Traditional leaders in Ghana have banned school girls from crossing a river every Tuesdays and during their menstruating period in order not to provoke the gods in the community.
According to reports, the ban was given by a local river god that menstruating girls should desist from crossing the River Ofin, in the Upper Denkyira East district, in the Central Region.
The ban has outraged children’s activists, because the girls could miss out on their education since they apply the river to get to their schools.
The UN’s scientific and education organisation, Unesco, estimates one in 10 girls in the region does not attend school because they are menstruating, while a World Bank report notes that 11.5m Ghanaian women lack the appropriate hygiene and sanitation management facilities needed.
Reacting to the ban, Unicef’s menstrual hygiene ambassador Shamima Muslim Alhassan told BBC Pidgin:
“It seems the gods are really powerful aren’t they?” she said. “Sometimes I think that we need to ask for some form of accountability from these gods who continue to bar a lot of things from happening, to account for how they have used the tremendous power that we have given them.”
Central Regional Minister Kwamena Duncan has given indications he will coordinate with the Ashanti regional minister to find a solution, BBC Pidgin reports.
The River Ofin serves as a boundary between the Ashanti and Central Region.
Meanwhile, during menstruation in Madagascar some females are told not to wash during their periods and in Nepal, some women are forced to sleep in huts away from the rest of the family.