Let’s Help Humanitarian Foundation in conjunction with Women Africa have trained Secondary School Girls On Menstrual Hygiene Management and Reusable Making.
The event is part of activities to celebrate the 2023 world menstrual hygiene day, Let’s Help Humanitarian Foundation, a non-profit organization, and Women Africa a non-profit organization are organizing training workshops for girls (from low income homes) across secondary schools in the FCT on menstrual hygiene awareness and reusable sanitary pads making skills. These reusable pads are intended to serve as alternatives when they cannot access disposable pads.
Period poverty is a global issue where women and girls especially from low income homes do not have access to safe, hygienic sanitary products/pads. The high rate of poverty in Nigeria is the main cause of period poverty in the country. Additionally, menstrual pads/products are expensive in Nigeria and this worsens the situation for families who have no little or no source of income to buy them.
The first training has commenced at Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Bwari, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on 16th May 2023 where 57 girls were trained on how to make reusable sanitary pads. Sanitary pads were also distributed to them.
In Nigeria, over 37 million women and girls lack access to menstrual hygiene products due to lack of funds. Most girls from low income neighborhoods who cannot afford period products, use materials like paper, cotton wool, leaves, and rags, causing infections.
With the inflation of 2021 in Nigeria after COVID-19, many families could not afford to eat 3 meals a day, let alone afford to buy sanitary pads or period products. Let’s Help Humanitarian Foundation and Women Africa stepped in with a sanitary Pad Drive in 2022, to alleviate the hardship on women and girls. However, more attention was paid to adolescent and teenage school girls of menstruating age.
In 2022 the organizations touched the lives of 145 girls in Durumi and Bwari, FCT, between the ages of 12-18 through sanitary pad distributions and menstrual hygiene awareness.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Women Africa, Ms. Chinwe Onyeukwu said “We organized sensitization sessions on menstrual hygiene management and distributed free disposable and reusable sanitary pads to over 120 junior and senior secondary school girls in the FCT. Based on the responses from the girls regarding the challenges they faced in managing their period during menstruation, and due to the high cost of sanitary pads, we are organizing these trainings, starting with Bwari, to empower adolescent girls with skills for producing reusable sanitary pads as an alternative for safe, hygienic and sustainable support during menstruation”.
Also speaking at the event, Let’s Help Humanitarian Foundation represented by Mrs. Nneka Acholonu Egbuna the Programme Manager, added that, “according to reports about 1 in ten 10 girls in Africa miss school during their menstruation, which means they fall behind in their studies or drop out of school altogether. Reusable pads offer safe alternatives to make sure girls stay in school and participate in other social activities”.
They called on the government and various stakeholders, including the private sector, to provide opportunities for making affordable pads more accessible, support adequate menstrual hygiene awareness, including providing accessible Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities – like toilets, sanitary pad banks, proper waste management facilities – to ensure women and girls adequately cater to their periods. These will also contribute to removing the stigma and shame associated with menstruation.
World Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global event observed annually on May 28th, to raise awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene and break the silence and stigma surrounding menstruation. The theme of the Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023 is: Making Menstruation A Normal Fact of Life By 2030.