Demonstration of how you use a pad.
28th May every year marks the global menstrual hygiene day celebration. However, Girl Child Art Foundation (GCAF) celebrated this year's event on 26th May 2022 due to the national celebration of children's day in Nigeria and the fact that the 28th day of May fell on the weekend. GCAF marked this celebration with some secondary school teenagers from one of the public schools located in her community while demonstrating the #wearecommitted# theme for this year's celebration.
In celebrating the menstrual hygiene day this year, GCAF contributed and committed to addressing menstrual myths and taboos issues. GCAF designed the project to make teenage girls understand that menstrual flow is just as normal as being female, and nothing makes it unthinkable.
The program began at 10:00 am at Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Grammar School, Ojodu Lagos, Nigeria. It started with registering a total number of 393 female students present. After the registration, Sussan Okocha introduced the reason for the event to mark the Menstrual Hygiene Day for 2022. She further explained how the event for the day was divided into different segments and introduced the speakers who would be educating the girls.
The first speaker, Dr. Jumoke Oke an experienced medical doctor, talked about "menstrual education; period management as a natural process, the female body parts and roles, menstrual cycle and how it affects each person individually". She demonstrated how to use pads and other menstrual materials, disposable pants, communicate with older ones when you are experiencing any change during menstruation, manage period pains, and when ovulation and pregnancy happen after menstruation. She also talked about the challenges of seeing your period for the first few minutes and how to dispose of the used menstrual materials.
Mrs Oluwatoyin Towobola, the director at WOPO and coordinator at Women Shelters Nigeria, talked about "healthy living for teenage girls". Her interaction addressed concerns on female hygiene, period myths, certain things that cause discomfort during menstruation, eating a balanced diet and practising a healthy lifestyle like exercising and resting.
After each speaker, the girls asked questions and shared very personal experiences. Five (5) girls from the attendees were interviewed and allowed to share their worst menstrual experiences. For example, one of the girls interviewed by the name of Juliana recounted how she was unable to take her bath at a church camp for three days during her menstrual flow. In addition, she stated how a friend had to get her water to wash in a hidden corner of the church because she was ashamed during her menstrual flow. Another girl also shared how she was drugged and gang-raped because she went to beg a boy for money to buy pads for her period.
At the end of the workshop, GCAF conducted an assessment survey amongst the girls to enable us to assess their level of knowledge and understanding. For the final activity, we distributed pads and soaps to the girls.
After a photo session with the students, Mrs Ayeni, Mrs Babalola, Sussan Okocha and Mrs Obiwumi went to the principal's office to hand over the trash buckets for the female toilets. The principal was very appreciative and thanked the organization for taking the time to teach and also counsel the girls.
A total of 588 persons registered at the event: 583 Students, two counsellors, one teacher, two guest speakers and 2 GCAF staff; also benefited from the menstrual materials distributed due to the large population of the students in the school.
- At least 600 female students of Babs Fafunwa Millennium Senior Grammar School, Ojodu Lagos, became aware of the global celebration of menstrual hygiene day every 28th May.
- About 550 girls now have sanitary pads and bathing soaps for one menstrual cycle.
- Two female toilets at the school now have sanitary bins for disposing of used hygienic materials.
- At least 450 girls now understand the best way to care for themselves during periods days. How to use different menstrual materials and how to dispose of them.
- About 450 girls from the Ojodu and Ogba community now understand what to do when experiencing discomfort during menstruation, eating a balanced diet, and practising a healthy lifestyle.
The event was very successful because we helped the girls understand that the menstrual flow had nothing demeaning and encouraged them to break the silence on menstrual hygiene, raise awareness and change harmful norms around menstrual hygiene. The program ended at 12:50 pm.
Girls carrying sanitary supplies for their school