After our appearances on selected TV stations and collaborations with GHOneTV in particular, we were sponsors and stakeholders at a live forum on the 19th April, 2018. The Osu Presby Hall in Accra saw the gathering of members of the both public and private sector, students, representants of the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, Food and Drugs Association, selected dignitaries, cultural tribal leaders, traditional council members, Members of Parliament, UNICEF, Marie Stopes and members of public watchdog and pressure groups.
The purpose of the live forum was to address the issues surrounding the most basic of female bodily functions, the menses. In collaboration with GHOneTV, the nationwide campaign was launched titled “ De-mystifying Taboos Surrounding Menstruation “ and championed with the hashtag #periodnotshame.
The program kicked off with an initial rousing speech by GHOneTV news anchor Nana Aba Anamoah followed by the Fay International Ltd Managing Director, Jeanine Hage-Ali. She stressed on the importance of girls and women not to be ashamed of their menstrual cycle and to own the process. Her empowering speech was focussed on girls and women accepting their power as life givers and that their role in society is a crucial one. The preservation of health and life is paramount to the enhancement of our society and country as a whole. She mentioned the vision and legacy of the founder of Fay International Ltd, Mrs. Sara Galloway Hage-Ali. “The company was established on the core principles of establishing the platform for all girls and women in Ghana to have access to safe, healthy and affordable sanitary pads.”
She stressed that due to the relatively high rate of girls dropping out of school or losing out on a full education due to a lack of sanitary pads when they have their menses, Faytex products were to be made accessible throughout the country. She called on the government of Ghana to partner with Fay International Ltd to be able to provide this end result. “There is no reason as to why these young women should be left in fear of their time of the month, to be ashamed or to have their dignity taken away from them due to a menstrual cycle. With Faytex, we are a Made in Ghana product and the supply chain for nationwide distribution is unsurpassed and constant. Lets really come together and make a difference which will so greatly impact the lives of these women.”
As the program ensued, moderated by GHOneTV presenter Keminni Amanor, invited guests who made up the panel were invited to champion the cause and those who were representing the government took on the mantle to lobby for the lowering of taxes of domestic manufacturers and more stringent regulations on the quality of imports.
There was a highlight on the low standard of imported sanitary pads on the market and the exploitation of those in disadvantaged communities by the importers. Re-usable sanitary pads were also put under the spotlight. Medical experts debunked the efficiency of those products in Ghana stating that in an ideal environment, reusable sanitary pads may be suitable but with our daily challenging conditions of having a lack of access to clean water in most rural communities and a lack of constant electricity or even cases where an iron or sunlight during the rainy season need to be taken into consideration, the re-usable sanitary pad is a step backwards. According to the doctors and representants of the Ghana Health Service, to properly ensure that the reusable sanitary pad is clean and not harvesting bacteria that may cause infections, all these conditions must be met otherwise we will with all good intentions, be creating a more hostile condition for our bodies.
The award winning journalist, Alice Aryeetey, spearheaded the #periodnotshame nationwide campaign under the GHOneTV banner alongside Faytex.
Her documentary and expose really brought to the mainstream attention the plight of so many girls and women who face not only the problem of accessibility to safe sanitary pads but also the stigma and taboos of a woman who is in her menstrual cycle. The clear reason of this was due to a lack of understanding by their peers.
The education campaign was born by Faytex to educate the communities on firstly the means of identifying safe organic sanitary pads, their subsequent application and disposal, how to ensure bodily hygiene and an important focus on keeping the environment clean. “We, at Fay International Ltd, are committed not only to the health of our girls and women but also feel our environmental footprint must be as small as possible to ensure good governance of our country natural aspect.”
In conclusion, the forum was a success in exposing the challenges we face as a nation and especially these young women. The young men present were also called upon to support their female counterparts during the moments when they are on their menses. To not contribute in the shaming culture but rather to be helpers in breaking down the taboos. To understand the natural bodily processes and to ensure that they are available for support if called upon.
With Faytex, the service unto others is considered the greatest gift to humankind.