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Menstrual hygiene solutions: Kaduna girls take action



Menstrual hygiene solutions: Kaduna girls take action

Menstrual hygiene solutions: Kaduna girls take action

Teenage girls in Kaduna State, northwestern Nigeria, are currently selling over 15,000 packs of reusable menstrual hygiene products worth 3.5 million naira, as part of a program that has not only become a livelihood for communities, but has also improved the quality of life for users.

One can only imagine the difficulties that girls face in obtaining sanitary napkins, especially in rural communities or slums. One of those areas where this challenge manifests itself is Rigasa; is a densely populated slum in the southwest of the Igabi local government area in Kaduna state.

Mr. Yusha’u Abubakar, Founder and Executive Director, Enhancing Communities Action for Peace and Better Health Initiative (E-CAPH), said the issue of sanitary napkins was a challenge in the community due to poverty and lack of economic empowerment.

“When the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) called for applications for a project to support adolescents, girls and boys, we decided to apply focusing on this area because it is a challenge.

“We sent our proposal and UNFPA found it worthy and supported us to train young girls in our community.

He said 200 girls had been trained in making reusable sanitary napkins, adding that the initiative had improved school attendance for girls in the community and addressed their menstrual hygiene issues.

Impact of training on girls

Fatima Abdullahi, 18, is one of the people trained by E-CAPH and described the experience as overwhelming as she is now producing it for her personal use and for commerce.

“I used to beg for money to buy sanitary napkins or have to use other materials despite being uncomfortable with my period. Now I help myself and others in my profession, ”she said.

Likewise, Asma’u Mohammed, 18, said she was happy with the skills she learned that made her self-sufficient.

“With this, I don’t have to ask my parents for everything I need, because now I can make little money making sanitary napkins for my peers.”

Health buffer stimulating the economic empowerment of the community

Albabatu Musa, director and coordinator, E-CAPH Skills Acquisition Center, said the accessibility of the reusable tampon has made it a preferred choice for most girls in the Rigasa community.

“The reusable tampon is made of cotton-based materials due to its absorbable nature and easy access to the market.

“So far, 15,000 packs of three pieces each have been produced at the center and sold for 3.5 million naira to a customer in Borno State.

“In the open market, a pack is sold for N500 and for each pack there is a gain (profit) of N150. The product is in high demand, ”she said.

Musa said the tampon is very cost effective and cost effective as it can be used for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months.

“A three-pack opts for N500 with a profit margin of N150. The trained adolescents were currently making the reusable tampon for their personal use and sale. “

UNFPA support for the Rigasa pad project

Ms Mariana Darboe, program coordinator and office manager of the UNFPA decentralized office for northern Nigeria, said the reusable sanitary napkin project was part of the livelihood support training as a COVID-response. 19 to reduce poverty in communities.

She said the project was supported by the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) project as part of the United Nations Common Fund’s support for the COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

Darboe added that the RCCE initiative aims to reduce the risk and impact of gender-based violence and the interconnected consequences on sexual and reproductive health.

A mother’s burden lifted

A mother of four, Sadiya Ibrahim, said the reusable sanitary napkin reduced her stress “because most of the time during their period, I am powerless to help my four daughters with the money to buy sanitary napkins.

“Sometimes they feel uncomfortable saying they are menstruating, so they just use whatever clothes are available to help themselves.

“Whenever they wear clothes, they spend most of their time in the room because it makes them uncomfortable.”

How we got community buy-in given religious and cultural challenges

In most communities in northern Nigeria, talking about reproductive health issues among women and girls is considered a no-go. E-CAPH Executive Director Abubakar said the initiative overcame this major limitation and gained community buy-in through advocacy.

“We were able to educate people about sexual and reproductive health issues and the need for parents to talk to their children about sexual and reproductive health issues.

“Religious and community leaders provided a platform for us to talk to young girls in Islamiyah schools, women’s groups gathered their children and invited us to speak to them.

“This strategy has helped increase the acceptance of talking about the issues in communities where it has been difficult to do so until now. “

How Girls’ Monthly Dilemma Turns Into Joy

Some sanitary napkin users have shared how it turned their monthly dilemma into joy.

Kadijah Salis, 17: “I use clothes for lack of money to buy a towel. Sometimes I have to stay home to avoid embarrassment at school because most of the time clothes leak and stain our uniforms.

“The reusable tampon is the best thing that has happened to some of us from poor households.

Sadiya Aliyu, 18, said she had only heard of the reusable pillow recently, adding that it was “better because I can use it for six months and it’s very comfortable. I only need two for a whole year.

The way forward for menstrual hygiene in Rigasa

The founder and executive director of E-CAPH said the initiative overcame the challenges of non-acceptance by the community which was religiously inclined not to discuss issues relating to women and in particular the menstrual cycle of women. women.

This, he said, was due to the various trainings that staff in his organization had taken.

From these trainings, “we were able to understand the role of religious leaders, community leaders, women and youth groups in advocacy for reproductive health and family planning.

“There was also a book produced by NUHRI on religious (Islamic and Christian) perspectives on family planning.

“We have used the book in partnership with religious leaders and women’s groups to advocate for acceptance of family planning and reproductive health issues in communities.

“We were able to help them better understand sexual and reproductive health issues. This has led parents to agree to talk to their children and their wards about sexual and reproductive health issues.

Abubakar said that with the achievements so far to help girls better manage their menstrual hygiene, development partners, state government and local communities should support the initiative to increase access. poor and vulnerable adolescent girls in urban and rural areas. ( NOPE)

*** If used, please credit the Nigeria News Agency (NAN)

This story was supported by Nigeria Health Watch through the Solutions Journalism Network.

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