Who is she?
McKenzie Canon is a student at the University of Arkansas, studying to become a nurse. She had plans of traveling to Ghana this past summer, as part of the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing’s Community Health Study Abroad program. Sadly, her trip got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, she was still determined to make her mission happen.
Ghanaian culture is indeed very oppressive. Women and girls are unable to address or seek help freely for women’s health problems. This includes menstrual health, contraception, puberty, and family planning. Additionally, women are often unable to receive the resources they need. As a result, teen pregnancies and child mortality rates are high.
To target menstrual health and puberty, Canon had an idea to donate a safe product she created: reusable feminine hygiene pads. She created a pattern and engaged her family to experiment and product them. McKenzie had been learning to sew and eventually created 400 reusable pads, with help from some seamstresses. To avoid the buildup of bacteria and reduce the chance of leakage, she used antimicrobial fabric.
Reusable feminine pads last up to five years. This could theoretically help women from the onset of puberty to the end of their school education. It also reduces the environmental damage that would arise from the use of disposable goods, especially in a region that lacks systems for waste disposal. Canon, passionate about improving the reproductive health of women, took this initiative to ensure the safety and security of these women.
Canon’s school ensures that the project will be followed up, to discuss any required improvements and continued resources for women starting puberty.
Keeping girls in school
Additionally, Canon established a teaching strategy based on the ideals of Keeping Girls in School. This is a global initiative that aims to remove academic restrictions imposed on women in developing countries, due to the challenges of puberty. The financial benefits of education for girls are important and will help lift families, communities, and nations out of poverty. Keeping Girls In School is a bill currently being passed through the House of Representatives in hopes of becoming an official law.
Keeping Girls In School is an Act to support empowerment, economic security, and educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world, and for other purposes.Quoted from congress.gov
To learn more about Mckenzie’s project or the Keeping Girls In School Act, check out the links below!