Sarah Boateng – Global Youth Ambassador May 2021
Global Youth Ambassadors, GYA of the month
Theirworld's work would not be possible without our network of nearly 1000 Global Youth Ambassadors from around the world. Each month, we highlight the work of one or two of them and the amazing work they do to get every child into school.
A world without period poverty and stigma is possible, but to achieve these goals we need to work together. GYA Sarah Boateng is a passionate social entrepreneur and advocate for quality education working to invest in menstrual health education and hygiene.
Her organisation IGEA (Investing in Girls Education in Africa) has a mission to support girls in rural communities in Africa to achieve their educational potential.
Can you tell us more about the work IGEA does?
Our main mission is to eliminate all barriers blocking girls in Africa from accessing quality education.
Currently, we are running a programme called Menstruate and Educate. We provide girls with reusable period pads, to ensure they have effective period resources and reducing period poverty as a barrier to receiving a quality education. So far, we have been able to reach over 100 girls and have just fundraised to launch new projects and expand our reach to serve 500 girls spread across Northern Ghana.
Why is tackling period poverty so important?
Growing up, my own mother would often tell me about her struggle to remain in education. Born in rural Ghana, she left school early to become a local trader, selling oranges, and was unable to afford the expensive menstrual products. Nearly 60 years later, the same thing continues to happen in similar rural communities. I wanted to do something that could allow girls to finish their education – because I knew that their own experiences could have easily been my own.
What is your advice to other GYAs hoping to start their own projects?
I have three top tips for young people who might have a great idea but are stuck on how to get started. Research, network and just trying is my advice! Make sure you know your reasons, understand what motivates you and trust your vision – this will shine through, and know that even if you support one person, you have already made an incredible difference to someone’s life.
How has Covid-19 impacted your work?
During the pandemic, our work in Ghana was paused. Our biggest strength was that we were able to go into communities and bring them together through our physical workshops. When Covid-19 hit, this stopped so I began volunteering at a local foodbank in London. The importance of community-based initiatives became so clear, as we saw small communities coming together and support each other. IGEA began to fundraise to support foodbanks and distributed over 5,000 period products to services across the UK.