In commemoration of this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day, leading consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble has partnered with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Nigerian Governor’s Wives Forum, the National Center for Women Development as well as other non-profit organizations, reaffirming its commitment to the improvement of menstrual hygiene management in Nigeria.
According to UNICEF, 1 in 10 girls miss school for about 48 days in a year due to lack of access to sanitary pads. In Nigeria, over 52 million women and girls experience menstruation with 70% of them lacking access to sanitary pads. Poor menstrual hygiene caused by a lack of education, persisting taboos and stigma, limited access to hygienic menstrual products and poor sanitation infrastructure undermines the educational opportunities, health, and overall social status of females around the world. As a result, millions of women and girls are kept from reaching their full potential.
In line with P&G’s commitment as a force for good, the company donated over 8,000 Always® sanitary pads to partners such as Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, The Nigerian Governor’s Wives Forum, National Center for Women’s Development, Raise Foundation, and Conversation Café. Through this partnership, we hope to touch the lives of many girls through the adoption of proper menstrual hygiene management practices.
Speaking about the partnership, the P&G Senior Director for Africa, Global Government Relations & Public Policy, Dr. Mrs. Temitope Iluyemi said, “At P&G, we recognize the importance of menstrual hygiene management towards the overall health, wellbeing and education of young girls in our society. This is why P&G and our Always® brands has partnered with the leading NGOs and government stakeholders to celebrate the World Menstrual Hygiene Day.”
“We hope this will increase awareness around the vital role of good menstrual hygiene management, normalize conversations about period and menstrual health part of life and empower women and girls. This partnership is in line with several other sustainability programs of P&G such as the Always Keeping Girls in School (AKGIS) program and our Always School program which has trains over 1 million girls on puberty education” added Dr. Mrs. Iluyemi.
In her remarks, the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Dame Pauline Tallen, OFR, KSG, added, “young girls and women should not have to pause their lives because it is that time of the month. The importance of adequate knowledge on good menstrual hygiene practices as well as access to menstrual hygiene products cannot be overemphasized. Females deserve to live in dignity with their heads held high both the government and private organizations should work together to ensure that poor menstrual hygiene is a thing of the past.” “Menstrual hygiene day is particularly important as it brings this conversation to the forefront. I would also like to thank P&G for their immense contribution over the years towards improving the lives of women across Nigeria” she added.
During the handover ceremony organized between Procter & Gamble and the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum, the Chairperson, H.E Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi expressed her appreciation to P&G for the partnership, she stated, “I say a very big thank you to the team at Procter & Gamble for this partnership with NGWA GBV. I am very delighted that P&G has chosen to work with us as a collective. In the Nigeria Governor’s Wives Forum, this is a project we are all passionate about. We have discovered a strong link between period poverty and the issue of sexual exploitation of teenage girls. Therefore, we felt that this must be addressed both at a policy level as well as through community engagement. At the policy level, we are scandalized that Nigeria as a country still does not see it as important that every girl has access to sanitary protection. We feel that Nigeria should be way ahead of the discussion on whether sanitary products should be taxed or not. We feel that there should be zero tax on menstrual hygiene products, we believe that state governments should try as much as possible to make resources available so that we can bridge this period poverty gap. “With the support from Procter & Gamble, we were able to celebrate menstrual hygiene day in a very significant way and we hope that this is the beginning of a very good partnership between the NGWF and P&G,” she added.
In her vote of thanks, H.E. Dr. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, the secretary, Nigerian Governors’ Wives Against Gender-Based Violence remarked, “On behalf of the Nigerian Governors’ Wives Forum, the donations of Always sanitary pads was very well received by all the First Ladies in the forum and we look forward to more collaborations with P&G in the coming years. We were very happy to receive this mainly because of the link between gender-based violence and women’s periods, the fact that girls cannot on their own, take care of themselves during this very confusing time is really important and we must step into that gap to make them more aware. On behalf of the first ladies, big thank you to Procter & Gamble for taking on this initiative this year as we even look forward to an expanded scope of cooperation in the gender space next year.”
P&G initiatives such as the Always® Keeping Girls in School Program empowers vulnerable girls with essential menstrual health management training and donation of a year supply of sanitary pads. The Always® School program has provided almost a Million school-age girls with Always® sanitary towels, puberty and hygiene education and over 150 educational grants to pursue their dreams. In addition, the Always/UNESCO program is empowering over 110,000 Nigerian girls and women with basic literacy and skills development through ICT in Northern Nigeria. By focusing on period education, P&G aims to eliminate stigmas, improve access for women and girls in the areas of education and overall health and wellness.