THE PANDEMIC PUT A HALT ON SO MANY ACTIVITIES, BUT MENSTRUATION.

Raquel Daniel
Posted May 22, 2020 from Nigeria
Volunteers with teenage girls at Karonmajigi IDP Camp Abuja

In times of crisis, the reproductive health and rights of women and girls are often neglected and, worse, threatened. The COVID- 19 pandemic can be regarded as an example of how much a crisis can negatively affect the reproductive health of women and girls. At the announcement of the lock-down, there was an immediate spread of panic buying which frankly was a luxury that only a certain group of people could afford. This led to an inevitable scarcity which in turn impacted the prices of everyday items like Sanitary pads. Beyond this, was also the reality of an average family in Nigeria, whose meal is dependent on their daily menial jobs or sales which was brought to an abrupt halt by the lock-down. it became more difficult for even those who could afford sanitary pads to purchase and girls from poor homes were unable to ask their parents for funds to purchase  sanitary pads as there was very little thought given to it mainly because most people were more focused on the realities of providing for their families while they no longer had the liberty to go out and work.

Beyond the Classroom Foundation has been working in the area of reproductive health for over 7 years. Due to this, we received countless request for sanitary pads from girls in the Internally Displaced Person’s camps (IDP) in Abuja and other low income communities we work in. I have noticed that, post-disaster relief and recovery operations seldom focus on women’s priorities regarding menstrual hygiene. Governments and nonprofit respond to disaster majorly with food relief items and rarely remember to put in a sanitary pad for the women and girls. This goes to show how important these conversations are because it opens us up to the areas we have been ignoring and inadvertently failing at. In response to the coronavirus pandemic and to support the women and girls in the IDP camp, including the low income communities we work in, Beyond the  Classroom Foundation raised $1,000 and distributed free disposable sanitary pads enough to last three months to 200 girls in Ijora Olopa, Lagos and Kabusa village in Abuja. In partnership with SanitaryAid Initiative and Abuja Global Shapers, the women and girls at the Karonmagiji IDP camp received 300 free reusable sanitary pads, 800 underpants and 500 face masks. Through another partnership with Socially Africa, participants of the Switch on Bootcamp designed the “Fund the Flow” project, raised over $4,000 for sanitary pads and we distributed three months’ supply of disposal sanitary pads to 1,000 women and girls in Langbasa, Okeira-nla, Bariga, Makoko and Ikeja Cantonment Lagos State.

Menstrual hygiene is not a luxury and it shouldn’t be in our communities. It simply should be allowed to be what it really is, which is a necessity. When women and girls who menstruate do not have the education or resources to manage their periods safely, they often resort to using unsafe materials like rags which can cause physical health challenges. Our Pad in A Pandemic drive is still on as we continue working tirelessly to ensure that women and girls in low income communities affected by the coronavirus can have access to adequate resources and information to help them manage their periods.

In Nigeria, stigma already stops women and girls who menstruate from talking openly about menstruation and sanitary pads which is why we have chosen to be their voice and our aim is to have this hard but necessary conversations so we can tackle these issues and provide lasting and effective solutions to them. In the Northern region for example, period poverty, which is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand-washing facilities, and waste management is high and this impacts greatly on the reproductive health of women and girls. I challenge nonprofits and the government to put menstrual hygiene at the heart of any emergency response in Nigeria. As we all can see, the pandemic put a halt on so many activities, but menstruation.

This story was submitted in response to Menstruation Matters.

Comments 33

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maeann
May 22
May 22

Raquel Hi :) thank you for sharing this very empowering photos with young girls. A powerful story about young girls and women, not to be shame on what is natural with us being a woman. Thank you for doing the great work.

Raquel Daniel
May 23
May 23

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we will stay safe out there!

Chi8629
May 23
May 23

Hello Beautiful.
Thank you for sharing.
Please stay safe.
Much love sister.

Raquel Daniel
May 23
May 23

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we will stay safe out there!

Hello, Raquel,

You are right that menstrual needs are not given priority during emergency cases, and most especially during this pandemic.

Thanks to Beyond the Classroom Foundation and partners for rising up to address this basic need of women and girls. You are doing important work. Keep it up.

