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Using art to shine light on menstruation

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Using art to shine light on menstruation

The United Nations enlightened the public that lack of menstrual knowledge, poor access to sanitary products and a non-facilitating school environment could make it difficult for girls to attend schools in most developing countries of the world. The UN calls for interventions to reduce the burden of menstruation for school girls by government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Studies show that inadequate options for menstrual hygiene recently received attention as a barrier to education for girls in low and middle income countries. They noted that poor sanitation in schools and lack of access to good quality sanitary products could be associated with lower enrolment in schools, absenteeism, and dropout. Inadequate menstrual hygiene could potentially have health consequences such as increased risk of reproductive and urinary tract infections.
To help draw attention to this challenge in Nigeria, a non- governmental organisation, Periods & More Resources (PMR) organised an art exhibition to bring more than 15 female painters for a special art exhibition aimed at raising awareness to these problems. According to the organiser of the event, Ms. Nnenna Urom, the major aim of the exhibition was to use art to empower, educate and train girls and women on issues relating to menstrual flow and how to develop a good sanitary habit. “Our goal is to be able to help as many young girls as possible to feel comfortable, productive and dignified during that time of the month”. The event took place three days ago, at Kulture Kode ArtHub, Suite 3, Chocolate Mall, Wuse Abuja FCT, attracted personalities from the Federal Ministry of Health, Education, Women Affairs, Water Resources, and civil society organisations and the media. The FCDA Social Development Department, the French Embassy, Swedish Embassy, and Water Aid International are among the key partners.
Some of the artistes whose works were on exhibition include: Ngozi Akande, Chinyere Ojobo, Abigail Nnaji, Helen Nzete, Ayakurai Ekpebu, Mahogany Ruth, Loi Silva, Clara Aden, Uche Uguru, Kemi Sewel, Ella Onyebe, Doofan Kwaghool, Naomi Oyeniyi, Chinyere Odinukwe, Ayoola Omovo, Amarachi Odimba, Ogochukwu Ejiofor and May Ekene. It was an interesting outing.
The problem of menstrual hygiene is multifaceted; girls need to be aware about menarche and be able to manage their menstruation in an enabling environment with access to hygienic menstrual materials and facilities for changing and disposal of menstrual items at home and school. National and international concerns about menstrual hygiene have been spearheaded through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs in schools and policy and programming frameworks to improve knowledge and infrastructure to manage menstrual hygiene. Domesticating these in Nigeria is the major focus of this event. There is utmost need to break the social and cultural taboos associated with this natural development to enable young girls reach their full potential in life.

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