By Ebunoluwa Sessou
A non-governmental organization, Change.org has called on the Nigerian Federal government to provide two packs of sustainable sanitary pads every month for the girl child in Nigerian secondary schools.
The organization also called on all legislators in both federal and state Assemblies across the country to see a need to act this call urgently to reduce the stress of accessible sanitary pads for Nigerian girls.
With the hashtags, #myperiodmypride #freesanitarypadsforgirls #endperiodpoverty #girlsmatterinNigeria #menstrualdignityforgirls #naijalawmakersendperiodpoverty, the organization lamented that, the rate of period poverty in Nigeria is alarming.
The initiator, Anike-ade Treasure disclosed that, in both rural and urban areas in Nigeria, hundreds and thousands of school girls struggle with period poverty.
According to her, “Many girls skip school during their monthly periods because they lack the basic items for menstrual hygiene.
“These include sanitary pads, water, soap and even food to eat. There is neither safe space to change their menstrual pads nor water to freshen up in between classes, there is therefore no period dignity.
“There is also period stigmatisation and shaming when girls suffer menstrual pain or get stained during school hours. For these reasons and more, many girls ultimately drop out completely from school.
“Every woman, and men who have women in their lives, can relate with the challenges females deal with during menstruation.
“Girls grow into women who perpetuate mankind. We therefore need to educate the girl child that the biological demand on her during monthly periods is neither a distraction nor disruption to her education.
“We need to address the fact that period poverty causes shame and stigmatisation which keeps girls out of school; and erodes their self esteem.
“Our girls must stop using foam cut from mattresses, rags, leaves and cloth cut from their wrappers to manage their menstrual blood because sanitary towels are expensive and they cannot afford them.
“When governments at all levels get involved and augment the sanitary needs of adolescent girls in primary and secondary schools, public perception, and long held discriminatory beliefs around the monthly period will certainly change.