A Pad Box to the Rescue

A Pad Box to the Rescue

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 4:15 pm

Pads for the girls

By Daniels Ekugo

The Sanitary Pad Media Campaign (SPMC) convened in January 2020 is aimed at mitigating the impact of period poverty on girls. This is by using the media to amplify their challenges and needs as well as advocate legislation to make pads free for school-aged girls in Nigeria.

In addition to the campaign, the SPMC is providing a one-year scholarship for school-aged girls, numbering one hundred in the first instance, and one thousand in the first phase of the project. It is therefore adopting 100 brilliant girls from poor homes in five different locations in Lagos. The beneficiaries of the sanitary pad scholarship are being drawn from critical communities, including marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities, orphanages, rural areas, and IDP camps amongst others
In Nigeria, sanitary pads are unaffordable for the majority of girls and women due to increasing poverty and lack of purchasing power for many. Girls continue to miss school or drop completely out of school due to the indignities and stigma attached to period poverty.

Retaining girls in school is a key goal of the SPMC, therefore in addition to receiving free pads for a year, there will be sanitary items in the specially made biodegradable pad boxes to ensure menstrual hygiene among school girls in compliance with UNICEF’s WASH strategy.

Volunteer advocates on the campaign team will serve as mentors to the girls for mentorship and sanitation talks.

In commemoration of the 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, the scholarship scheme was flagged off, an exhibition of a diverse selection of iconic Nigerian women was declared open, and a walk involving girls drawn from eight different schools in Lagos to further advocate for free pads for secondary school girls held.

At the event, the Convener of the SPMC, Ms. Anike-ade Funke Treasure said, “We hope that this reward system will promote period dignity during monthly periods. We believe it would help to cushion the effects of period poverty in rural and urban areas in Nigeria. Most importantly, we hope it will contribute to ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere”.

She emphasized the importance of giving voice to the girl child and stated further that “Illuminate Nigeria under the SPMC project has chosen to celebrate and recognize exceptional girls who show sparks of brilliance, and the promise of being strong voices in the areas of art, public speaking and academics in the future.

The keynote speaker, Dr Ben Olowojebutu, the founder, Ben Olowojebutu Foundation, who spoke to the girls on menstrual hygiene, said “the onset of menstruation is one of the most significant physiological changes occurring in teenage girls”. He taught the girls the proper way to wash during their period to avoid infection. He also emphasized the need to prevent infections like urinary tract infections and other infections that can lead to infertility if not properly treated. According to him, a lot of women have been unable to have children due to infections linked to a lack of proper menstrual hygiene especially among women who are unable to afford sanitary pads and lack access to a clean water supply.

Also present at the event, held in collaboration with the National Museum and Monuments, Onikan, Lagos, was former Vice-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University and founder, Sidi Osho Foundation, Prof Sidi Osho, the Curator of the Museum, Mrs Omotayo Adeboye who declared the exhibition open, and the CEO, Omolayo Gallery, Mr. Biodun Omolayo and representatives of Hayat-Kinya Nig Ltd, makers of Molped sanitary pads distributed free at the Pad Walk.
Sanitary Pad Media Campaign is an Illuminate Nigeria Development Network (INDN) project.



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