As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility and support for 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day, Oriental Energy Resources has donated 1,000 bags of sanitary pads to girls in two secondary schools in Akwa Ibom state.
The benefiting schools are Ibesikpo Secondary Commercial School, Ibesikpo Asutan, and Amayam Community Secondary school, Ikot Ekpene council areas received 650 and 350 bags respectively.
Presenting the items to students of the schools Thursday, The Managing Director of the company Mr. Mustafa Indimi, said the gesture was aimed at providing sensitization on menstrual hygiene and fighting the high rate of school dropouts among girls in junior secondary two and three due to lack of money to buy a sanitary pad.
He said the gesture was also to discourage the use of old rags and other harmful materials by girls during their menstrual periods due to their inability to afford proper sanitary pads.
Represented by the Head, Community and Government Relations Officer of the Oil company, Dr. Uwem Ite, he said the initiative was in support of the Menstrual Hygiene Day which takes place on May 28 of every year, noting that Oriental Energy Resources Ltd was worried at the cases of girls dropping out from school due to lack of money to manage their periods.
“There is no doubt that education is a human right. As such every child has a right to education and no girl should stay away from school due to a period of poverty. Period poverty is a situation where women and girls cannot afford proper menstrual hygiene products due to financial hardship. It is also viewed as inadequate access to menstrual tools and education which makes it difficult for students to safely manage their menstrual cycle.
“Our support for 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day is also a contribution towards fighting period poverty and improving gender equality in education. These issues are all in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 3, 4, and 5 adopted by the United Nations in September 2015.
“It is pertinent to note here that SDG 3 focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone at all ages. Unfortunately, it is evident that if women and girls lack access to affordable, hygienic menstrual products, they often use old rags, cloth or other unhygienic materials. This can lead to reproductive tract infections and other health conditions”, he said.
Also speaking, the director of Aniedi Etim Foundation, Miss Aniedi Etim said she had to take up the initiative of sensitizing students in secondary schools on how to take care of themselves during the menstrual period because of her experience when she was of their age
“I will like to first mention that I never knew that what my friends and I experienced back then in a secondary school as teenage girls were called period poverty, not until some years later. So, my friends and I used to skip school during menstruation most of the time because we couldn’t afford menstrual products, and because we were afraid of getting stained and teased by boys and girls at school so we would rather stay home during menstruation because of the discomfort that comes with having to make use of unhygienic materials during menstruation”.
She thanked Oriental Energy for supporting her Foundation with resources to enable it to purchase and supply the sanitary pads to girls in the two secondary schools in the state, describing it as one of its kind in the country.
According to her, the pads would serve the girls for a period of one year, calling on other NGOs and corporate organizations to support the novel moves so as to encourage girls’ education in the country.