In commemoration of the annual United Nations (UN) World Menstrual Hygiene Day, over 600 schoolgirls have been empowered on how they can take care of their menstrual health.
They were also given sanitary pads by Girls Talk With Ariyiike (GTWA), a charity initiative led by actress and event host, Ariyiike Owolagba.
At the outreach which took place at Abeokuta Grammar School, healthcare practitioners engaged schoolgirls between the ages of 10 and 17 years on their menstrual health.
The project was in partnership with the Office of the First Lady of Ogun State and Procter & Gamble, makers of Always Nigeria. Ariyiike answered the students’ questions in entertaining ways.
The CEO of GTWA said the focus is to get young girls, especially in the rural areas, sensitized on menstrual health and hygiene to mitigate the incidence of dropping out of school.
‘’Research shows that hygiene and sanitation problems, mostly a result of economic status, as well as cultural taboos around menstruation, lead to many girls missing an average of four school days every month”, Ariyiike noted.
‘’This means in a year, such girls miss over a month of school, causing them to fall behind academically, sometimes dropping out. This is why there is a disparity in young girls’ school attendance when compared to boys.
“We decided to close this gap. The first edition was in 2020. We visited Iseyin District Grammar School, Iseyin, Oyo State. For the second edition in 2021, we visited Oregun Junior and Senior High School.
‘’The third edition in 2022 was at Radiance B&G College, Agbado, Ogun State, where we caught the attention of the First Lady and had a conversation about partnership for the 4th edition.
‘’I was invited to the girl child event put together by the First Lady to mentor young females in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child in 2022.
“For the fourth edition of the Girl Talk With Ariyiike Menstrual Hygiene School Tour, we visited another school in Ogun. The partnership with the First Lady is to extend this movement to all schoolgirls in the state,” she said.
Ariyiike added that since establishment 8 years ago, GTWA has had long-term relationships with more than 27,000 girls, empowering them through sanitary education and products.
The school tour started four years ago upon the realisation that action strengthens advocacy. With support from medical professionals, counselors and volunteers, Ariyiike has been able to leave a lasting impact on thousands of girls.