YOUNG GIRLS getting pregnant and/or marrying at a young age is a serious issue in Zambia. Two problems exist that are interconnected.
One problem occurs when girls have their menstrual periods. In the slum, most do not have access to sanitary pads. When they have their periods, they often miss school. Consequently, girls may miss 3-5 days of school each month. Their local culture does not emphasize female education. So, if a girl falls behind in school, most families are not concerned.
The other problem is teen pregnancy and teenage girls getting married. Some WCS 7th and 8th grade girls have become pregnant and dropped out of school. The solution is complex, but studies show that a lack of information on sex and dropping out/falling behind in school contribute to the problem. Zambia also has a higher morbidity rate for teen girls who become pregnant.
To facilitate better attendance for menstruating girls, the school supplied the girls with disposable sanitary napkins. A supply will also be kept at school for emergencies.