2016 Global Hand Washing Day takes a different turn for young girls

Since 2015, Hope and Dreams Initiative have been supporting menstrual and reproductive health education in Nigeria, a practice we call Hygiene for Girls.

Lack  of access to menstrual products impacts millions of girls across the country. As many as 10% miss school because of it. The effect of these missed days is devastating, with girls missing up to 20% of their education, thereby increasing the likelihood of dropping out, earlier marriage and pregnancy as well as limiting career options.

Hope and Dreams Initiative support the provision of menstrual pads. Providing these products means the burden of purchasing products each month is removed.

The case for girls’ education is well documented as one of the most important tools for development. We believe that no one should have to miss out on opportunities that will affect their future, simply because they have a period.

This is why the Hope and Dreams Initiative took the 2016 Global Handwashing day as an opportunity to organize a special event which was aimed at educating young girls on the importance of taking their hygiene more seriously.

The students and their teachers worked tireless preparing for the event, and we were super proud of them. Students and teachers at the Abuja event sang the official hand washing song in two different native Nigerian language and the schools at the event in Niger Delta, performed a play, poem and also the hand washing song illustrating the importance of washing hands every day and after every activities.

The girls were excited to receive their hygiene bag and all students got a goodie bag filled with hygiene stuff and they all promised, signed and pledged to wash their hands every day.

We are taking one child, one school and one community at a time.

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Changing the menstrual experience for young girls in Warri, Nigeria

Hope and Dreams Initiative held an event at PIND conference training hall in Warri, Delta State with 40 students from seven different schools to mark the 2017 International Hygiene Menstruation day Celebration. The schools namely, Toberise BASIC School Oghara, Ogiame Primary School, Dora Numa College, Egbokogdo Secondary, and Primary School, Younna Secondary School. Dr. Elohor Imiruaye of Lee Clinic, Warri in Delta State. Dr. Elohor all joined to mark the event.

The event workshop which followed addressed clearly that the concern that wrong attitudes would continue if girls and boys were not given adequate education concerning menstruation and how to handle challenges associated with it.  A simple explanatory lecture about the significance of menstruation and the importance of keeping clean during and after menstruation was also given.

Faith, a junior student from Tobrise Basic School, Oghara in Delta State, shared her first-period experience with all those in attendance at the workshop.

She said that at first, she thought that she was hurt and was bleeding and she would cut pieces of rags to protect the blood from staining her uniform, but a friend later explained to her that she was menstruating and could get pregnant if she becomes sexually intimate with a boy.

Laura a student from Egbokogdo Secondary School, also shared that she uses rag for her sanitary products and has no access to sanitary pads because her family is very poor.

All 40 students in attendance went home with individual hygiene bags all filled with reusable and disposable sanitary pads, deodorant, and a toothpaste/brush.

In overall, Hope and Dreams Initiative was able to donate 70 hygiene bags to 70 students from 12 different schools.

The goal of the event was to bring young girls from different schools together in a bid to educate them about their menstrual cycle, the importance of Menstruation and other health-related issues and as an organization whose main goals are EDUCATION, MENSTRUATION AND HYGIENE we believe that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities with soap should be provided in the schools as part of efforts to make them menstrual friendly to encourage girls to be in school during their menstrual periods, since most girls stayed away from school during their menses which consequently affects their academic performance.

And these three key elements are important, which included awareness creation on menstruation and a menstrual-friendly environment in schools, would help empower girls to stay in schools and help improve their academic performance.

We believe that education about Menstruation changes everything and it starts with us.