Conscious Cycles, a female-led student group at the University of South Florida, Tampa
Menstruation is a natural process which occurs in a healthy female’s body. It starts around the age of 11 and continues for almost three decades. Beginning of the menstrual cycle brings in physiological change in the life of the adolescent girls.
However, majority of the adolescent girls are ignorant of these changes and lack scientific knowledge of menstruation.
In certain parts of the world, especially in Nigeria where there are misconception, myths, taboos about menstrual circle. In Edo State, menstruation is surrounded by cultural shame to such an extent that girls skip school to conceal their cycles.
They endanger themselves by seeking for supplies thereby exposing themselves to the risk of sex trafficking by avoiding their communities for days at a time.
Founder of Emmanuel Osemota Foundation, an International nonprofit organization, Mr Emmanuel Osemota said that the foundation was dedicated to developing grassroots solutions for medical crises and providing free menstrual products in vulnerable regions.
He further explained that the Foundation collaborated with Conscious Cycles, a female-led student group at the University of South Florida, Tampa, to promotes awareness and financial support for safe access to menstrual products.
“Our target audience relies on partnerships like this, and we are immensely proud of the remarkable work carried out by the women of Conscious Cycles. We hope that their efforts, combined with ours, will continue to raise awareness for this critical cause”. Emmanuel Osemota stated.
Mr Osemota identified two groups in South Florida that share a common goal of promoting girl child development, awareness campaign for menstrual products.
In April this year, these two groups mobilized support from fellow Floridians to provide sanitary napkins to young women in Edo State, Nigeria.
‘‘Within a matter of days, the students successfully collected donations to assist 300 young girls in Edo State, Nigeria, while also providing menstrual supplies for local girls in need in South Florida. Leveraging its established network on the ground in the region, the EOF swiftly transformed the funds into much-needed sanitary napkins”.Osemota noted.
The foundation estimates that this initiative will enable the Edo State girls to attend an additional six months of school, months they would likely have missed otherwise. Consequently, these girls will benefit from increased education, more time spent in a safe environment, and no longer needing to engage in dangerous exchanges for supplies.
Every month, 1.8 billion people across the world menstruate. Millions of these girls, women, transgender men and non-binary persons are unable to manage their menstrual cycle in a dignified, healthy way.
The onset of menstruation means a new phase – and new vulnerabilities – in the lives of adolescents. Yet, many adolescent girls face stigma, harassment and social exclusion during menstruation. Transgender men and non-binary persons also face discrimination due to their gender identity, depriving them of access to the materials and facilities they need.
Gender inequality, discriminatory social norms, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services like toilets and sanitary products can all cause menstrual health and hygiene needs to go unmet.
Writing by Adeniyi Bakare