Challenging myths about menstruation
Civil society groups are in a yearlong campaign to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene, and have begun by targeting young girls in schools.
It comes amidst concern that the age of first menstruation is reducing among girls. One civil society group found girls as young as eight years old already having their menstrual cycle in Abuja.
“During our time, our cycles started late. These days at eight, nine, they are already having cycles,” said Jamila Isa, founder of the El-Meela Heritage Support Foundation (ELMHSF)
“Menstruation comes early in their life. It is necessary they get information so they will get into trouble,” said Nnenna Emedolibe, speaking on behalf of the Gloria Shoda, president of the National Council of Women’s Societies.
EL-MHSF first encountered girls as young as eight already seeing their period during an outreach on Day of the African Child. It has taken the Day of the Girl Child for the group to target 50 junior-secondary school-age girls at Model Secondary School in Maitama with a campaign to ensure openness about menstrual cycle and habits to promote menstrual hygiene.
It comes amidst concern that lack of access to menstrual hygiene increasingly contributes to girls staying absent from school, dropping out completely and eventually missing their entry into the work force. The campaign is “WithHer: A Skilled GirlForce”
From among menstrual kits distributed among the school girls, a facilitator held up a pad, and in slow step by step stripped it open and demonstrated how girls are meant to use it.