L-R: Dr Oluyemi Atibioke, ICHSSA2 State Program Manager; Mrs Winifred Akinpelu, ICHSSA 2 Admin Officer; Mr Jimin Sontyo, ICHSSA 2 Director of Strategic Information; Mrs Adenike Onasoga, Head, Supply Chain, Kimberly-Clark Nigeria; Mrs Folusho Adeolu, OVC Desk Officer, Lagos MYSD; Ms Boladale Akin-Kolapo, Chief of Party, DAI-YPE4AH Project; Ms Mieko Mckay USAID Deputy Office Director for Health; Ms Susan Oranye USAID Program Specialist, Private Sector Engagement; Dr Felix Iwuala, Chief of Party, ICHSSA 2, ARFH; Mrs Zainab Obagun Government Relations Manager, Nigeria and East Africa, Kimberly Clark; Ms Faith Lannap, Deputy Chief of Party, ICHSSA 2 Project at the handover of donated Kotex Sanitary pads at Kimberly Clark’s Factory, Ikorodu, Lagos. Photo Credit: USAID funded ICHSSA-2 Project, ARFH
March 2, 2022: As part of Kimberly-Clark’s Corporate Social Responsibility, the company donated 40,000 sanitary pads to USAID and its implementing partners. The historic handover ceremony which occurred within the premises of Kimberly Clark at Ikorodu was well attended by development partners including USAID, ARFH, DAI and other dignitaries.
Kimberly Clark is an American multinational personal care corporation in Nigeria with the vision to provide better care for a better world. In her opening remarks Ms Zainab Obagun, Government Relations Manager, Nigeria and East Africa said that the company has been in existence for more than 140 years across the globe and for close to a decade in Nigeria with good track records. Towards an improved sanitary health in Nigeria, she stated that the donation is under our Kotex Empowerment Program: “She Sabi Kotex School Program”- a program that educates girls on menstrual hygiene and period stigma eradication in schools.
This kind gesture of Kimberly Clark will reach over 6,000 adolescent beneficiaries served by USAID projects across 10 states in Nigeria namely: Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Edo, Kano, Lagos, Niger, and Taraba.
According to UNICEF, roughly half of the female population around 26 per cent of the global population are of reproductive age. Menstruation signifies an important transition to womanhood and it is a natural part of the reproductive cycle which most women experience each month for about two to seven days. Yet, as normal as it is, menstruation is stigmatized around the world. A lack of information and supplies about menstruation leads to damaging misconceptions and discrimination and can cause girls to miss out on normal childhood experiences and activities. Stigma, taboos and myths prevent adolescent girls and boys from the opportunity to learn about menstruation and develop healthy habits.
Also speaking, the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Youth and Social Development ably represented by Mrs Adeolu Folusho, OVC Desk Officer acknowledged the support of Kimberly Clark, USAID and ARFH towards the development of Lagos State. She noted that the donation will impact positively on the lives of the beneficiaries in Lagos State. “Any investment in a girl child is an investment in the nation”.
In her remarks, the USAID Deputy Office Director for Health, Ms Mieko Mckay also commended Kimberly Clark for the generous donation, saying it will improve the wellbeing of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW). “This donation resonates with our private sector engagement strategy which seeks to support countries on their journey to self-reliance” Ms Mckay said.
Reiterating the importance of this collaboration as “monumental and far-reaching in its impact”, Ms Susan Oranye USAID Program Specialist, Private Sector Engagement, hopes for a long-lasting collaboration between Kimberly Clark, USAID, ARFH and other implementing partners. She noted that Lagos State has always been known to provide enabling environment for optimal performance of the public and private sectors.
Delivering his remarks, the Chief of Party, USAID supported ICHSSA 2 project, Dr Felix Iwuala lauded the donation as it is timely and relevant to the overall wellbeing of adolescent girls and women. A situation where the Girl Child and Adolescent girls miss school for about five days per month due to menstrual related challenges, including limited access to hygienic sanitary pads pose great danger to our future. The National Case Management Guidelines provides that no child should miss school for more than two times in a month or six times in a quarter but missing school for 15 days in a term occasioned by menstrual flow will certainly affect the educational development of the girl child.
ARFH is currently implementing the Integrated Child Health and Social Services Award (ICHSSA) Project currently implemented in Eleven (11) LGAs in Lagos State and 13 LGAs in Edo State with support from USAID and is focused on providing HIV-gender sensitive comprehensive health and social services to Vulnerable Children, Adolescents and Caregivers through partnership with local Community Based Organisations. There are over 4,000 adolescents of reproductive age 13-19 currently enrolled as beneficiaries on the project. More than 3,000 of this number are girls. As part of project scope, menstrual education including menstrual hygiene are provided to all adolescent girls through the monthly adolescent girls forum.
L-R: Dr Felix Iwuala, Chief of Party, ICHSSA 2, ARFH receiving the donated Kotex sanitary pads from Mrs Adenike Onasoga, Head, Supply Chain, Kimberly-Clark Nigeria. They were flanked by Ms Mieko Mckay USAID Deputy Office Director for Health; Ms Susan Oranye USAID Program Specialist, Private Sector Engagement; Ms Boladale Akin-Kolapo, Chief of Party, DAI-YPE4AH Project; Ms Faith Lannap, Deputy Chief of Party, ICHSSA 2 Project and Mrs Zainab Obagun Government Relations Manager, Nigeria and East Africa, Kimberly Clark. Picture Credit: USAID funded ICHSSA 2 project, ARFH
Also speaking, Ms Boladale Akin-Kolapo, Chief of Party, DAI-Youth-Powered Ecosystem to Advance Urban Adolescent Health and Well-being (YPE4AH) Project noted that the goal of the YPE4AH is to improve the health and wellbeing of adolescent boys and girls living in urban slums of Lagos and Kano States. We are indeed grateful to Lagos State, USAID and Kimberly Clark as this partnership will go a long way.
Bringing the event to a close, the Head, Supply Chain, Kimberly-Clark Nigeria, Ms Adenike Onasoga emphasised that this kind of strategic partnership is very important to Kimberly Clark, and solicited for continued corporation.
Group picture of USAID, ARFH, DAI and Kimberly Clark with the cartoons of donated Kotex sanitary pads. Picture Credit: USAID funded ICHSSA 2 project, ARFH
Immediately after the donation, the team went on a guided tour of the state-of-the-art factory before departure.