MPA Changemaker Scholars Empower Women in Ghana and Nigeria through Education and Environmental Justice

The recipients of the Spring 2021 Changemaker Scholarship, Ameera Badamasi and Tiarra Dickens, created projects that aim to destigmatize menstrual education in Ghana and promote women-led community organizing for environmental justice in Nigeria.  

The two scholars worked separately but were driven by a common desire to empower African women experiencing marginalization and threats to their human rights.

Badamasi developed Muhalli Na (My Environment), a sustainability project that focuses on community waste management within low-income neighborhoods in Kano, a state in northern Nigeria. 

70% of Kano’s four million residents are without a functional waste management system, Badamasi’s research shows. These residents are exposed to heightened health risks from environmental pollution.

Badamasi, who is from Nigeria, will organize a four-week, community-driven waste management cycle in two low-income neighborhoods to empower women and youth to take control of issues affecting their communities. 

In nearby Ghana, girls miss several days of school each month because they lack access to affordable sanitary products.

Dickens’s project, titled "Raise Hands, Raise Awareness, Raise Healthy Girls," seeks to address this problem by providing self-care kits to high school girls and female-identifying staff members. The kits will include menstrual cups as an alternative to tampons and pads. 

In collaboration with Sisters of Africa Rising (SOAR), a nonprofit organization working in Ghana, Dickens will educate the young women about their menstrual health and the proper use of the self-care kits, in an effort to destigmatize menstrual education. 

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