Despite several fundamental shifts towards a global society that is firmly grounded in the principle of equality, gender-based disparities continue to undermine the human rights of girls and women. Nowhere is this imbalance more evident than in the harsh realities of ‘period poverty’ and the urgent need to address issues of adolescent health and menstrual hygiene education. In a bid to make a positive contribution towards this important cause, Kotex® has announced the launch of a Stay YOUnique School Programme ahead of 11 October – The International Day of the Girl Child (IDGC).
For Kotex® Marketing Manager, Caitlin Meredith, taking up this mantle as a brand has been a vital part of achieving its vision to make a long-lasting and far-reaching impact as a responsible corporate citizen. The theme for this year’s IDG, as determined by UNICEF, is ‘Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.’ And, as Meredith asserts, access to menstrual hygiene products and IDGC are human rights that are critical to the well-being and development of young girls.
“We’re on a mission to ensure that no period ever gets in the way of any woman’s progress. To do that, we need to push for early-age interventions that can empower young girls to understand and respect their bodies. During these formative years, we need to lay a foundation based on the building blocks of self-esteem, self-confidence and relentless self-belief. With these mental and emotional tools, young girls can do absolutely anything,” she adds.
Towards Access and Education: about the Programme
The Kotex® School Programme will start rolling out in schools in the Gauteng region where it will be targeting young girls in grades 6 and 7. The Programme will take a multi-pronged approach to breaking down barriers such as gender discrimination, lack of equal opportunity, lack of representation, the lack of education (on menstrual health and overall), period stigmas and lack of access to sanitary products.
Kotex® representatives, accompanied by renowned health advocate, digital creator and Kotex® Brand Ambassador, Dr Nosipho Danielle Mhlanga will attend school visits and lead conversations that align with the National Health Education curriculum. During these information sessions, Dr Mhlanga will deliver well-structured, age-appropriate menstrual health education that will equip girls with the tools and knowledge they need to manage their periods.
By engaging with parents, teachers, local community leaders and healthcare professionals, the Programme aims to enable a supportive and nurturing environment for learners. Through this Programme, Kotex® therefore hopes to spark larger conversations within families and communities, giving young girls a voice with which to challenge stereotypes and stigmas around menstrual hygiene. The Programme will also see learners at participating schools receiving free Kotex sanitary product packs.
Following the school visits, Dr Mhlanga will continue to publish digital resources in the form of interactive question-and-answer sessions, tutorials, engaging video content and practical tips on her platforms as well as Kotex®’s dedicated webpage for young girls and parents.
As Dr Mhlanga concludes: “the Kotex® Stay YOUnique School Programme promises to change the lives of countless young learners. I believe that knowledge is power, and through this campaign, I can impart the knowledge I have by engaging, educating, and empowering girls be to more confident versions of themselves. Drives such as these are absolutely vital in the achievement of broader objectives such as social upliftment and community building. These are stepping stones to even greater things, and I look forward to meeting the young girls who may one day become the mothers, professionals, leaders, educators and entrepreneurs who will help shape our collective future.”