By Yashim Katurak
Women in Paipe and Hulumi Communities, Karmo, FCT, have been empowered by the Health Aid For All Initiative (HAFAI), an NGO, on how to make reusable sanitary kits.
This is even as they were also empowered with reusable sanitary kits, sewing machines bags containing fabrics and other materials used for production of reusable menstrual to promote better hygiene of women and girls in the communities.
Dr Ugochi Ohajuruka, the HAFAI Executive Director, made the presentation in Abuja in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to commemorate “World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018”.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Empowering Women and Girls through Good Menstrual Hygiene”.
She said that the initiative would also enable the women generate income for themselves and families through production and commercial distribution of the products to others to stem the tide of poverty.
Ohajuruka said that the initiative was introduced due to increasing concern over the health risks women and girls in rural communities were exposed to monthly due to their inability to practice safe menstrual hygiene.
According to her, with the poverty level in rural communities and unavailability of basic health care women and girls resort to using unhygienic methods like rags during their menstrual circle.
She said that a lot of these girls miss out on school because the methods are ineffective while the women miss out on work and opportunities to earn a living.
Ohajuruka said that to break the circle of poverty in these communities women and girls must be empowered in the area of education and health as “empowering a woman is tantamount to empowering a society”.
For the past one year HAFAI has educated and trained these women on good menstrual hygiene and how to produce and sell reusable pads in order for them to start-up businesses.“
“We have therefore empowered them today so that they can make reusable sanitary pads by themselves for their use and their girl child.
“They have also been taught how to sell these kits so that they can make an income.
“We believe that to break the circle of poverty in Africa, we must empower women and the best area to make an impact in the lives of women and girls is in their education and health.
“Their continued practice of unsafe menstrual hygiene puts them at risk for infection and disease. For the girl child it keeps her out of school and if this is happening then how can we tackle gender inequality and girl child education.
“We want our girls to go to school, we want our women to be able to work, do their trading, go to the farm and also live out their full potential.
“Just because they have this biological function does not mean it should impact on their lives negatively.” she said
Ohajuruka assured that the project would be sustained as the
organisation was working closely with community chiefs and the women to ensure the training was stepped down to enable others benefit.
She said that “they would teach other women what they learned during the one year hygiene education and training programme.
““We want them to teach other women and their girl child as well that
is why we have engaged the community chiefs and women leaders. We want the community to own the project to ensure its sustanaibility.”
Mr Yunana Danladi, the Village Head of Paipe Community, Karmo, assured the organisation that the community would ensure judicious utilisation of the education and training received by the women.
Danladi said that through the initiative, the women could now have a source of income to support their families.
He, however urged the Federal Government to come to the aid of the community with water, hospital and a secondary school.
The village head said that the children walked long distances daily just to attend school.
HAFAI is an organisation focused on promoting human rights and girl child education as it relates to reproductive health care, sexual health, menstrual hygiene management solutions and advocacy against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The World Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated yearly on May 28 to
highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management.
It aims to benefit women and girls worldwide.