Global Grassroots 2011 Year-End Magazine - Page 19

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Global Grassroots 2011

Think About the Young Girls*

In 2007 Médiatrice Mushimiyimana was teaching English at the Byimana Primary School when she noticed that many of her female students were struggling in class or dropping out of school. The younger girls easily kept up with the boys, but the older girls, those who had hit puberty, were performing poorly. Média began to think critically about the root of this issue, hoping to solve the problem and help the girls get the education they deserved.

The Issue: In Media's school, many girls are embarrassed to use the latrines once they reach the age of menstruation, because the poor construction of the latrines makes spying very easy for male students. In addition to embarrassment, the girls are also targets for sexual assault by male students, Many girls simply do not attend school during their menstrual period, missing a week of class every month. These circumstances often lead to poor academic performance and high drop out rates.

The Mission: The mission of Think About the Young Girls, a team of 35 teachers, is "To fight violence and stigma against girls and increase their success in school by providing separate sanitation facilities and educating the population about girls’ biological needs.”

latrinesat the school so that the girls could feel safe, to hold workshops for parents on reproductive health and girl’s biological needs, and to hold workshops and perform plays to engage the community about gender issues and sexual violence. In this way the team would priovide an immediate

A safe and sanitary school environment will help girls to excel in school.

-Médiatrice

The Solution: With Global Grassroots' training and high engagement support, the team developed a three-pronged solution. They decided to build separate

solution for the girls who were being harassed, and would also address the root of the issue - namely, the community mentality about sexual violence and reproductive health. Think About the Young Girls designed and initiated their own venture to carry out these activities.

photo by Laya Madsen