The " Loum Project Girls Support Program" has two main initiatives: keeping girls in school and informed girls about their sexual health. The Loum Project Girls Support Program is an initiative to assist girls in successfully completing their education. These programs include: Supplying sanitary pads to girls who are menstruating; Providing accurate health information and mentorship through a female health worker.
In Cameroon, drop-out rates are very high for rural girls. Period poverty is a particularly acute problem in rural areas like Loum. The lack of access to menstrual pads is exposing young girls to various genital infections, as they are opting to use unhygienic methods such as tissues, rags, cow dung or even leaves. Cost of hygiene products and the difficulties in managing periods play a key role in keeping these girls out of school.
In Cameroon, there is a high rate of teen pregnancy; with over 20% of girls having their first baby by the time they are 16. HIV infection rates are higher in girls than boys of the same age and in addition, the maternal death rate is also high, 25% of which are from unsafe abortions.
Distribution of sanitary pads will help to keep girls in school which in turn will affect the entire community of Loum. By teaching these young girls how to care for themselves physically and emotionally, as well as giving them something as simple as reusable sanitary pads, they are empowered to attend school and thus avoid being vulnerable to manipulation and sexual violence. By getting an education, each girl will have the tools she needs to succeed in life and that can make all the difference in the world.
Girls in schools with peer-educators are better informed about reproductive health and more comfortable with discussing issues around menstruation, puberty and relationships with boys. This program will help to increase the number of girls attending school in the community of Loum.