Sustainable Menstrual Hygiene Management Project
We have worked with adolescent girls since the inception of the organization in 2009 and have seen first hand the challenges girls go through every month when they have to experience their menstrual flow. Our interventions have been sporadic and seasonal. However, in November 2021, whilst undergoing the European Union Agents for Citizens Transformation Program (EU- ACT), the CCDS team started a journey to a more sustainable menstrual hygiene project and we birthed the Bodybold Ecopad Enterprise Project (BEEP).
The main objective of BEEP is to provide a wholistic approach to menstrual hygiene issues in the provision of quality menstrual hygiene products, enterprise development for women and girls on production and distribution of menstrual products, training, orientation, coaching, mentoring and advocating for menstrual hygiene justice across all levels of governance in Nigeria and beyond.
Development of the program and challenges we seek to address
Menstruation is invisible and silent due to ignorance, cultural and religious reasons. 1.2 billion women across the world who do not have access to basic sanitation during their periods. Period poverty is when a girl cannot afford good menstrual products, is not adequately exposed to menstrual hygiene education and lacks basic sanitation infrastructure at home or school.
Such girls often resort to unhygienic practices like using tissue paper, old rags or newspapers in place of pads. This can cause anxiety, depression, infection, infertility and damaged self-esteem. The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, estimate that one in 10 African girls miss school during their periods, and often drop out of school.
The National Democracy and Health Survey 2013, revealed that girls make up 60 per cent of the 10.5 million out-of-school children in Nigeria. Apart from the stigma, shame, exclusion and taboos associated with menstruators, the conventional disposable pads cost between $1.3 to $ 1.9 per pack and the average girl cannot afford this. Sex is by choice while menstruation is not by choice yet condoms are distributed freely whilst underserved girls struggle to buy pads monthly.
Conventional pads are made with unknown chemicals and ingredients. They take over 500 years to decompose and are not recyclable because they are considered a medical waste. Disposal through flushing, burning, or discarding creates enormous environmental problems.
The Body Bold Eco Pad project is an innovation that provides sustainable solutions to addressing period poverty using the social enterprise model and implementing this through a mixed grill of the 3 pillars to menstrual sustainability which are social, environment and economic.
This entails the manufacturing and distribution of eco-friendly sanitary pads made from organic materials. The pads are bio-degradable, ecofriendly, 100% chemical free, leak proof, washable, reusable and last over more than 2 years.
The product package will come in a branded combo back containing the following items: 8 washable reusable sanitary napkins, 2 padded pants,1 panty liner, 1 booklet containing information on life skills, menstrual hygiene management, 1 dryer bag, 1 storage bag/kit. This combo has been projected to cost about $12.00 and lasts for over 2 years.
The project is backed up with advocacy and civic engagement to hold the government accountable for improved service delivery on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene infrastructure and policy reforms. The project will also engage direct intervention programs for public orientation, awareness creation, life skills and menstrual hygiene education within and outside schools’ environment.
Menstruation is surrounded by myths, stigma and taboos which inflicts indignity upon women and girls and violates their rights to non-discrimination, equality, bodily integrity, health, privacy and right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment. In rural communities, women and girls are forbidden from cooking, preparing meals, participating in social events, working in the field, and going to their various religious places during their periods because they are considered impure, filthy, and even cursed.
We have backed up our product offer with menstrual hygiene education at all levels, demystifying all myths, improving and restoring the dignity of the rural uninformed girl whilst mobilizing resources, networks and alliances to advocate for WASH policy reforms, implementation, service delivery and infrastructural support for Menstrual Health in schools, communities and homes.
Conventional disposable pads exist but they are expensive, contains synthetic ingredients, artificial fragrances, chemical gels, residues, adhesives and contributes significantly to environmental pollution. Our sanitary pad product offer is a more affordable, one-time, long term sustainable pad made from organic and non-irritating materials. CCDS will run campaigns to provide the pads free for the ultra-poor and set up community business cases, producers and distributors and enterprise development opportunities.
Pad a Girl Today!
Target customers or beneficiaries
According to the Nigeria poverty Assessment 2022, 4 out of every 10 Nigerians live below the poverty line. According to World Bank, the Covid 19 pandemic has further pushed extra 5 million Nigerian into extreme poverty, projecting our total number of those living in abject poverty to up to 95.1 million in 2022. Economic, climate and conflict shocks are spreading and may plunge Nigeria into a deeper poverty. Climate change alone, which is also caused aggravated by plastic pollution could intensify shocks and limit opportunities to spread the proceeds of growth. The World Bank report noted that many non-poor Nigerians are only one small shock away from falling into poverty, while those who are already poor could be pushed into even deeper deprivation.
According to United Nations Refugee Agency, Nigeria houses over 3.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and over 53% are women and girls. Priority in the IDP camps is to provide food but menstruation is a biological phenomenon that cannot be stopped.
Nigeria must therefore expand social protection to protect the underserved and the vulnerable. Our innovation targets women and girls from the rural disadvantaged poor communities and the urban ultra-poor who cannot afford quality menstrual hygiene products.
>> Go to PAD A GIRL campaign page