Menstrual Hygiene and Reusable Pad Training
Why JSS Kabusa
Junior Secondary School Kabusa, located in Abuja, Nigeria, serves as a public school primarily attended by low-income children. Through our thorough research and investigations, it has come to our attention that many girls within this institution experience period poverty. Unfortunately, they possess limited knowledge regarding menstrual hygiene management. Consequently, our organization, Hope Spring, has selected JSS Kabusa as an ideal candidate for our Menstrual Hygiene and Reusable Pad Training program.
During their menstrual cycle, a significant number of these girls willingly stay away from school. When surveyed, some individuals confessed to being unable to afford sanitary pads due to their exorbitant cost. As a result, they resort to using toilet paper and rags, which prove to be inadequate and prone to staining. This situation leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment among the affected students.
Menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene Training
On June 6th, 2023, an enlightening and empowering reusable pad training session was held at Junior Secondary School Kabusa, benefitting a group of around 80 girls. The event featured esteemed guest speakers who imparted valuable knowledge on menstruation and menstrual cycle management. Dr Fatimah Odusote delivered an informative session on the topic, while Bolu Olorunfemi shared insights on menstrual hygiene and health maintenance. This report aims to provide a comprehensive summary of the event, highlighting key outcomes and achievements.
During the training, the girls were introduced to the essential materials and equipment needed to create their own reusable pads. They received the necessary supplies, including cotton fabric, absorbent towelling or similar materials, waterproof material, thread, snaps, and sewing machines. Under the guidance of trained instructors, each participant successfully crafted their personalized reusable pad and learned effective methods for proper maintenance. The training spanned approximately four hours, during which the girls actively engaged in the learning process, demonstrating enthusiasm and dedication.
Dr Fatimah Odusote, provided the girls with in-depth knowledge about menstruation and the menstrual cycle. She emphasized the significance of menstrual hygiene and elucidated why it is vital for every girl to prioritize self-care during this period. Encouraging an atmosphere of open dialogue, the girls were encouraged to ask questions, which Dr Odusote attentively addressed, offering comprehensive answers and guidance.
Bolu Olorunfemi, delivered a session focusing on menstrual hygiene practices. Emphasizing the utmost importance of cleanliness during menstruation, she underscored the significance of adopting good hygiene habits. The girls received comprehensive instruction on how to maintain good health throughout their menstrual cycles to prevent various diseases and infections.
It is of great significance to highlight that the reusable pad training program had a strong emphasis on promoting gender inclusivity. In addition to the girls, a number of boys actively participated in the training session. This deliberate inclusion of boys aimed to cultivate a culture where menstruation is regarded as a natural and normal process, devoid of any taboo or stigma. The boys were provided with an opportunity to learn about menstruation and how they can lend support to their female peers during their menstrual cycles.
As a part of the training, each girl received a menstrual kit bag to ensure the safekeeping and cleanliness of their reusable pads for future use. These kit bags were thoughtfully equipped with instructions on how to properly care for the pads, ensuring their longevity and effectiveness. Furthermore, the girls were also bestowed with a pamphlet that contains comprehensive guidelines on menstruation and the menstrual cycle. This valuable information will enable them to make informed decisions regarding their menstrual health and overall well-being.
The reusable pad training proved to be a profound and empowering experience for both the girls and boys who actively participated. Equipped with the skills and know-how to create their own reusable pads, along with access to these sustainable alternatives, comprehensive knowledge on menstrual hygiene, and the support of a nurturing community, the girls now possess enhanced capabilities to effectively manage their menstrual health. Notably, the inclusion of boys in the training program further highlights the importance of educating everyone about menstruation, fostering an environment free from stigma and promoting inclusivity. We hold the hope that similar initiatives will continue to make a lasting impact in promoting menstrual health and dismantling societal barriers.
The project exhibits a remarkable ripple effect, as the girls who have been trained on creating their own reusable pads will subsequently impart their knowledge to friends and family, thereby expanding our impact. Furthermore, when these pads eventually wear out after 3-5 years of use, the girls possess the ability to fashion new ones independently, establishing a sustainable approach towards combating period poverty. This self-sufficiency is a vital step towards creating long-term solutions that empower girls and eliminate the barriers surrounding menstrual health.