Sandra Boakye felt the need for change in menstrual health and education after engaging with the young girls in the Ghana Adolescent Health Project in 2015. She witnessed their struggles, and the lack of knowledge on adolescent development, especially concerning reproductive health, inspired her to take action. This lack of education and resources led many of these young women to miss school, marry or have babies as a teenager, become a victim of sexual violence, and engage in risky behaviors.
Using her own personal resources and the growing network of supporters, Boakye began her initiative by providing free sanitary pads and menstrual hygiene education to girls in schools. The overwhelming response from the girls and teachers marked the birth of Inspire Her.
Since then, the organization has implemented a diverse range of programs, including educational sessions, community outreaches, training initiatives, and focused group discussions. “Inspire Her is an organization dedicated to breaking the barriers associated with menstruation for women and girls, ensuring every girl has a positive experience with menstruation, including girls with disabilities,” says Boakye. “We are empowering girls and women through reproductive health interventions aimed at addressing period poverty and advancing menstrual equity for ALL girls.”
One of the aspects of the program is the establishment of a pad-making business. “We set up a pad-making enterprise in one region in Ghana. Eight seamstresses were trained in reusable pad-making to serve their communities. This intervention provides an alternative income source for its beneficiaries.” Inspire Her also trains others to teach the material in their local schools and communities so more girls and women can be educated.
Women are not the only ones who benefit. “The program provides a menstrual health education component for school-aged boys to enable them to break the myths and stigma on menstruation and teaches them to support…girls in school during their menstruation.” Inspire Her also aims to reach men and community leaders by collaborating to break menstrual taboos and promote gender equality, and also healthcare workers by improving menstrual health training for better guidance and care.
Inspire Her’s impact is represented in two significant moments. The first was a heartfelt call on a radio show from a girl whose life was transformed by the program. “She expressed how access to sanitary pads and menstrual health education allowed her to attend school regularly and how teaching her calculating her period using the calendar has helped her plan for her periods. As a result, she not only improved her academic performance and gained admission on college but also gained the confidence to dream of becoming a doctor one day. Her story not only touches me but gives me the drive to reach out to more young girls.”
The second was being awarded the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship by the US Embassy, recognizing Boakye’s exceptional leadership, and a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the United States Congress and from the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania as a Young African Leader.
The biggest challenges Inspire Her faces include securing financial resources in order to fund all their programming, and also breaking the resistance many people and communities have about menstruation. “Due to the rich culture and social cultural norms in Africa, menstruation is shrouded in secrecy and the topic comes with a lot of stigma. While our program aims to provide
menstrual health education, creating awareness about the importance of menstruation, menstrual equity and overcoming cultural taboos can be challenging. Some communities resist discussing
menstruation openly, making it harder to reach the people who need your services the most.”
Despite the challenges, Inspire Her continues to be fueled by the belief that every girl and woman deserves dignity, education, and opportunity.
You can help inspire young women in Ghana by supporting this organization financially here: