Menstrual Hygiene: American College Students Rally Support for Nigerian Girls

Menstrual Hygiene: American College Students Rally Support for Nigerian Girls

Rebecca Ejifoma

Around the globe, only one thing undeniably unites girls in a shared narrative. That is the journey to womanhood and its most significant character – menstruation. With menstruation, menstrual health becomes a substantial part of a young woman’s life.

Sadly, nature did not bestow the luck for excellent menstrual health, availability of safe menstrual products, and comprehensive menstrual education equally to all girls. While American girls find themselves in a better place regarding this matter, Nigerian girls face significant challenges.

Nigerian Girls in Edo State face immense challenges. They not only lack proper access to safe menstrual products, but cultural taboos on menstruation also impede them from comprehensively understanding their bodies safely and meaningfully.

Unfortunately, obsolete and harmful cultural norms and practices are upheld, negatively impacting these girls. As a result, these girls in Edo state sacrifice their education to avoid the supposed shame menstruation brings.

Fortunately, the Emmanuel Osemota Foundation (EOF) rolled its sleeves to address this issue. EOF is a grassroots nonprofit organisation dedicated to uplifting local communities in Nigeria and South Florida. The foundation has made the issue of period poverty in these communities a cornerstone of its mission. It is empowering girls through on-the-ground educational initiatives and high-quality healthcare.

To strengthen their initiatives, EOF partnered with Conscious Cycle, a student-led group at the University of South Florida, in the spring of 2023. It was a partnership made in heaven. This group shares the same values and goals as EOF as they aim to raise awareness of period poverty and globally help improve access to menstrual products.

Conscious Cycle approached EOF to support EOF’s menstrual supply initiatives in Nigeria as part of their involvement in a Women & Social Justice course at the university. The partnership was an ideal match, and EOF immediately utilised its contacts in Edo State to share information between the two nations.

Conscious Cycle group devised a plan with a clear objective: drum up funds to supply girls with menstrual products in Nigeria. They organised an on-campus donation drive, which concluded on April 12th. The event was wildly successful and exceeded all expectations.

Through their efforts, they raised sufficient funds to provide sanitary pads and other menstrual products for 300 female students associated with EOF in Edo State, Nigeria. Additionally, they amassed tangible menstruation products to donate to a similar organisation in South Florida.

These college students executed an immensely impactful donation drive within just two days which benefited both Nigeria and South Florida.

The profound impact of safe menstrual care can kick-start a domino effect of positive change throughout a community. The 300 young girls in Edo State who will receive menstrual products, thanks to the generous support from Conscious Cycle, can now attend school for an additional six months without having to miss classes.

For this period, these girls will be able to fully take advantage of educational opportunities previously hindered by societal stigma tied to menstruation. With this opportunity, these young girls can acquire knowledge, develop an awareness of human trafficking and actively assist in building a safer future for themselves and their community.

When women unite to support one another, the potential for positive change becomes limitless. To an American woman, a menstrual kit may seem insignificant, but to her Nigerian counterpart, it is a beacon of hope, a stepping stone to a better and brighter future.

For EOF, partnerships like the one with Conscious Cycle exemplify a united front and demonstrate that transformative miracles efforts like this one can change lives when people choose to elevate one another through practical and meaningful measures.

“The Emmanuel Osemota Foundation team extends profound gratitude to our new friends at Conscious Cycle. We hope this partnership is just the beginning, and we eagerly anticipate their future endeavours,” expressed Emmanuel Osemota, the Founder of EOF.

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