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    Friday, 11 October 2019

    International Day Of The Girl Child With HAFAI (PHOTOS)

    Photo - Naija Magazine Online

    OCTOBER 11th, annually celebrated to highlight the importance of supporting the girl child, was on Tuesday commemorated in a spectacular way in Abuja by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in partnership with Health Aid For All Initiative (HAFAI). The day's event was graced by dignitaries, students, teachers and parents.

    The event highlighted the basic needs of the girl child regarding Menstrual Health, and called on governments, schools and other stakeholders to support the girl child in attaining her full potentials. Participants frowned at the fact many girls drop out of school because of poor management of their menstrual health. The event hosted by Dr. Ugochi Ohajuruka, Executive Director for HAFAI also witnessed the public presentation of a book titled "The Red Diamond" also authored by Dr. Ohajuruka. The book focuses on puberty, menstrual periods and emerging issues.

    Dr. Ohajuruka advocated for the provision of right amenities for the girl child's menstrual health in Nigeria and beyond. Speaking, a participant at the event noted that, "Back then, girls miss schools when they are on their period. Till date after 25 years, the narrative hasn't changed as some girls still use towels as it was back in those settings instead of pads. In some schools, there are no sanitary pads in the emergency aid box. Even those ones that are knowledgeable about this mostly don't have good toilets where the girls can change their pads during school hours. In a lot of schools, there are no good facilities. The good ones usually are secluded and tagged to principal and staff use only. So, the girls just miss school" She said.One highlight of the project is that it also targets boys, teaching them to support, not mock, girls during their menstrual period.

    While speaking with NAIJA MAGAZINE ONLINE, Dr. Ohajuruka expressed concern that little is done to help girls’ access sanitary materials during their menstrual periods in school. Excerpts of the interview.

    Naija Magazine Online: What informed this project?

    Dr. Ohajuruka: The sufferings of millions of women and girls  in rural communities in Nigeria, the stigma that are built around it, the misconception around the issue surrounding period which is a human right issue, violates  a girl's right to dignity, freedom from privacy and health and it constitutes a form of obstacle for her to attain her full potential. So, that necessitated the whole essence of the programme because we want girls to attain their full potential, to be in school and participate fully in class. If we want to achieve gender equality, girls have to be in school, women should be able to go to work. Women and girls should not have any hindrance, not even a biologic function such as menstruation.

    Naija Magazine Online: What is The Red Diamond about?

    Dr Ohajuruka: 'The Red Diamond Project' believes that periods are as precious as diamonds because without period, there would be no people. So, we coined the name ' The Red Diamond' so we can discuss the issues surrounding periods and correct the misconceptions and to spur the needs by giving out facts in schools and in rural communities. We target village heads, traditional leaders and religious institutions that have been pushing (misinformation and stigma) that prevent women from flying as high as they want.

    Below are some photos from the event.


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