The African Education Program (AEP) first distributed reusable menstrual pads and condoms to girls and boys at their flagship Learning & Leadership Center in Kafue, Zambia in 2007 to address period poverty and the high pregnancy rate in the local community. In parallel, we also introduced reproductive health programming at the Center as a cornerstone of our holistic approach for empowering youth as engaged students and leaders ready to transform their communities.
Building on nearly 15 years of work, the Reproductive Health Access Initiative (RHAI) was formalized in 2022 to address a multitude of factors that prevent girls and women from dreaming big and achieving their full potential, including:
Lack of information about or access to family planning, modern contraception, and HIV / STD prevention programs;
Systemic barriers to secondary education; and,
Gender discrimination and cultural / social taboos that prevent girls and women from accessing crucial healthcare services and exercising their reproductive rights.
Until this point in time, many girls and young women in our community had neither seen nor heard of a reusable menstrual cup. AEP entered into partnerships with Saalt and Pixie Cup to distribute a more sustainable product so that everyone enrolled in the local program has access to the period care products they need to have a healthy, dignified period. And thanks to a USAID grant award in 2022, the local team is testing this sustainable solution with mothers of the girls in the program too.
By equipping girls and women with the best modern tools to own their health, we can empower them to participate fully in education and public life and to achieve their full potential.
That is why we are proud to announce today that we have been selected as a finalist for the 2023 GoAbroad Innovation Awards in the category Innovation in Sustainability. The GoAbroad Innovation Awards Academy will vote over the coming weeks to determine the winner for each award and the winners will be announced at the GoAbroad Reception during the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo in Washington DC, on Thursday, June 1, at 6:30PM. Wish us luck!
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