Adolescence is the time when girls transition into potentially sexually active beings. The experience happens within herself, through menstruation and increased sexual interest. The process also entails a change in how she is viewed externally by boys, men and society as a whole. This can be a positive and exciting part of a girl’s life, or an incredibly painful and damaging one. It is critical that girls are armed with the correct facts about their bodies and how reproduction works. Too often, girls get misinformation through myths and uneducated advisors.
Adolescent girls’ knowledge of reproductive biology and health is critical to their ability to protect themselves from unwanted outcomes. While such knowledge is not sufficient to prevent such outcomes, it is every girl’s right and need to possess this information. Information about sexual and reproductive organs is essential to inform preventive strategies and to correct myths in public perceptions of sexual behaviour. Well-designed sport programmes can help girls reduce their risks, increase self-determination, encourage the practice of safer sex, and delay rather than hasten the onset of sexual activity.
Useful Example – Securing a Local Corporate Sponsor
Kisumu Youth Football Association (KYFA) is a grassroots, sport-for-development organisation that uses football as a tool for social change. KYFA secured a corporate sponsorship for their ladies league from Chandaria Industries. More than 400 girls now receive sanitary pads and are capable of playing football freely, with increased confidence during their menstrual cycles. In addition, they also can go to school and learn comfortably during their monthly cycles.
Adolescent Girl Life Skill:
• Understand and make healthy decisions about the body, sexuality and sexual/reproductive health
Practical Idea: Goal Programme Session
• Menstruation: To inform the girls about the function of the woman’s reproductive body, in particular the menstruation cycle and to discuss the importance of personal hygiene and care of the body.