#COVIDPositiveStories – Folasade Bamisaye

Folasade Bamisaye is the founder and Senior Operating Officer of My Period Kit – A Social Enterprise Organization offering critical menstrual health services and products to the last-mile rural women and girls. This is her #COVIDPositiveStory;


Our #COVID19 project is a project within our core project and it started as a direct response to the problem of disrupted/interrupted access to menstrual products and services by girls due to the Covid-19 inspired lockdown. Being a Chivas Venture social enterprise alumnus, I have been mentally engineered to think towards my community especially in critical times like this; and also, building a social enterprise around the last-mile community, I got myself and my team inspired to roll out this response as a special project for rural girls within the communities of Akure in Ondo State, Nigeria. 


COVID-19 is not only a challenge for global health systems but also a test of our human spirit.  Having been a girl who passed through the first-hand experience of not having access to menstrual/sanitary products and services; an experience that led to the setup of My Period Kit as an organization, I dedicate my passion in contributing towards solving this problem by mobilizing rural girls and women towards home designed eco-friendly and sustainable solution. 


This inspired us to start this project, sensitizing our target or key populations in these communities through a community networked peer-educator and service-based/Mobile team, we provide access to freely donated sanitary pads and menstrual health/hygiene essentials providing for last-mile rural girls and women that are closest to the poverty realms in the state during the lockdown period especially those who have been coping with the harmful practices that stigmatize menstruation/period flow for girls. 


Victoria Adekunle, a rural market woman and mother of three girls 12, 15 and 18 years respectively, whose economic activities have been brought to a painful halt due to the lockdown tells us how our timely intervention during this period have saved her household from extreme challenges whose impact poses more threat to her girls than that of lack of food. 


Through our menstrual palliative kits, they have been able to adequately attend to their biological monthly flow challenges and can now channel their meagre savings/resources towards getting other essential household items/foods to help them stay safe and stay indoors as part of the directives towards breaking the cycle of the virus transmission.

This project will be sustained as we already have a major project line that is focused on a community production of GreenPads using key raw materials extracted from banana/plantain stem fibres processed into highly Eco-friendly biodegradable sanitary pads, and this will be produced by gainfully engaging the rural women and girls in the economic production processes and supply chain of the produced/finished sanitary pads. 


What has this Project taught me?


This project involvement has taught me that nothing is impossible especially when it is a passion for a well laid out vision involving meeting the critical needs of a key population/community. All I need to do is take the first step and things will always fall in place especially when I mobilize others to become part of my team. I have also come to appreciate the gains and beauty of having access to the right sets of mentors especially in the area of social enterprise and public health projects and programs. This has helped me a lot in designing this project in a critical time like this.


This project has further shown to me that there is a huge gap between the government and the people who to be attended to especially in a distressing time like that of #Covid19, so essential resources can easily and speedily be distributed to those who critically and really need it in a time like this when supply chain systems are interrupted due to lockdown.


I have also realized that these key populations, targeted and vulnerable groups of ours do not also get information on public health issues as quickly as those in urban communities who may have steady access to the world of social and digital media; yet there are a lot of assumptions that everyone is cognizant of the reality on the ground and how to obey. The fact remains, there are so many misleading theories and myths hovering around these key populations and communities; and there is a need to regularly challenge those myths with proper sensitization, public community education, and information that they can easily relate with. That way we’re able to have better compliance from the communities we touched.


I advise my fellow youths to start counting themselves as the solution or at least, the solution means for that particular community problem that has been challenging their communities; the team with others that have the same passion and vision, and start working towards creating a solution that will make an impact. In the course of doing this, help will surely come your way to assist in amplifying the work you are doing and increase the impact you are making.