SWEDEN (News release) -- Essity and UNICEF in Mexico have signed a new three-year agreement to jointly educate and drive awareness of the importance of good hand hygiene and to break taboos around menstruation. The project, "Hygiene is our right", highlights the rights of children and young people in relation to health, education and gender equality.
According to UNICEF*, 43% of girls and adolescents in Mexico point out that during their period they prefer to stay at home than go to school. The shortage of water and poor hygiene facilities in schools may contribute to higher absenteeism and weaker school results. In addition, the general knowledge of menstruation is considered low, where the need of education, discussion and support is deemed necessary to prevent discrimination and improve women's rights.
Essity and its feminine care brand in Mexico, Saba, have collaborated with UNICEF in Mexico since 2016 to increase dialogue about menstruation and hygiene issues among young people in the country, reaching 7.5 million people. In 2019, the partnership expanded into "Hygiene is our Right", encompassing Essity's Tork brand with the aim to educate pupils and teachers in Mexico City about the importance of good hand hygiene, breaking taboos around menstruation and strengthening standards and guidelines to support good hygiene and health in schools. As part of the program, Saba have also launched a period tracker app for girls to promote menstrual hygiene. Since 2019 an additional 200 000 people, including 42,000 pupils and nearly 3,200 teachers all over Mexico have benefited from the partnership.
"I have seen with my own eyes how Hygiene is our right has contributed to breaking taboos surrounding menstruation by involving both boys and girls in conversations around periods and engaging local municipalities in the improvement of hand hygiene facilities. By extending our partnership with UNICEF for another three years, we are set to increase well-being and equality among children and young people in Mexico even further", says Joséphine Edwall Björklund, Senior Vice President, Communications at Essity.
* Study of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices on Water (CAP), Sanitation and Hygiene in elementary and secondary schools of the states of Chihuahua, Guerrero, Chiapas and Oaxaca.