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FCT students applaud NAWOJ, others for free sanitary pads

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FCT students applaud NAWOJ, others for free sanitary pads

Some students in FCT have expressed appreciation to the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) for distribution of free sanitary pads to reduce procurement cost and increase access during their menstruation.

The students during the menstrual hygiene advocacy for teenage girls, held at Junior Secondary School, Jabi 1 on Thursday in Abuja, said the gesture would alleviate the challenges they usually face during their menstrual period.

Khadijat Mohammed, a JSS 2 student, explained that she often used old worn out wrappers due to the high cost of sanitary pads.

“My elder sister usually buys sanitary pad for me, but due to the increasing cost of sanitary pads, we have been forced to use our old worn out wrappers during menstruation, “she said.

Also, Somadima Emmanuel, JSS 1 student, said the high cost of sanitary pads, forced her to use tissue paper during her menstruation, which exposed her to infection.

According to her, the free sanitary pads have eliminated the cost of procuring one and reduced risk of infections.

Joseph Nwosu, a junior student, said he had been empowered with more knowledge on GBV, menstrual hygiene management and negative vices that might hinder his development.

He, therefore, appealed to the government and other stakeholders to make available sanitary pads for female students to reduce cost of procuring it and increase their concentration in school during their menstrual period.

Mrs Bassey Ita-Ikpang, FCT Chairperson, NAWOJ, said the initiative was to ensure accessibility of sanitary pads to underprivileged girls, educate students on menstrual hygiene management and Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Ita-Ikpang, who noted the high cost of sanitary products, especially for underprivileged girls, stressed the need for the government and other stakeholders to ensure girls are able to afford and access menstrual pads.

According to her, the theme, “If condom is Free, let’s make menstrual pads free too” resonates from the need to promote access to sanitary pad.

“We want to ensure that those who truly need it are captured. Menstrual period is a natural thing that cannot be controlled, while condom is for pleasure.

“Free distribution of pads should be a priority, if condoms are freely available in public facilities then, menstrual pads should also be available for easy access,” she said.

On the issue of GBV, the NAWOJ Chairperson emphasised the critical role boys play in ending the menace and other harmful traditional practices affecting women and girls.

“When you are talking about gender, you cannot be successful when you have not brought in the boys.

“The boys should also know the things that are right and that will help them know what they shouldn’t do to the girls,” she said.

Also, Rabiatu Abdullahi, Vice Principal, JSS, Jabi 1, commended the association, adding that the initiative would alleviate the hardship some of the students face in accessing menstrual pads.

Similarly, Naomi Okomudo, President, Abuja Royal Women Empowerment Initiative, while speaking on GBV, encouraged the students to be vigilant, seek help where necessary and always speak out to ensure perpetrators were prosecuted to avoid reoccurrence.

Also, Francisca Ogar, who spoke on menstrual hygiene, advised the students to be deliberate about their hygiene and keep track of their menstrual period to enable them prepare ahead with materials needed during their menstrual cycle.

Other highlights of the events were the distribution of writing materials to some of the students. (NAN)

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