Always Keeping Girls in School (AKGIS) Project

Always Keeping Girls in School (AKGIS) is a Procter & Gamble (P&G) sponsored Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) project implemented by Tabitha Cumi Foundation. The project was first test run on Educating Nigerian Girls in New Enterprises (ENGINE II) led by Mercy Corps Nigeria and implemented by Tabitha Cumi Foundation in 29 schools in the FCT, Abuja. The project was developed in response to several studies that articulated the challenges girls face during menstruation as many girls begin menstruation unaware. These challenges include but are not limited to poor access to comprehensive information about menstruation, lack of appropriate materials to manage menstrual bleeding, and inadequate water sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities. These challenges can lead to loss of dignity, behavioural restrictions, absenteeism from school and potential reproductive health risks.
On AKGIS project, we trained Guidance Counsellors in the 30 schools in the FCT and Ogun State including the Guidance Counsellors from Abuja School for the Deaf, built the capacity of 60 peer mentors from all AKGIS schools to teach other girls, using a girl friendly “Flow Guide” manual that was developed by the TCF team along with other stakeholders making menstruation exciting and easy to learn taking away stigma and shame from the girls so they can have their menstruation in confidence. With this, girls have now become better informed and do not loose school days because they are menstruating. The effect of the menstrual hygiene training and the information given to the girls has helped them to debunk the myths and taboos around menstruation, build their confidence and improved their understanding about this fact of life which is just a normal part of life for any girl and this information does not only go directly to them but to their sisters, mothers, friends, community, teachers and even to the men in their lives; their fathers and brothers.
P&G Always Keeping Girls in School implemented by TCF has changed the situation in the lives of girls in underserved communities as our outreach has extended far beyond the direct beneficiaries.

Always sanitary pads were distributed to the AKGIS girls in the implementing schools throughout the project period and He4She campaigns carried out in the schools to sensitize boys and encourage them to support the girls because you cannot train girls alone in isolation from the boys, which has made boys more supportive of the girls and the perception of boys around menstruation has changed. Baseline and Endline assessments were also conducted to establish predominant issues of the project participants which guided the overall outcome of the project with the information obtained.

Currently, the project is implemented by TCF for 1350 adolescent girls  in 3 Special Schools of the FCT,  9 Junior Secondary  Schools in Lagos, and 15 Junior Secondary Schools in Kwara States between September 2023-August 2024.

In a bid to drive inclusion in menstruation, TCF is working with special schools in the FCT including Abuja School for the Blind,  Abuja School for the Deaf, and  School for Special Needs Children. The comprehensive, girl-friendly, and easy-to-read manual, was translated into Braille, and we trained guardian counselors and peer mentors in each school and established safe spaces for club activities on menstrual health. Moreover, the project supplies girls with a year’s worth of Always sanitary pads, with an emergency sanitary box available at school, ensuring that girls do not face any obstacles in continuing their education due to their menstrual cycles.