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African CleanUp Initiative unveils “Bottles for Pad, Bottles for Diaper” project

The Africa Cleanup Initiative (ACI), an NGO, on Thursday, unveiled the “Bottles for Pad, Bottles for Diaper” project
to support girls and women in low income communities in Lagos.

Mr Alex Akhigbe, the Team Lead of ACI, said that the programme was initiated to proffer solution to the problem girls and women face, as they struggle through their monthly menstrual cycle, especially those who cannot afford sanitary pad.

Akhigbe said “today is a remarkable day for us in ACI because this project is our own way of providing solution or help to issues that affect girls and women in low income communities.

“For us, this project is the outcome of what we have seen in some communities we have been working with for close to 10 years.

“Two years ago, we launched `Recircle Pay School” project that allows parents to pay the school fees of their children with recycle waste and we discovered that some parents have issues with pads and diapers.

“When records came out that Nigeria has the highest out-of-school children of 10.5 million about two years ago, 60 per cent of that number girls.

“So, we came up with this innovative solution to solve period poverty, which is one of the factors that keeps some girls out of school.”

He explained that instead of looking for money to buy pad or diaper, women and girls could bring a certain number of pet bottles in exchange for pads or diapers.

According to Ahkigbe, the organisation’s target is to give out 5000 reusasble and disposable pads.

He added that plans were also on to extend the programme to other parts of the country so that more girls and women could benefit.

He explained that “Our goal is to ensure that we give out 5000 sanitary pads in exchange for recycled waste or even exceed our target in one year.

“We are hoping to take this programme to different low income communities in Nigeria to expand the reach.

“This is also our own way of providing eco-solution through waste value exchange.”

He, however, called for coordinated effort to address the issue of menstrual hygiene among indigent women and girls in the country.

“We should always look at issues that affect the girl-child because in every society, there is an association, local and state government
before we talk about the Federal Government.

“So, it all boils down to what we place priority on, allocations come to the local government but if our priorities are not right, no matter
what we do, it won’t proffer solution to the pressing issues women and girls face.”

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