Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) Country Office in commemorating this year Menstrual Hygiene Day has called on the Nigerian society at large to work together in addressing the challenges and hardships many women and girls face during their menstruation.
This amongst other recommendations were highlighted in a Press Statement released today in marking this important day for women.
Every May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day) raises awareness and combats taboos associated with menstrual hygiene with the goal of enabling women and girls to achieve their full potential.
Globally, more than half of women are currently of reproductive age—and menstruation is a monthly reality. Yet all around the world, many women lack access to menstrual hygiene products or sanitation facilities, either due to limited availability or excessive cost. Myths and stigmas surrounding menstruation cause some women and girls to miss school or work or go into isolation.
Women and men of all ages must be made aware of the importance of menstrual hygiene through an open dialogue and education at home and in school to foster engagement with this often unspoken issue.
The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019—It’s Time for Action—not only emphasizes the urgency of this public health issue, but also highlights the transformative power of improved menstrual hygiene to empower the world’s women and girls and unlock their economic and educational opportunities. MH Day brings together non-profits, government agencies, the private sector, the media, and individuals to advocate for and promote the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
MHM is a critical aspect of addressing women’s and girls’ empowerment by alleviating a major constraint to their participation in education and public life. The provision of adequate and safe sanitation can promote equity and opportunity, which, in turn, contributes to the establishment of equality, and the erosion of long-standing discrimination and societal norms that reinforce traditional roles, prejudices, and expectations. Menstruation is an issue of human rights and dignity.
In low-income countries, girls’ choices of menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by the costs, availability and social norms. Adequate sanitation facilities and access to feminine hygiene products are one part of the solution. Creating a culture that welcomes discussion and makes adequate education for girls is of equal importance. Research has found that not having access to menstrual hygiene management products can keep girls home from school during their period each month.
Menstrual Hygiene Day creates an occasion for publicizing information in the media, including social media. The day offers an opportunity to actively advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into global, national and local policies and programmes.
Last year July 2018, the office of the National Coordinator, WSSCC and the WASH Ambassador sought for the Council of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development’s consideration and approval for the Institutionalization of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in the activities of the Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development nationwide.
This was because WSSCC saw that Menstrual Hygiene Management has become a critical challenge for women and girls in Nigeria, especially with regards to keeping menstruating girls in school, and providing sanitation and water facilities in
communities; urban settings like markets, IDP camps, and other public places in order to ensure that women and girls including the marginalized have access to sanitation and hygiene facilities. By 5th August 2018, at the regular meeting of the National Council of Women Affairs, a communique was issued approving the institutionalization of MHM into all activities of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.
In March this year, WSSCC in collaboration with the Federal Government (Ministries of Women Affairs and Water Resources), UNICEF, and United Purpose organized the first Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop in Nigeria with over 70 participants drawn from the WASH sector in Makurdi, Benue State.
It is worthy to note that, Menstrual hygiene day is a day meant to create a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence about menstrual hygiene management in order to:
To address the challenges and hardships many women and girls face during their menstruation.
To highlight the positive and innovative solutions being taken to address these challenges.
To catalyze a growing, global movement that recognizes and supports girls and women’s rights and build partnerships among those partners on national and local level.
To engage in policy dialogue and actively advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into global, national and local policies and programmes and to
To make an audible and visible growing movement that promotes body literacy and autonomy, as well as gender equality .
Over the past few years we have managed to accelerate advocacy and action on menstrual hygiene all around the world. But much more is needed.
Action to change negative social norms and practices, to catalyze progress on MH education, and to ensure every woman and girl has access to products. We need more action from governments, funders, UN agencies and Private sector. Because together we can end period stigma. Together we can make sure all girls are educated about menstruation. Together we can ensure all women and girls have access to hygienic products.
Yes! Together we can create a world where no woman or girl is left behind because of her period.
Its time for action!