Best Ideas 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
Network for Girl Child Empowerment (NGiCE)
Explain your idea in details:
J.E.K Aggrey, once said If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation. Sadly, the realization of quality education for girls is a problem in most developing countries including Ghana. Several barriers to girls education exist. However, menstruation has emerged as an additional barrier to school attendance and active participation amongst adolescent girls. UNESCO estimates that one in 10 African adolescent girls misses school during menses and eventually drops out of school due to menstruation-related issues, such as inaccessibility of affordable sanitary products. Presently 20% tax levy is charged on imported sanitary towels because they are categorized as luxury products according to the Ghana Revenue Authority guidelines. Due to the increasing cost of sanitary towels, some girls; especially those in rural areas resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves and paper. The continuous use of these material leads to several vaginal and urinary infections. NGiCE aims to empower girls to reach their full potential by being able to stay in school and finish their education. The aim will be achieved through the following activities; donation of sanitary pads and panties to adolescent girls in Ghana with a special focus on those living in rural areas, conducting hygiene education coupled with mentoring sessions for these girls. Statistics have shown that the average woman can use up to 10,500 disposable sanitary pads or more in her lifetime. This reveals that donating disposable pads will just be a temporal solution to this issue. Thus NGiCEs innovative approach will be to donate washable, reusable sanitary pads that can last a girl from 3-5 years. A team will be trained to locally manufacture and package these pads.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The World Economic Forum Report 2012 highlights, over time, a nations competitiveness depends, among other things, on whether and how it educates and utilizes its female talent. Investing in girls education is probably the most cost-effective measure a developing country can take to improve its standard of living, thanks to the many positive externalities or multiplier effects of female education. This intervention is expected to address the issue of low attendance and increased school dropout rates amongst females and in effect empower them to make positive contributions for their communities and the nation as a whole. We believe that empowering girls is essential to achieving SDG 5, where females and males have equal enjoyment of their rights, resources, opportunities, and benefits. The programme is estimated to reach and empower close to 10,000 adolescent girls living in rural Ghana by the end of 2020. For each community visited, baseline data will be collected. With thorough monitoring and evaluation, this baseline will be compared with the aftermath in order to measure success. The key performance measures to be adopted in measuring the success of the programme will evolve around quality review of the programme goals and key timelines, budgetary control and stakeholder satisfaction. The various stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender and Children Protection, The Ghana Health Service and even the beneficiaries at large would contribute to the success of the programme by assisting the Programme Management Team find out how they are feeling about the impact and effects of the programme. A thorough engagement of the stakeholders is very key in assessing how programme has impacted the lives of the beneficiaries.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
NGiCE will operate as a registered Social Enterprise based in Ghana and operating mainly in the rural areas with a direct focus on empowering young girls to reach their full potential. NGiCE plans to put together a team of young women who will be trained to locally manufacture the washable sanitary pads to be donated. The programme team will collaborate with leaders and teachers of the communities to identify beneficiaries of the progrmme. The beneficiaries will be taken through practical lessons on Menstrual Health Management(MHM) in collaboration with the Ghana Health Services. NGiCE will also team up with female entrepreneurs and Ghanaian women who serve as role models to engage the girls in mentoring sessions. The beneficiaries will be closely monitored and assigned reading exercises and mini community projects. For sustainability, NGiCE will appoint trusted local representatives who will work with the girls, monitor their performance and provide continuous support. The programme team will conduct follow-up visits to communities after every 6 months for mop-up donations and identify brilliant girls to qualify for educational scholarships. NGiCE will be financed with donations and grants from local and international organizations. Proposed collaborators include the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana education service, local health workers and local community leaders.
I am Kakra Benefo Asante, a determined young woman born on November 13th, 1987 who desires to significantly contribute to Ghana's development by building the capacity of other young people with focus on young women to become positive change agents. I am passionate about education and empowerment of young people because I believe that with the right support, many of them can become as great and successful. Motivated by this desire, I have over the past seven years worked together with humanitarian organizations to contribute significantly to touching the lives of over 250,000 people in Ghana through free coaching and mentoring services for the youth, outreaches to rural communities, educational support to blind and deaf children and prison support services for young women in prison. I have an MBA in project management from the Wisconsin International University College in Ghana. For me, receiving the award will provide huge motivation and leverage needed to continue promoting empowerment of women in Ghana and around the globe.