A ban by a local god has been placed on Ghanaian schoolgirls from crossing a river – River Ofin – while menstruating. The result of the ban is going to affect the education of the girls as they must cross the river to reach their school.
This ban means girls from Upper Denkyira East district, in the Central Region, could miss out on their education.
According to United Nations Scientific and Education Organisation (UNESCO), one in 10 girls in the region does not attend school because they are menstruating, while a World Bank Report notes that 11.5m Ghanaian women lack the appropriate hygiene and sanitation management facilities needed.
Shamima Muslim Alhassan, UNICEF menstrual hygiene ambassador who spoke to BBC Pidgin holds that the ban violates the girls’ right to education.
“It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they?” she said.
“Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.”
Central Regional Minister Kwamena Duncan has given indications he will coordinate with the Ashanti regional minister to find a solution.
The River Ofin is an easterly-flowing waterway in Ghana that flows through the Tano Ofin Reserve in Ghana’s Atwima Mponua District. The Ofin and the Pra rivers form the boundary between Ghana’s Ashanti region and Central region. Dunkwa-on-Offin is a major town on the river.
Many cultures in Africa have myths and taboos surrounding menstruation thereby limiting the rights of girls in such community.
In Madagascar, some females are told not to wash during their periods and in Nepal some women are forced to sleep in huts away from the rest of the family.
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