundred students present during the launch event, with a further 450 packs to female students within the week.
Ms Kangah asserted, “The lack of menstruation knowledge, proper facilities and support for female students have led to high absenteeism, poor academic performance, and early dropout, leading to other social issues.”
Yinson’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Coordinator, Mr Mensah, said that the programme aligned with Yinson’s mission of promoting quality education and effective learning in its host communities. He commented, “This programme is in line with Yinson’s commitment towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) of Quality Education, Good Health and Wellbeing, and Gender Equality. We aim to support all female students to excel in their studies regardless of any obstacles faced, and hope to witness the emergence of more future female leaders for the generations to come.”
Furthermore, Ms Darko advised female students to refrain from premature sexual conduct and view menstruation as a step towards maturity and adulthood. She urged parents and community members to eliminate the misconception about menstruation and support young females in embracing the cycle.
Mr Effah said, “Female education lies at the core of the Ghana Education Service and as such, the Ministry of Education will consistently support and collaborate with any institution that prioritises female educational development.” Mr Effah then cited a quote by Dr Kweggyir Aggrey, an intellectual missionary, ‘if you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation’ which emphasised the pivotal role of females in the socio-economic growth of the nation.
Yinson will continue to place heavy emphasis on CSR initiatives and will continuously foster STEM studies as its primary focus moving forward while also championing menstrual equity and inclusivity for female students surrounding the areas where we operate.