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Menstrual hygiene is one very important component of the female gender and by extension the male gender. It is believed that roughly half of the female population around 26 per cent of the global population are of reproductive age. UNICEF reports that globally, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation services.

With the increasing cost of living and the associated water and sanitation issues in Nigeria, it is getting more challenging for women – especially those in rural areas – to afford menstrual packs and maintain proper hygiene during their monthly (menstrual) flow.

In response to this situation in Nigeria, between July 14 to 16, the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association (NAOWA) in Abuja as part of their 3-day empowerment program trained over 100 women, mostly wives of men of the Nigeria Army to produce over 500 reusable pads. 

The second day of the event was a 4-hours practical session as participants were taught how to make reusable pads. The lead facilitator, Mrs Ifeoma Okonkwo, a trained Menstrual Hygiene educator started by enlightening participants on what reusable pads were and their importance. According to her, reusable pads are very important because they reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Menstrual poverty is a threat to the health of women and reusable pads are a great tool in tackling this. Mrs Okonkwo also stressed the importance of changing the pad frequently during a menstrual cycle. Emphasizing the uniqueness of the reusable pads, she explained that asides from being hygienic, reusable pads are very cost-efficient and can be easily stored for later use.

After the presentation, there was a demonstration of the processing involved in the production of the reusable pads. Thereafter, the women were grouped and following the guideline by designated volunteers, the participants produced reusable pads using flannel, cotton, cardboard and other materials. The participants expressed their joy after the session and made known their plans to teaching their colleagues through step-down training when they returned to their respective locations.

The training was sponsored by the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association, facilitated by Media For Community Change (MFCC) and held at the NAOWA Event Centre in Abuja. The pads produced will be distributed to women and young girls for use in place of rags and other unsanitary options that are resorted to during monthly periods.

At the close of the event, Mr. Jimoh Oluwatobi Segun the Executive Director of Media For Community Change (MFCC) urged the women to consider the skills as a very important one and should commit themselves to empower other women.