In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child, leading health maintenance organization, Avon HMO has lent its voice to the need for improved gender parity. This was done by donating free sanitary products to disadvantaged girls in Unity High School, Oshodi and Gaskia College, Ijora Badia, Lagos, in an effort to not only improve personal hygiene but also ensure that their access to education is unimpeded.
This was a culmination of the organization’s #PurpleLipsChallenge done in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month earlier in the year. A social media campaign, women were encouraged to post pictures of themselves wearing purple lipstick and for every picture, the company pledged to empower a schoolgirl with reusable sanitary products.
The campaign was a remarkable success with entries from women across Nigeria and even far-flung cities like London and New Delhi in India. Now, Avon HMO has been able to fulfill its promise in partnership with the Sanitary Aid Initiative, a non-governmental organization (NGO) set up to address the needs of 65% of the Nigerian female population who do not have access to sanitary pads.
According to the CEO, Adesimbo Ukiri, the inability of some girls to afford personal hygiene products can impede their education and wellbeing while short-changing their communities in the future.
“The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) states that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa miss school during their menstrual cycle. By some estimates, this equals as much as 20% of a given school year. If girls are missing from classrooms while they’re on their menstrual period, then that deprives them of getting a quality education which will, in turn, limit their capacity to actively contribute to society in the long run.” She said.
At the event, Tolani Thomas, Fundraising Director for Sanitary Aid NG, also emphasized the need for more efforts towards empowering young girls.
“The education of the girl child is of utmost importance, as women are the backbone of the progress of society. A concept as trivial as period poverty could interrupt a girl’s education and impede her chances of getting the basic education she needs to create opportunities for a financially secure future. The mission of Sanitary Aid Initiative is to tackle period poverty and this is why we partner with organizations such as Avon HMO to help in our mission of keeping more girls in school.” She added.
With collaborations between organizations like Avon HMO and Sanitary Aid NG, more girls will be able to stay in school all through the school year, thus growing to be just as educated as their male counterparts. An empowered girl is an empowered woman and when women and men both have the right tools they can both play active roles in improving society to the best of their abilities.
Licensed in 2012, Avon Healthcare Ltd (Avon HMO) is a leading health management organization providing healthcare plans and other healthcare services to all Nigerians, individuals, families, groups, companies and communities. In 2015, Avon became the first HMO in the country to serve the retail market with an array of health plan options, offering everyone the opportunity to subscribe and pay via their mobile devices.
By providing broad access to quality healthcare products and services, Avon is empowering Nigerians to live healthier, fuller lives.
Avon HMO is a part of the Heirs Holdings Group, an African proprietary investment company driving Africa’s development through long-term investments in key sectors.