By Alim Jalloh
Orange Sierra Leone continues to demonstrate its Corporate Social Responsibility and Philanthropy by reaching to more schools. The latest schools to get menstrual hygiene packs and education were Ahmadiyya Islamic Secondary School, Independence and St. Helena Secondary Schools in Freetown.
On Monday 28th October the company visited the three schools’ campuses. Led by the Head of the Corporate Social Responsibility for Orange Sierra Leone, Desmond Spaine and team said the visit to the schools was to support the Free Quality Education programme of the Government of Sierra Leone in effectively managing menstrual hygiene circles for girls.
The support was consistent with the pledge of USD 1.5 million materials made by Orange Sierra Leone in August, 2018 when President Bio was launching the Free, Quality Education in Freetown. This was further explained that it contains five other projects which the company would roll out later this year to benefit pupils and teachers.
Girl Child Network Sierra Leone is one of the partners of the project and a beneficiary of the NGO, Abibatu, gave a short talk on how pupils should manage their menstrual. Amongst which she maintained that an effective administration of their menstrual calendar would require them not to use contraceptives.
Cordelia Sogie-Thomas of the Orange CSR team handed over one hundred reusable and highly scientifically tested menstrual hygiene packs to each of the three schools visited to the authorities. They encouraged the authorities to record the distribution of the hygiene packs in diaries for follow-up purposes. All three school authorities lauded Orange Sierra Leone for the initiative and assured them that, they will effectively manage the consignments for their intended purposes.
The project which will run for the next five years will have to roll out 10,000 packs of menstrual hygiene packs in total to one hundred schools across Sierra Leone.
Founder of Girl Child Network Sierra Leone Madam Anita Koroma expressed satisfaction over support Orange gave to the organisation in providing schools especially the girl-child education on the early use of contraceptives by teenage girls in Sierra Leone.
Founded in 2011, the organization works on different areas of intervention related to Education, Girl Rights, Ending violence against girls, Leadership and Empowerment skills development.
Currently, Madam Koroma is working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on interventions that are geared towards encouraging girls to stay in school by producing and distributing reusable, durable and eco-friendly menstrual hygiene packs which guide girls on how to manage their menstrual cycles responsibly.
She is also working with Orange Sierra Leone in implementing effective sensitization on menstrual hygiene management for girls as a way of supporting the Free Quality Education program.
In a snap interview by this press, Madam Anita disclosed that the issue of getting girls to stay in school has been a challenge because the issue of menstrual cycles has been a taboo. As a result girls in schools are not open and comfortable to discuss it especially with their parents, boys or their teachers.
The Girl Child Network CEO also called for breaking this culture of silence. She encourages girls, school authorities and parents to openly discuss issues around menstrual hygiene and to support the girls while they are undergoing their menstrual periods.