How do we put an end to Period Poverty? Here is how P&G is spreading the message of period positivity.
Gender equality is receiving increasing attention around the world as we become more aware of the devastating effects it has on global progress. It has become paramount to seek out ways to empower the girl child in order for her to achieve her maximum potentials. Many young girls in Nigeria are yet to be afforded the comfort of a safe space to understand the complexities of puberty and in turn, this affects their understanding of their place in the world; the countless possibilities that exist for them once they have the right support system, approach and tenacity to live fully and follow their dreams encumbered.
Some of the challenges women face in our society are often unfortunately beyond their control, and sometimes they lack the required resources to address these challenges.
One of the most monumental milestones in the life of any girl child is when she starts her period. This natural biological process should ideally be ushered in with free and easy access to education and sanitary protection materials; unfortunately, this is usually not the case for the average Nigerian girl. According to 2013 UNICEF report, Nigerian girls make up to 60% of 10.5 million children out of school in Nigeria.
The stifling stigmatization and mystification surrounding menstruation plays a major role in the staggering data; as many girls opt out of education because they are unable (not unwilling) to manage the undue scrutiny that comes with starting their periods.
That is why Procter & Gamble’s continuous efforts in providing sustainable solutions to gender issues is worth recognizing.
In its third year, P&G’s “Always Keeping Girls in School initiative (AKGIS)” has been able to achieve commendable feats, such as the distribution of thousands of sanitary pads, training of School Guidance Counselors on Menstrual Hygiene Management, Reproductive Health, Gender integration, Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection and provision of psycho-social support to girls.
AKGIS strives to reiterate an underlying social message, which is that there is nothing to be ashamed of, and that girls deserve equal access to life development. For young girls, hygiene management is instrumental in their development as they are more susceptible to diseases than boys.
Every female has her unique experience with her period. However, for the most part, young girls who don’t have access to adequate materials, such as hygiene information and sanitary towels, are left to devise whatever solution that is within their means when their period starts.
Some either result to unsanitary measures such as substituting sanitary pads for tissue paper, while others abandon the task and stay indoors. The burden of this shame has led many to skip school which in turn, compromises their education and the possibility of a better life.
With this initiative, P&G, in partnership with MercyCorp, has been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of socially driven forces aimed to empower females. Through AKGIS as the vehicle for change, P&G continues to show its commitment to touching the lives of people in communities where they operate.