by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Center for Media Advocacy for Mother and Child (CAMAC) has donated ‘Menstrual Emergency Kits’ to Braintrust College, Kurmin Mashi, Kaduna, as part of its “Period-Friendly” facility campaign for public places in Nigeria.
CAMAC made the donation on Thursday, at a sensitization campaign to mark the Global World Toilet Day, which is commemorated every 19th November, with the theme: ‘sustainable sanitation and climate change.’
Menstrual emergency kits box are menstrual period kits box that provides everything women of menstrual age need to go with the flow, even if it happens at public places such as schools, work, markets, motor parks, worship centres, the gym, etc.
While stressing that period-friendly facility are those facilities where women are comfortable to use during their monthly menstrual period, items donated by CAMAC include Menstrual Emergency Box, Sanitary Pads, Painkiller Drugs, Waste Bin, Detergents and Disinfectants.
CAMAC had launched the campaign on 15th October, at Kantin Kwari Market and Motor Park in Kaduna, where it also donated some hand-washing materials such as soaps, buckets, dustbins, detergents and disinfectants for the use of travelling and market women and girls.
CAMAC is a media advocacy group that focuses on advocating for policies and programmes that favour vulnerable women, adolescent girls and children in areas of education, health, child’s rights protection, development and survival, while also drawing the attention of government and other stakeholders to their plight, with the view to finding lasting solutions to their problem.
Addressing female students and management of the college, Executive Director of CAMAC, Alex Uangbaoje, noted that women and young girls can only be comfortable in public places during their monthly menstrual period, if the facilities are suitable for use and the required sanitary materials are available. “It as well creates awareness and sensitizes the public on the above areas,” he stated.
He emphasized on the need for both government and private school owners not to only build toilets, but to also make them “PERIOD-friendly” for the sake of the girls.
Mr Uangbaoje urged the girls to always ensure they maintained personal hygiene before, during and after their menstrual period.
“We are here today to first and foremost sensitize you on the importance of your menstrual hygiene and, secondly, on how to maintain a good and hygiene-friendly environment, especially toilet favourable to your healthy living.
“As young girls, always ensure you don’t use unclean items as pad during your menstrual period where sanitary pads are not available; instead, use clean items and dispose them properly to avoid infectious diseases.
“You need to wash and keep your toilets clean because of the sensitivity of your bodies. Most importantly, use disinfectants, especially public toilets; and don’t do ‘open defecation,’ otherwise, you will be causing pollution to your environment and it’s unhygienic for young girls like you.
“So, as CAMAC, we are here to help you understand how important it is to keep your personal and menstrual hygiene and your environment and health will become better,” he said.
The ED, who was represented by CAMAC’s Program Officer, Christie Alex, admonished the girls to become advocates for cleanliness and hygiene in their schools.
Responding, on behalf of the students, Asmahu Abdulahi, who is the Health Prefect in the school, complained that the toilets in the school are in bad shape; as such, students prefer to us ‘open defecation.’
She called on the school management to henceforth do something about the situation because the sensitization has opened their eyes to now discover that the students are in real danger.
The Guidance and Counselling Officer of the College, Mrs Ezekiel Joy, who appreciated CAMAC for selecting them in the midst of numerous schools in the state, after receiving the items, pledged the college’s commitment to ensuring the Emergency Kits Box is maintained and the toilet facility are upgraded to be more period-friendly.
She said though, the college would have done the upgrade long ago, but there were other challenges that had hindered it, which would soon be addressed. The school Principal, Mr Godwin Ogar, on his part confirmed the position of Asmau – that, the toilets are in bad shape, but however blamed that reason on the students, who most times leave them un-kept.
“Due to different backgrounds and upbringing of some of the students, who mostly are used to the pit toilets and open defecation, they prefer the unusual method, by using stones instead of water to the extent that some female students put sanitary pads inside the toilet as a method of disposing them, and that is causing the school a lot of money to maintain the toilets.
“But, thank you for your concern and the sensitization. We are hopeful that going forward they will be doing the right things,” Mr Ogar, added, and commended CAMAC for the gesture, promising that, he will make sure the students abide by what they are taught.