From October to June, Dr. Oumou Traoré, a Malian doctor, gives two hours’ health education a week at the Center for Girls, addressing all the issues concerning girls from puberty to adulthood: personal hygiene, dental hygiene, protection against infectious diseases (such as malaria, diarrhea, HIV infection), puberty, the menstrual cycle, fertility, sexuality, wanted and unwanted pregnancy, contraception, menstrual hygiene, female genital mutilation. The lessons are age-appropriate and the topics are discussed carefully and sensitively. Cultural, traditional and religious beliefs are also considered alongside a scientific medical approach.
In the course of these lessons, the girls also learn important skills. These include reading French out loud and confidently, group work, working out their own contributions, and researching into individual fields. The classes are attended with enthusiasm and curiosity by girls from the Center as well as external schoolgirls. Because the girls have so many questions and such need for conversation, an additional consultation hour has recently been introduced, held once a month. The girls are thus given safety in two respects: They learn to act confidently and are well informed. With their knowledge about the facts of life and their motivation, they can also act as influencers in their personal and school environment.
Click here to watch an Arte video:
Mali: The protracted struggle against female genital mutilation