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Girls are the answer

Have you wanted to do a bit of good in the world? Have you asked yourself where you should direct your energies? What would really make a difference? Have you looked desperately for inspiration - a new product? a cure-all remedy? a new business model? Have you said to yourself that you're not creative enough, or clever enough or savvy enough to be the change? That you need to leave it up to truly talented people?

It will come as no surprise to you to hear that at GirlsSussed, we think Girls are the answer. The great Kofi Annan once said,

‘there is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls. No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition and promote health.'

Why is that? Of course girls are the future mothers of the next generation, but in many parts of the world, they will also be the gatekeepers of their family's nutrition and health. An education will improve theirs and their family's living standards. Girls with an education can work and access wider opportunities, and communities will prosper.

Yet girls face enormous challenges to get an education and one of the biggest challenges is being able to carry on with daily activities whilst menstruating. Girls need suitable products to absorb the blood, whilst minimising leaks and smells. Proprietary brands of menstrual products cost money that is beyond the means of the families in poor communities. Girls are reduced to using unsuitable and possibly unhygienic materials. We heard recently about them using animal skins in Uganda for example. And sometimes they don't use anything, but they sit over a dirt hole in the ground. How can you go to school in those circumstances?

This week we are joining the Days for Girls UK virtual conference, and were treated to a very inspiring opening talk by their founder Celeste Mergens. She simply asked the question 'what do poor girls do for menstrual hygiene?' and when she was told, she could not let it go. Days for Girls was born to give back girls their 'days' - days at school, days at work; all the days menstruation had robbed them of. The organisation started in 2008 sewing cloth pads and distributing them, and has now grown into a large organisation that is empowering women to set up their own cloth pad making enterprises in many countries around the world.

The Days for Girls conference will continue on Thursday 10th June and Saturday 12th June. We are very excited to learn more!

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