It is no news that there are a lot of misconceptions bordering menstruation, the challenges surrounding affordability and access to sanitary materials as well as the discrimination that comes with menstrual stains especially among adolescents.
August 19 marks World Humanitarian day and also doubles as the Birthday celebration of the communications assistant of Bridge Connect Africa Initiative Juliet Nwobodo and as part of BCAI’s commitment to empowering young people, women, and girls with credible sexual and reproductive health information they launched a campaign tagged A Pad For Her Campaign to educate students on the importance of menstrual hygiene management, the ripple effects of stigmatization as well as the roles boys can play in ending period shaming as well as offering supports when needed.
The team visited 3 schools within Nassarawa local government area in Kano state. Prolific schools Brigade, Shalom Nursery, and Primary schools, and Fatimat international schools to train and distribute sanitary pads to 200 students including boys and girls within the age range of 11 and 16.
‘Menstruation is normal just like any other changes that happen to your body during puberty, Boys do not menstruate because they do not have a uterus, nevertheless, their body develops and experiences changes too, the changes are just different’ Juliet told the students, she further explained that menstruation is the normal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman’s monthly cycle, Menarche is the onset of menstruation and the need for a girl to speak to their parents, teachers or older siblings for guidance during their first period.
Fatima Musa Aliyu, the Senior Programs Officer of BCAI, explained the importance of maintaining good hygiene before, during, and after every monthly period. She further told the students the various menstrual hygiene materials available while introducing them to the reusable sanitary towels as a better alternative in the absence of disposable pads, which is not always affordable. She also taught them how to properly dispose sanitary pads.
Boys have a role to play, and as students, it is important to know about menstruation because in a case where a female student is stained in the class, even the boys can offer help where necessary instead of period shaming them, they can also help their younger sisters at home Khadija added.
The students asked how hygienic it is to use tissue during their period in the absence of sanitary pads as advised by their friends, this is proof that many young girls result in using unhygienic materials which is detrimental to their health.
This project is also an action call to the government, individuals, and organizations to invest in menstrual hygiene management by making menstrual supplies available and affordable especially for students.
Written by Juliet Nwobodo (Communications assistant)