A groundbreaking initiative in the form of a drama series on menstrual health and hygiene debuts Thursday August 31 on Radio Nigeria Bond 92.9 FM.
Titled: “My Period, My Pride”, the series was conceptualised by a multiple award winning broadcaster, journalist, author and foremost social campaigner, Anike-Ade Funke Treasure.
According to the multi-talented promoter, the initiative is an advocacy tool to demand free sanitary pads for school girls from the Nigerian governments across all levels.
“The drama series mirrors the challenges of the girl child as she struggles with education in the face of period poverty. It is a distillation of conversations and stories about menstruation as experienced by many families.”, she added.
“Drama is presently not prominent in the menu of many radio stations in Nigeria, so this is both content and advocacy. We are therefore particularly grateful to the McArthur Foundation Africa office in Nigeria, under the leadership of Dr. Kole Shettima for supporting our work in the menstrual hygiene sector and giving impetus to our media campaign”.
According to the Senior Programme Officer, McArthur Foundation, Africa, Dr. Amina Salihu, “Period poverty is an equity, human rights and socio economic problem. Society and the state loose because we are not able to understand the socio economic dimensions. She states that “period poverty is a form of gender based violence and until policy makers recognise it as such we won’t be able to shift the needle in terms of the right kind of policies and laws.
A veteran broadcaster, Mr. Ogie Eboigbe states that, “With radio you can be sure to reach more people, because even the mobile phones all have FM radios while drivers and owners of cars as well as passengers are sure to hear and get the message”.
Funke Treasure particularly asserts that “the drama series is coming at a time Nigerian citizens are grappling with the effects of subsidy removal on family budgets and household needs.”
Renowned agro-economy expert and former Vice Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Prof. Sidi Osho, who chairs the Board of Illuminate Nigeria Development Network (INDN) under which the SPMC runs states that: “The series would emphasise for the girl child many important issues that they should know about, especially, their physiology as females. It would bring to bear the importance of hygiene in menstruation, emphasise the knowledge about evolution of eggs during menstruation to reduce the number of out of school children that get pregnant.
She says further that, “It will showcase the role that caregivers and mothers play in explaining more about sex education to their wards especially for social growth. We hope that the series would stimulate policy makers, private sector, and industries to support this vision, by giving sanitary towels to girls through this campaign.
The 13-week drama series captures the first menstruation, menstrual cramps, anxiety over continued education due to period poverty, menstrual hygiene talk, the effects of corporate and government intervention on schooling through donation of menstrual items to school girls, the empowerment of women, child abuse and exploitation, the significance of scholarship to indigent students.
The promoter of the forthcoming radio soap, Funke Treasure is a veteran, multi-genre broadcaster, who retired from Radio Nigeria as an Assistant Director, Programmes.
Funke Treasure says, “in Africa, radio has always had the power to shape audiences and publics. It is a powerful tool in engaging multiple publics at the same time.”
Said she: “We chose the medium of radio because it is a more dialogical and participatory medium. It has huge affective power and the ability to shift subjectivities. It has been proven repeatedly that difficult and awkward personal and social situations can be covered far more directly and honestly in drama than one can in factual programmes.”
Season One of the drama series, sub titled ‘Efe’ would air on seven radio stations in five states and the FCT. In a press statement by Funke Treasure who is also the Convener of the Sanitary Pad Media Campaign and Executive Producer of the series,
The radio stations on the project, which starts with Bond FM 92.9FM Lagos on Thursday, 31st August at 12.15pm are Invicta 98.9FM, Kaduna, Darling 107.3FM Owerri, Hit 95.9FM Calabar, Splash 105.5FM Ibadan, Radio Now 95.3FM Lagos and Human Rights Radio 101.1FM Abuja.
We hope that the story of Efe, a school girl, and her friends, which highlights some of the diverse challenges of the girl child would promote period-centered conversations in public spaces so that Nigeria would inch closer to creating a policy around free pads for school girls.”
The Sanitary Pad Media Campaign has three other expressions designed to advocate for a policy action by federal and state governments in Nigeria on period poverty among under-served populations. These include a pad scholarship for school aged girls which now has more than 2,000 girls in twelve states of Nigeria namely Lagos, Kano, Oyo, Kaduna, Ogun, Kwara and Benue States. Others include Delta, Ondo, Nassarawa, Bauchi, and Taraba. The scholarship provides menstrual pads, underwears, beverage, soap and sanitisers to the girls monthly, as incentives to remain in school.
Other expressions include an essay competition for girls, an audio and video podcast, and two petitions on change.org