Ekiti first lady to distribute pads to 3,000 school girls yearly

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In commemorating 2021 World Menstrual Hygiene Day, the Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, on Thursday launched a Pad Bank, an initiative targeted at giving 3,000 girls in schools sanitary pads every year.

Speaking at the launch of the programme held at the Adunni Olayinka Women Centre, Ado-Ekiti, Erelu Fayemi disclosed that plans were ongoing for local production of reusable pads in every local government in Ekiti State.

“A lot has been said here today on menstrual hygiene and how this is an issue that affects a lot of girls in our society. We have over 13 million out of school children in Nigeria, and 60per cent are girls. There are many reasons why girls are not in school.

Sometimes it’s due to security issues, poverty; early pregnancy; and a whole range of issues, but we are also aware that period poverty is also a factor.”

“Now in our society today, there are many problems that we face. The pad bank resonated with me because this is one problem that we can fix. We might not be able to fix intractable poverty within a given period. We might not be able to fix a whole range of issues that keep us awake at night, but we can fix period poverty.

“This affects probably one out of every five girls or women, and it’s something that is not new. But in the year 2021, we should not find ourselves in a situation where poor girls or poor women have to results to using crude methods to address this issue.”

“A lady produced the reusable pads we are distributing, and we will bring her to Ekiti State to train people on production of the reusable pads in every local government”, the First Lady added.

Erelu Fayemi reiterated that the Nigerian Governors’ Wife Forum (NGWF) is working on a proposition with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to see how the accessibility of these products can be addressed so that the products are not out of reach of young girls and poor women.

“We are holding advocacy with the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment to look into the issue of taxation on menstrual hygiene products because we strongly believe that there should be no taxation on menstrual hygiene products. And even if there should be any tax, it should be heavily subsidized. If condoms can be free via our interventions on HIV/AIDS, then menstrual hygiene products should be free as well or heavily subsidized,” she affirmed.

She stated that the project was sponsored by her friends and Procter and Gamble, who donated thousands of their Sanitary Pad products.

The Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji who represented the State Governor, said Ekiti State Government was yet to support the programme but promised that a budgetary provision will be made for the initiative.

Oyebanji urged the students to show appreciation to the First Lady by staying in schools and not selling the pads.

Earlier in her goodwill message, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Alhaja Maryam Ogunlade maintained that Menstrual Hygiene Day is a day to speak out about menstruation and raise voice to promote good menstrual hygiene.

She commended the Wife of the Governor for giving hope to the girls and encouraged the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors that spread words about menstrual hygiene.

The Commissioner for Education, Dr Bimpe Aderiye, lauded the First Lady on her contribution to the girl child education in the state; explaining that she assisted in facilitating a World Bank -assisted programme called, Adolescent Girls Initiative and Learning Empowerment (AGILE); that will provide for all students needs to stay in school.

The Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi reiterated that Erelu Fayemi has diligently paid attention to the needs of girl child in the State. Her efforts will shut the door to sexual violence.

Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Development Partnerships/ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Margret Fagboyo, pledged that the Ekiti State SDGs Office will support the initiative with pads worth N2.4million.

Also present at the launch was the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Olawale Fapohunda; Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi; Deputy Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Hakeem Jamiu; Chairman, Ekiti State Inland Revenue Service, Mr Muyiwa Ogunmilade; Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Tolu Ibitola; House of Assembly members, Hon. Kemi Balogun and Hon. Yemisi Ayokunle; and other top government dignitaries.

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