Protecting Futures Program To Help African Girls Stay In School
Girls living in sub-Saharan Africa can miss up to four days of school each month because they lack the basic necessity of sanitary protection and other resources to manage their periods. To help give girls in this part of the world a better chance at an education and to raise awareness of this issue, P&G brands Always and Tampax are joining forces with HERO, an awareness building and fundraising initiative of the United Nations Association to launch the Protecting Futures program.
According to research, 1 in 10 school-age African girls do not attend school during menstruation or drop out at puberty because of the lack of clean and private sanitation facilities in schools.(1) And, if a girl has no access to protective materials or if the materials she has are unreliable and cause embarrassment, she may be forced to stay at home while menstruating. This absence of approximately 4 days every 4 weeks may result in the girl missing 10 to 20 percent of her school days.(2) The Protecting Futures program will provide products and services to help keep girls in school as well as help foster the overall health and well-being of every child in the targeted school communities.
"Working with HERO, the Protecting Futures program brings together the brands' global resources to help make a positive impact on these young girls by improving access to feminine hygiene products as well as education and health services," said Michelle Vaeth, Protecting Futures Program Director for P&G. "Through this program, Tampax and Always will help build an infrastructure that - with support from local and national governments - can give children in these communities the chance to reach their full potential."
"Protecting Futures is making a positive and direct impact in the lives of children living in HIV/AIDS-affected communities in sub-Saharan Africa. This program also helps support two of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals - promoting gender equity and ensuring that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling," said Gabrielle Armand, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing for the United Nations Association of the USA. The UNA-USA's HERO Campaign provides comprehensive school-based support to children living in HIV/AIDS-affected communities in Southern Africa.
Protecting Futures, a ground-breaking five-year commitment was born out of a pilot program Always launched in Kenya two years ago through a partnership with the Girl Child Network (GCN) and is a part of P&G corporate cause, Live, Learn, and Thrive which has helped over 50 million children in need.
Protecting Futures is a comprehensive care program which will bring puberty education, traveling health educators, nutritious feeding programs, educational support services, a pad distribution program, and significant construction projects to nine schools in the first year.