Wednesday, September 28, 2022
No menu items!
Homeethiopian newsEthiopia: More Than 78,000 Displaced Women and Girls Assisted With UNFPA Dignity...

Ethiopia: More Than 78,000 Displaced Women and Girls Assisted With UNFPA Dignity Kits Across Northern Ethiopia

Gondar, Amhara Region — “I can’t afford to buy sanitary pads. If I get some income, it’s for my son. It means a lot to me after losing everything,” says Emebet Mengessha who lives with her 7-month-old son, Bereket, in an informal settlement in Nifas-mewucha woreda, South Gondar zone of Amhara region.

Emebet, a 25-year-old mother, was displaced after hostilities and intercommunal violence broke out in her town, Arisiginele, in Oromia region. Since 2021, violence has intensified in the Oromia region prompting the forced displacement of more than 500,000 people within the region and into the Amhara region.

“Our house was burnt to the ground and our livestock looted. I lost everything in the blink of an eye,” Emebet recounts. “I have no income and live off the support I receive from the community and some relatives,” she adds dejectedly.

Emebet is among the 1,000 women who received the UNFPA Dignity kit at the distribution site in Nifas-mewucha.

In 2022, the Amhara region has been affected by the spillover of conflict from the Tigray region, inter-ethnic conflict in the Oromo zone of the region, drought, floods, desert locust infestation, and disease outbreaks. The region is also home to more than 8,000 Eritrean refugees who have voluntarily relocated from camps in Tigray Region to IDP sites in North Gondar, Amhara Region.

Menstrual Hygiene management during displacement

James Okara, the UNFPA Humanitarian Response Coordinator in Ethiopia said, “In any emergency, sexual and reproductive health and rights are often the most neglected of basic needs. When people are displaced, they carry only what is most essential. Sanitary items are usually not considered essential and are often left behind.”

The lack of menstrual health supplies restricts mobility and personal choices. It affects attendance in school and participation in community life. And it can compromise access to support services during a crisis, causing additional stress and anxiety.

“I dropped out of school the first time I saw my period. As I didn’t have sanitary pads, I didn’t feel confident going out. I didn’t want to feel embarrassed,” recalls Samrawit, 12. She was displaced as a result of the spill-over of conflict in the areas of the Amhara region bordering the Tigray Region. She is currently living in Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara region.

Dignity Kits as part of a broader menstrual health and hygiene intervention can help overcome these obstacles. Not only do they fulfill the unmet demand for menstrual hygiene products; but they also restore dignity, build confidence, and strengthen sexual and reproductive health, particularly among adolescents.

Dignity Kits go hand-in-hand with health education and awareness raising where women and girls learn about the services available to uphold their rights and choices.