The SIGBI Award 2013 in Learning Opportunities goes to SI Barnstaple for their Knickers for Knowledge Project.
The club has started a new initiative which links with their international goals to improve the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. The project ‘Knickers for Knowledge’ a girls right to education in Africa, will involve partnership working with their friendship link club, SI Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
According to all available evidence, high school attendance in sub Saharan Africa is as low as 25% in some of the poor rural areas, with girls particularly marginalised. One of the key issues is the lack of sanitary wear, poor sanitation facilities and lack of water for hand washing.
A girl absent from school due to menstruation could lose 24 weeks out of a possible 144 weeks of learning over a four-year period. Following discussion with the Bulawayo club, financial support seems the most appropriate solution. All the money raised will go direct to the Bulawayo club, who will purchase sanitary protection locally and distribute this to those rural schools in most need.
Money passed to a Bulawayo member at the Federation Conference in Belfast enabled the club to supply all the girls of Chithekani Primary School, in an extremely deprived area, with knickers on International Women’s Day. It costs only £8 to provide a year’s supply of sanitary towels and a pair of knickers. We can obtain 50p per kilo for clean clothing, bedding and curtains.