To overcome one of the biggest healthcare challenges facing teenage girls from less-privileged homes in Nigeria, Polaris Bank has launched a Feminine Hygiene initiative.
The programme has seen the Bank sensitize over a thousand secondary school girls on feminine hygiene practices, and provided them with the sanitary items to manage their menstrual cycle without missing any day at school.
The initial intervention, which in August, spanned two geo-political zones – North Central and North East, directly reaching nine schools across three states – Kogi, Gombe, and Borno. The initiative has been lauded as timely, especially in improving the lives of many young girls and women in the country.
The beneficiary schools included Federal Government Girls College, Kabba; Government Science Secondary School, Lokoja; and Army Day Secondary School, Lokoja, Kogi State. Others are Government Girls Secondary School, Doma; Government Science Secondary School, Budapest Shongo; Government Secondary School, Pilot, Gombe State; Government Girls College Maiduguri; Government Secondary School, Ville; and Federal Government College Maiduguri in Borno State.
In a statement, the Bank quoted the Group Head, Strategic Brand Management, Nduneche Ezurike, as saying: “the feminine hygiene campaign fulfils a vital pillar of the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.”
Ezurike explained that: “The intervention is an important exercise to disabuse the minds of people from myths and taboos associated with feminine hygiene as well as raise awareness on the subject so that women and girls feel empowered to manage their periods safely, hygienically, and without embarrassment.”
Also, the Lead Consultant, Green Dignity Kit project, Ms. Oyebola Oyedele, said: “The intervention from Polaris Bank in response to the needs of young girls is a move in the right direction towards debunking existing myths and solving a global issue.”
The intervention is an important exercise to disabuse the minds of people from myths and taboos associated with feminine hygiene as well as raise awareness on the subject so that women and girls feel empowered to manage their periods safely, hygienically, and without embarrassment.
Director of Programmes, Ministry of Women Affairs, Gombe State, Dr. Erisa Danladi, commended the project partners, noting that: “The exercise will impact the lives of the young girls; I look forward to more of such programmes taken to remote areas of Gombe state.”
Similarly, the School Health Personnel at Army Day Secondary School, Lokoja, Kogi State, Mrs. Emilia Ugochi, commended the initiative, noting that “most of the girls have been unable until now to state the challenges they are facing. This programme has given them more confidence to reach out for help when needed.”
Some of the beneficiaries, including the Head Girl, Government Girls College, Doma, Gombe State, Fibi Mohammed, said: “The products will go a long way in making us feel more comfortable during our monthly period. In the past, we often rushed to our hostels to overcome the inconveniences that come with inability to access sanitary products.”
Also, Aisha Abdulahi-Abubakar, an SS2 student of Government Girls Secondary School, Ngoshe, described health tips as useful and encouraging, while Bilkis Barma, from Government Girls College, Maiduguri, expressed happiness for the sanitary products
Polaris Bank said its feminine advancement footprints, which include partnerships with the International Women’s Society; Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation; Care Organization and Public Enlightenment (C.O.PE) Foundation, and a host of others, are geared towards women empowerment.
It added that such interventions support Principle 4 of UNEP-FI Principles for Responsible Banking, by engendering a sustainable Nigerian society through its business and Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) targets for sustainable impact.