International Day of the Girl Child – by Caroline Peterson, Development Assistant Intern
On October 11, the world will celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, a day dedicated to raising global awareness of girls’ rights and acknowledging the promise held by young women. All girls hold the capacity to change their families, communities, and countries for the better, and have the right to learn, grow, and live safe, happy lives. Unfortunately, girls around the world are unable to fulfill their full promise as they are too often burdened by reproductive health problems, from STIs to unplanned pregnancies. Many girls around the world, especially those in rural areas, lack access to the family planning resources needed to avoid these life-altering challenges.
WellShare International works to change this reality by improving girls’ access to vital reproductive healthcare in rural Uganda. By training and mobilizing Village Health Teams (VHTs) focused on community-based family planning and adolescent outreach, WellShare has improved many girls’ ability to receive relevant reproductive health information, counseling, and care. VHTs are trained in educating the community about birth control, making referrals to other health care providers, and in providing some forms of contraceptives to clients.
A particular area of focus has been in expanding the availability of injectable contraceptives to adolescents. Increased access to the birth control shot, an effective and long-lasting contraceptive method, can change a girl’s life for the better. Unburdened by teen pregnancy and able to access the reproductive healthcare they need, girls in Uganda are better able to reach their full potential, an achievement perfect to recognize on the International Day of the Girl Child.