Thanks for the update and lovely photos. Please stay safe, dear sister!

Raquel Daniel
May 23
May 23

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we will stay safe out there!

You’re welcome, dear sister. So proud of you!

Carmen Silipo
Jun 03
Jun 03

In Italy the "Non una di meno" (Not one less) Movement asks for the reduction of the VAT from the normal tax of 22% - as other consumables - to the 4% - as for all sanitary products ... without any results untill now

A big hug to all women in this troubbles times

Hugs to you, too!

Chidimma
May 24
May 24

Hi dear Raquel, thanks to Beyound the classroom foundation for providing sanitary pads for women and girls in Communities. Its really a good work your foundation is doing. Health and hygiene is important in this Pandemic, most especially for women and girls who are the most vulnerable. Keep up the good work. God bless your efforts.
Stay safe.

Raquel Daniel
May 28
May 28

Thank you Chidimma for your kind words. God bless you more!

Tamarack Verrall
May 24
May 24

Hi Raquel,
What a true message that this pandemic "opens us up to the areas we have been ignoring and inadvertently failing at". Menstruation is such a big part of our lives as women, and it is shocking that it has been so ignored in listing the necessities needed. We heard so much about toilet paper on the news, and not about pads! Your work is so important, and what great photos!

Raquel Daniel
May 26
May 26

Thank you Tamarack! We keep moving...

Sinyuy Geraldine
May 25
May 25

Hello Raquel. what a timely action. thank you so much for sharing this story of how you are impacting the lives of these deprived people by proving them with periods materials and talking with them so as to solve their menstruation problems. Stay safe and blessed.

Raquel Daniel
May 26
May 26

Thank you so much for the kind words.

Anita Shrestha
May 26
May 26

Thank you for sharing.

Raquel Daniel
May 26
May 26

Thank you!

Urmila Chanam
May 29
May 29

My dear sister, Raquel,
You have summarised the crisis of menstrual hygiene management so well. Kudos to your efforts. During the pandemic and lockdown, not just inequalities in the society that existed earlier have got accentuated but even public health challenges like Menstrual health have faced steep barriers. In India, adolescent girls who depended on pads given by the schools and community organizations stopped receiving supply and accessing menstrual hygiene became a problem in country level for a segment of females. Keep on moving, sister. Wish you a happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!

Much love,
Urmila Chanam,
India

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Wow!. This must have been hard. Thank you for sharing and welldone on all you do. I see them on Facebook.

acroghana
May 29
May 29

thanks a lot for great work

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Thank you

JULITON
May 30
May 30

MPs can't wait corona to end, your right, wao,

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Thank you

l_reamer
May 30
May 30

Raquel,
your photos and and story you shared are a great revelation of the reality of something a lot of women here in the US do not realize exists. Thank you for sharing and challenging nonprofits to not forget about women.

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Thank you for your kind words.

Patience Nyange
May 30
May 30

Dear Raquel,

This is a fantastic story. Well told.
I love this statement "Menstrual hygiene is not a luxury and it shouldn’t be in our communities. It simply should be allowed to be what it really is, which is a necessity. "

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Yes, it is a necessity! Thank you....

Carmen Silipo
Jun 03
Jun 03

Hi Raquel,

I'm Carmen from Italy
While reading your post, I was thinking about how it is possible to reduce the price of the sanitary pads
Where are they made?

I'm now 53, but I still remember that we, me and my female friends, were use to call menstruation "the hosts", without saying the name ...
You have made a great job for all women :-)

Welcome to World Pulse, Carmen! It’s so great to know you’ve joined us. I’m looking forward to reading your stories, too.

You seems so natural in sending supportive comments. Hope you consider becoming an Encourager. Please check this link for more info:https://www.worldpulse.com/world-pulse-leaders/encouragers?fbclid=IwAR35...

Have a great day! Please stay safe!

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Thank you!... It is so hard here fighting poverty and corruption. A few nonprofits are already working on that

Tola Makinde
Jun 05
Jun 05

Welldone!

Raquel Daniel
Jun 09
Jun 09

Thank you!

Doreen Bieri
Jul 26
Jul 26

great job. thumbs up my sister