Ethiopia | 2022 | CERF
Ethiopia, Gondar, Amhara Region. “I can’t afford to buy sanitary pads. If I get some income, it’s for my son. [This] 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, 25, was displaced after hostilities and inter-communal 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.
Emebet is among the 1,000 women who received UNFPA Dignity kits, whose distribution was funded with CERF support.
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.
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.
“Ensuring that women and girls can easily receive critical information on their rights and choices is a crucial part of UNFPA’s work during an emergency. Dignity Kit distributions are an entry point to access services on sexual and reproductive health as well as gender-based violence prevention, risk mitigation, and response services,” explains Fathema Sultana, UNFPA Gender-Based Violence Specialist.
“All the contents in the backpack are things that women need,” says Emebet.
Original story, published here (UNFPA.org)