The overarching maturation challenges faced by young girls in developing countries can be broken down in to four main contributing factors: gender bias, menstruation ignorance, minimal hygiene and sanitation, and uninformed mothers. To learn more about each of these specific contributors, see the following sections.
Education, especially of the girl-child, is widely regarded as the best investment that most developing countries can make. Not only does it open up choices and opportunities, education is associated with better health outcomes individually and as a family, resulting in better nutrition and fewer deaths among mothers and children. Being able to prepare young girls for success in school is paramount to achieving health and success in an increasingly global community. Indeed, girls without an education will be greatly disadvantaged in the future and will struggle with maximizing their potential as adults. Gender equality doesn't come without honest dialogue and the understanding of the need to change attitude. Gender equality doesn't come without proper education of the necessity of respect and dignity of both genders. Grow.Learn.Give. lessons provide this dialogue and teach both genders to respect themselves and others.
Once young girls in school begin their menstruation, many drop out due to lack of access to sanitary pads and the availability of adequate school sanitation and hygiene facilities to meet their needs. The attitudes and behavior surrounding menstruation are shame, neglect, poor self-image, ignorance, and perpetual infection of the bladder, kidneys and reproductive organs. These difficulties largely contribute to the lowered status of girls, women, and mothers worldwide. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) (2005) estimates that one in 10 school-age African girls do not attend school during their menstruation. Withdrawal from school is often followed by a variety of tragedies ranging from early marriage, to contraction of HIV, to difficult/life threatening childbirths. Research has demonstrated that by preventing withdrawal from school, many of these negative outcomes affecting young woman can be eliminated. Grow.Learn.Give. education has helped raise school attendance rates for girls by improving the attitudes surrounding menstruation. The lessons also decrease the ridicule among boys and empower the school administration with solutions to keep their girls attending school all the days of the month.
Hygiene and Sanitation:
Few schools in developing countries have adequate sanitation or hand washing facilities for girls or boys. For girls, communal toilet facilities are not suitable for changing sanitary pads due to the lack of water and sanitary material disposal system. Given the limited resources and unsanitary conditions of their schools, many young girls are forced to either miss school regularly during their menstrual cycle or withdraw altogether. However, it's not enough to just build a toilet or give a girl a pad. Boys and girls need to understand basic germ theory and have the means to keep themselves germ/parasite free. They also need information and true understanding of the natural process of maturation. Maturation education is sorely lacking in underserved countries and Grow.Learn.Give. seeks to fill this gap by providing appropriate, and comprehensive adolescent health education.
Because mothers in developing nations haven't always had the opportunity to obtain factual health knowledge, the cycle of ignorance, early death, high infant and child mortality, and overall poor quality of life perpetuates generation after generation. Mothers are the frontline of defense when it comes to life-saving and life-altering practices. Grow.Learn.Give. seeks to educate mothers in order to prevent germ and parasite infection, difficult child birth, gender bias attitudes within the family, and abuse. GLG also empowers women to look at their own lives and make changes.