As part of the activities to mark the 2017 International Day of the Girl Child, a non-governmental organisation, Project Forward Everyone (PFE) has organized a workshop for adolescent girls from public secondary schools in Ibadan.
International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated annually on October 11. The theme for this year’s edition is “Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”
The workshop which was held at the Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Ibadan, sought to address myths and challenges associated with menstruation which cause schoolgirls to miss classes in school.
The organisation which implements solution to developmental challenges in Nigeria invited experts to speak on topics surrounding this year’s theme.
Among the speakers were Professor Oyedunni Arulogun of the Department of Health Promotion and Education, University of Ibadan, and Olanike Oladapo, a Woman Leader and Sustainable Development Practitioner.
Arulogun explained to the entirely female audience that girls today are affected by such issues as education, nutrition, child marriage, legal and medical rights. She identified misconceptions about menstruation especially in the rural areas where girls are kept in the bush during their menstrual periods.
The professor also proffered simple steps on how girls can have healthy periods such as changing napkins 2-3 times a day, drying undergarments under the sun, keeping clean and dry. She encouraged the girls to live a healthy and fulfilling life and advised parents to seek proper medical care for their daughters when needed.
“Parents are to seek correct information and begin to talk to their daughters about taking care of their health especially during menstruation and giving them reproductive health education and sexual education at home, menstrual hygiene and seek medical help when needed,” she said.
She equally charged the girls to always believe that they could achieve whatever they dedicate themselves to and that gender is never an excuse.
On her part, Oladapo urged the young girls to build a high self-esteem in order to achieve their life goals. She said that accepting and loving oneself, focusing on positive attributes, forgiving oneself for past mistakes, becoming physically fit, improving personal hygiene are some of the ways to maintain a high self-esteem.
Why the workshop
A co-founder at the PFE, Chinonso Onwunali, explained that the aim of the workshop was to empower the school girls with the right knowledge about menstruation and increase their esteem to go after their life goals as stated in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In her words, “The main aim of this workshop is to positively engage school girls within Ibadan on menstrual hygiene and self-esteem issues. There is a need for adolescent girls to be aware of the changes their bodies go through at adolescence. They need to have the correct knowledge about menstrual hygiene and self-esteem which are important at this stage of their life. This is our own way of addressing issues raised in the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Participants at the event were drawn from Humani Alaga High School, Sango; Ikolaba High School, Polytechnic High School, Orogun Grammar School, Immanuel College High School and other schools in Ibadan. Participants were all given free sanitary pads by PFE.