Some adolescent girls in Rigasa community, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State have produced about 15,000 reusable sanitary pads using local materials.
Yusha’u Abubukar, Executive Director, Enhancing Communities Action for Peace and Better Health Initiative, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Kaduna on Friday.
Abubakar said the sanitary pads were produced by 150 adolescent girls, 15 to 18 years, who were rounding up a three-month training on how to make the pads as a means of livelihood.
He described the production of the reusable pads as “first of its kind” for adolescent young girls in urban slums like Rigasa to be self-reliant and take care of their menstruation hygiene.
He said the girls were being trained with support from the United Nations Population Fund under its Risk Communication and Community Engagement project.
He added that the RCCE project was under the UN Basket Fund support to COVID-19 Response in the state.
According to Abubakar, the girls are becoming the largest producers of locally made reusable pads in Northern Nigeria.
He said: “A significant number of adolescent girls in Rigasa community cannot afford modern sanitary pads critical for maintaining menstrual hygiene.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem of poverty among vulnerable households in the community and other urban slums in the state.
“This development has left adolescent vulnerable girls helpless with no access to sanitary pads, contraceptives as well as sexual and reproductive health services and information.
“This training has, therefore, empower the vulnerable girls to handle their menstruation hygiene by producing a reusable sanitary pad that can be reused from three to six months.”
The Executive Director said the project has equally provided adolescent girls with opportunities to acquire life skills, build support networks, and develop the ability to advocate for themselves.
Abubakar noted that recognising, mentoring, harnessing and documenting the creativity and innovative solutions of young girls remained an effective strategy in dealing with adolescent and young people.
He added that while adolescent girls were trained on how to produce reusable pads, some adolescent boys were trained on shoe making, tailoring and production of face masks.
He added: “We also organised a series of dialogue with adolescent boys and girls on how the COVID-19 affects them and their education and educate them on the misconceptions about SRH and contraceptives.
“We developed risk communication messages on sexual and gender-based violence and COVID-19, and graphics for use in social media and trained the adolescent on online and offline social media marketing.
“We equally distributed 2,000 locally made face masks to young people in the community.”