Meet 5 Nigerian Women Helping Girls Manage Their Periods And Fighting Period Poverty In Nigeria
All over the globe, girls still approach puberty without the knowledge, tools, and support they need to grow up feeling confident. Many girls, irrespective of country and culture, experience a loss of self-esteem and personal strength with the onset of menstruation. To make matters worse, many girls don’t have access to the products they need to manage their periods. This lack of access to period products is often referred to as ‘period poverty’ and there is low awareness of its global prevalence. It can lead to missing school, confidence-building activities, and other developmental experiences. This can limit a girl’s potential and opportunities far beyond puberty. Globally, nonprofits are helping girls get education on period poverty while providing free or affordable alternatives as they fight period poverty.
In commemoration of this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th, we picked 5 Nigerian women fighting period poverty in different ways.
- RAQUEL DANIEL FLOW: A Girl’s Guide to Menstruation
Raquel is an educator and the founder of Beyond the Classroom Foundation. On Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020, she unveiled her book Title “FLOW: a girl’s guide to menstruation. The central aim of the book is to eradicate ignorance in young girls about Menstruation and to also demystify myths centered on Menstruation.
Prior to the launch of FLOW, Raquel Daniel and her team embarked on numerous projects like “project Red Robots” through which they have distributed sanitary pads to over 10,000 girls across Nigeria. Through the Pads in a Pandemic project, her team partnered with Together for Needs Initiative, Sanitary Aid initiative, Abuja Global Sharpers and Socially Africa to provide free sanitary pads, underwear to girls in Lagos, Kogi State and an IDP Camp in Abuja.
Raquel says she is passionate about sexual and reproductive health education for girls because she know what it means not to have one. She wrote this book to help young gain more knowledge, so they don’t welcome their first period with anxiety and little knowledge of menstruation.
- CHISOM OGBUMMUO: The Movie “HER”
Chisom is the founder of the Conversation Café a safe space for alternative education and activities that engenders societal development. It has birthed a platform for young women to share their burdens and equip their selves with the resources needed to thrive in the society.
She believes that one of the major problems Africa is faced with, is illiteracy and lack of applied knowledge.
Amongst addressing other salient issues in Africa, the 30-minute film titled HER also centers on the issue of ‘period poverty’ across poor communities in Africa. It depicts the reality of some girls and women especially in the rural communities in Africa who cannot afford female sanitary products to deal with menstruation such as sanitary pads and tampons.
Her motivation to shoot the movie started when she walked into a bukka in Lagos on a certain day, and discovered that the teenage girl who served her was visibly bleeding due to her menstrual cycle. This got her curious and more inquiries made her realize, that there was a high level of period poverty in that area. Her passion drove her to notice that there has been no visual created to deal with such issues hence, the birth of the movie HER.
- TABITHA ARENSON ABIMIKU Virtuous Pads
Tabitha discovered that one in every 10 girls miss schools because of poorly managed menstrual cycle. So, in 2016, she started supplying pads to girls in IDP Camps. Her zeal to do more and make her goal of bridging the gap when it comes to poorly managed menstrual cycle, as well as, achieve goal 12 of the sustainable development goals drove her to apply for the Tony Elumelu Grant in 2019 and, she got the grant.
She and her team makes reusable pads and sell to the girls in the rural areas for as low as N100. This reusable pads are made from bamboo charcoal that has anti-bacteria, and anti-allergy properties and provides flexible protection. After each use, once it is dipped in water, the blood comes off, it is left to dry it, and available for re-use.
- OLIVIA ONYEMAOBI Padup Creations
Oliva’s drive to eradicate period poverty stems from her discovery that most girls and women in Nigeria, experience difficulties in staying hygienic during their menstruation. Unhygienic tools like tissue, leaves, rags, dry grass, sitting on sand, are used, in the absence of proper sanitary pads caused by both poverty and illiteracy. She was motivated to start a research on the best affordable means to solve their menstrual issues and the result is the Pad-Up sanitary kit- a washable and reusable sanitary pad.
Products produced by Padup Creations are 100 percent chemical free, body friendly, affordable and durable. With over 93 permanent jobs created from this ingenuity. So far, Padup Creations has distributed over 1 million kits across 13 African countries.
Padup Creation has been able to train over 400,000 girls and women on menstrual hygiene management and reproductive health.
- ASHLEY LORI Pad Up Africa
Ashey is a health activist who began her fight to end period poverty in March 2018. She caught the vision after her encounter with four girls in Mabushi–Jabi, Abuja Nigeria, who were with a newspapers stained with blood. She thought someone had injured herself so she stopped to check only to hear one of the girls say that she was trying to change her sanitary pad which was actually a rough old newspaper. Further investigation revealed that some girls wear multiple skirts during her period because, they could not afford to buy pads.
Her hurt and pain at hearing such, welled up into a flaming passion to prevent as many young girls as possible from being in such situation. In 2019, she led a one million pad campaign – a walk for pad” to raise awareness and demand free sanitary wears for school girls.