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YALI Voices: “Let the World Hear Your Voice”
December 19, 2017

Group of women gathered in building learning about sanitary health
Group of women gathered in building learning about sanitary health

Everyone ought to impact the world with an investment of their personality, making their voices heard and leaving the world better than how they met it. This is why, through the Girls Voice Project, we strive to contribute our own quarter to society. Through providing eco-friendly and financially beneficial, reusable sanitary towels to girls in my community in Cameroon, the Girls Voice Project is positively impacting the world.

The Girls Voice Project has done a lot to improve sanitary health challenges since many girls were using rags or torn clothes, or even letting the blood flow, without a thing to put on. The girls have regained their self-esteem and dignity. Now, some are able to go to school, stay in class and study with confidence during their flow, while others have learned the art of making sanitary towels.

The world at large and especially African communities are plagued with environmental hazards that hamper people’s health situations, including reproduction. So we are obliged to investigate the causes and try to understand and seek solutions by creating cordial relationships with those around us. This can be accomplished through sensitization programs, educative talks on hygiene and sanitation, and supporting clean environments. Dirty toilet facilities are detrimental to women as infections might lead to worse scenarios in the long run.

The Girls Voice Project has not been all a bed of roses. Challenges occur when some women don’t understand the need for cleanliness and others complain of limited financial resources to buy the laundry detergent to clean the reusable pads.

These difficulties led us to another innovative idea: buying chemicals to make our own detergents. The homemade detergents are more affordable while also teaching the women how to make these products for themselves and then market them to attain financial independence.

As young leaders, we all need to go out and light our candles of innovation, love, goodness and empathy by developing and improving our communities in the best way we can. We must also remember that as an individual, we can never do it all, but we can contribute the best we can to achieve sustainable development in our communities and the world at large.

“Let our voices be heard through the impacts we make.”

Mesame Sonewang is pursuing a master’s degree in governance and economic development. Her inspiration for the Girls Voice Project comes from a crisis in her family that resulted in her move to a rural community. There, she was privileged to meet people who understood life in a different way, people who could not afford a dollar per day for food, much less money for sanitary towels. This sharpened her family’s thoughts on how to impact the community by minimizing cost and focusing on the girl child. The idea of making reusable sanitary pads was created. The project has improved girls’ self-esteem, empowered them economically, and improved their knowledge of the reproductive health cycle. With the hope of impacting more lives, Mesame will push the project forward with developmental activities. To contact Mesame, you can reach out to her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blogs contributed by members of the YALI Network.

Headshot of Mesame Sonewang
Headshot of Mesame Sonewang