UNFPA project empowering adolescent girls with livelihood skills in Kaduna

 Some adolescent girls in Rigasa community, Kaduna, say the UN
Population Fund (UNFPA) Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) project is
empowering them with livelihood skills.

Some the beneficiaries the project said in separate interviews with the News Agency Nigeria (NAN)
in Kaduna on Tuesday that the initiative had made them self-reliant.

One them, 18-year-old secondary school student, Fatima Abdullahi, said she had learned how to sew
throw pillows, bed sheets and reusable sanitary pad.

Fatima, who is aspiring to be a Microbiologist, said that the tailoring skill would make her self-reliant and
enable her to earn money to take care her basic needs.

Another beneficiary, Asma’u Mohammed, also 18, said she was three months into the training making caps,
throw pillows, hijab, bed sheets and reusable pad to earn money.

She added that “so far, I have mastered how to make reusable pad and bed sheets. In fact, I have sold three already.

“I am so excited because this is the first time I am making my own money and I do not have to ask my parents for
money to take care some basic needs.

“It actually feels very good to have a vocation and be self-reliant.

Also, Aisha Mohammed, 19, told NAN that before she learnt how to make reusable pad, life was difficult because
normal sanitary pad was expensive and beyond her reach most times.

Aisha explained that she used pieces clothe whenever she did not have money to buy normal pad for
her monthly menstrual period.

She added that “I started thinking how to raise money to buy pad for my menstrual period and other needs. This is psychologically and emotionally disturbing.

“I asked my boyfriend once and he gave me N500 to buy pad but asking him for money whenever I am on my period makes me vulnerable.

“So, I had no choice but resort to using pieces clothe as uncomfortable as it is.”

The visibly excited Aisha, however, said that she felt secured with the disposable pad because she could use it for six months.

This, according to her, has removed the emotional trauma she experiences whenever it is that time the month.

Mr Yusha’u Abubakar, the Founder and Executive Director, Enhancing Communities Action for Peace and Better Health Initiative (E-CAPH), said the project was implemented in the community in collaboration with UNFPA.

Abubakar noted the problem adolescent girls’ access to reproductive health services and information around their communities.

This, according to him, has been a serious challenge in Rigasa community because the poverty.

“Adolescent girls are struggling to survive and depend on their parents and boyfriends for money to cater for their basic needs like sanitary pad for menstruation.

“A lot young girls were being raped and engage in sexual activities with their boyfriends just to be able to get sanitary pad.

“With the support UNFPA, we have been able to train 200 girls on making reusable sanitary pad and now we are training them on how to make throw pillows, bed sheets, hijabs and caps, among others.

“The initiative is significantly helping adolescent girls in urban slums like Rigasa to be self-reliant and take care their menstruation hygiene,” he said.

On her part, Ms Mariana Darboe, the Programme Coordinator and Head Office, UNFPA Decentralised Office for Northern Nigeria, explained that the skill acquisition training was part the fund’s livelihood support.

Darboe said that the training was a COVID-19 response to alleviate poverty in communities, under the RCCE project of the UN Basket Fund support for COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

“The RCCE initiative is aimed at ensuring that risk and impact of gender-based violence and interconnecting sexual and reproductive health consequences are mitigated and minimised,” she said.(NAN)