Oriental Energy Resources Limited, an Oil and Gas exploration and production company, has donated over 1,000 bags of sanitary pads to girls in two secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State in its drive to tackle “period poverty” in the state as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
This is as it decried lack of access to hygienic menstrual products and education among secondary school girls in the state.
The benefiting schools include Ibesikpo Secondary Commercial School, Ibesikpo Asutan, and Amayam Community Secondary School, Ikot Ekpene Council of the state.
Speaking at the presentation of the items in Amayam Community Secondary School on Thursday, the Managing Director of Oriental Energy Resources Ltd, Mr. Mustapha Indimi, said the initiative was in support of the Mentrual Hygiene Day which takes place May 28 of every year.
Indimi, who was represented at the occasion by the Head, Community and Government Relations Officer, Uwem Ite, expressed deep concern over the number of girls dropping out of school due to period poverty.
He said, “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 period 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 the 2022 Menstrual Hygiene Day is also a contribution towards fighting period poverty, improving gender equality in education. These issues are all in line with Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, and 5 adopted by the United Nations in September 2015.
“It is pertinent to note here that the 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, cloths or other unhygienic materials. This can lead to reproductive tract infections and other health conditions”, he said.
He listed core areas of the company’s social investment interventions to include community health, education and human capital development, enterprise development and support as well as capacity building for sustainable development.
According to him, the company has intervened in community health in Mbo Local Government where it held a medical outreach in November 2021 and has granted University scholarships to over 250 undergraduates from various local government areas of the state, among others.
Also speaking, the Director of Aniedi Etim Foundation, Miss Aniedi Etim, said period poverty was a global issue that needed to addressed.
According to her, period poverty has kept many teenage girls out of schools, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa and the world in general.
She said, “Before I get to say why we are here gathered this morning, I will like to first mention that I never knew that what my friends and I experienced back then in secondary school as teenage girls was 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 the discomfort that comes with having to make use of unhygienic materials during menstruation is indiscribable.”