Broadcaster Launches Sanitary Pad Campaign For Girls In Under-served Communities

Funke Treasure

Illuminate Nigeria Development Network — run by former broadcast administrator, Anike-ade Funke Treasure — has launched the Sanitary Pad Media Campaign. Promoted strictly online, its main aim is to break the silence around menstruation and the associated myths, misconception, taboos and stigma. 

The campaign, launched earlier in May, is tagged #mymenstruationstory #myperiodmypride and hopes to call for the supply of free sanitary pads for school-age girls for a year and affordable pads for women in the country generally. 

To achieve its goals, the campaign has curated menstruation stories from 100 women in the media and other walks of life, who automatically become advocates for the project. There are also male advocates, who joined as the campaign gained momentum.

According to the convener, Ms. Anike-ade Funke Treasure, the whole idea of telling the personal stories is to project the everyday realities of menstrual cycles closer home and more relatable to the men to  influence policy decisions. 

The campaign has been characterized by posters on Instagram and Facebook. Advocates include notable broadcasters and women in media, women in senior management positions and business owners. Among them: Betty Dibia, Vera Oshokoya, Morayo Afolabi Brown, Kemi Ikotun Adekusibe, Yemisi Mafe, Funke Osae Brown Cordelia Okpei and Lilian Imoni.

A 30-minute InstaLive Chat with campaign advocates debuted in the second week of the campaign, hosted by the convener, it aired daily for six days. Guests included: Amara Kyna Iwuoha (CEO, Nanny Academy); Wemimo Adebiyi); Abigail Isaiah (On-Air Personality with Las Gidi FM Toyin Zuleiha (On-Air personality with Unilag FM & TV);; and Afi Bassey(Media trainer and development expert). It has since stabilised into three outings a week on Instagram.

Renown scholar, gender advocate and Dean, Mass Communications Departmemt at UNILAG, Prof Abigail Ogwezzy Ndisika, featured on the special edition of the InstaLive chat on 19th May.  

This is the second online campaign hosted by the Sanitary Pad Media Campaign (SPMC), in a bid to draw attention to period poverty rampant in many schools in Nigeria. The first, #whatifmenmenstruated was hosted on Twitter in March 2020 and was a call to men to imagine with us the realities of menstruation. 

“It was a call to make them walk a mile in our shoes, and pull men into the campaign empathetically so that our demands or requests can be better appreciated,” Anike-ade says.

“Our demands are that the Nigerian Federal and State governments should make pads free at the secondary school level. We also wish to raise funds needed to provide one year supply of sanitary pads each to one thousand girls in ten locations across Nigeria.”

 Speaking on the occasion of the World Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May), Ms. Funke Treasure says that the stories so far collected is a representative sample population of women actively menstruating, the majority of them, more that 70%, deal with heavy flows needing multiple change of pads in a day. 

“I therefore reiterate that pads become more affordable to women generally and girls in secondary schools should get sanitary pads free,” she adds. 

According to her, if the government stepped into providing the item free in school, as it is in Kenya, South Africa, England and Scotland, it would save our girls from period poverty and ensure dignity while at it, adding that she believes it is cheaper and easier for the government to implement than the home feeding and NYSC programmes. 

“While the NYSC costs the Federal government billions of money at 30,000.00 naira per youth corps member a month, the Home feeding programme is valued weekly at nothing less than 1,500.00 naira per child. Providing sanitary pad for girls will cost less than 10,000.00 annually per girl”. 

“I therefore call on the Federal government to consider doing this for the Nigerian girl child.  

Now that Covid-19 has shown us in this part of the world that one can work from home. I also want to enjoin the Federal government to consider a two-day menstrual leave in our labour codes, to support the many women going through painful menstruation in the labour force.”

In June, the campaign enters fundraising stage to get sanitary pad to one thousand (1000) girls in underserved communities under the “1000-For-1000 initiative.”