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UNFPA partners with ITOCHU to empower women, girls

Addis Ababa, March 12, 2024 (FBC) – UNFPA Ethiopia in partnership with ITOCHU Corporation, a leading Japanese company, announced a project aimed at empowering women and girls through menstrual health, hygiene and livelihood promotion.

Through this innovative collaboration, ITOCHU Corporation commits to contribute a portion of its sales revenue to UNFPA, supporting the implementation of a project on women’s and girls’ empowerment.

This project runs in tandem with ITOCHU Corporation’s technical support to produce high-quality reusable sanitary pads and absorbent sanitary shorts in Ethiopia, it was learned.

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia Shibata Hironori said that women’s empowerment is one of the highest priority issues guiding the Government of Japan and its development cooperation.

“To realize women’s empowerment, a co-creation environment is critical among governments, international organizations, and private sectors. I strongly hope that this project will become one of the model cases where different sectors work together towards a common goal,” Ambassador Hironori stressed.

ITOCHU Corporation Commercial Representative General Manager, Shinoda Akiko said that Itochu Corporation is dedicated to improving period poverty in Ethiopia by focusing on educating about menstrual health and conducting training in sewing absorbent sanitary shorts and reusable sanitary pads.

“In collaboration with UNFPA, we aim to disseminate knowledge about menstrual health and hygiene while building skills through sewing training to improve livelihood,” she added.

UNFPA Representative, Koffi Kouame said on his part that menstrual health and hygiene management are fundamental yet often overlooked aspects of women’s and girls’ well-being globally.

Insufficient access to menstrual health resources can impede educational opportunities, community engagement, safety, psychosocial health, and livelihood activities, he stated.

“This innovative collaboration with ITOCHU Corporation will significantly contribute to changing women’s and girls’ lives by improving their menstrual health and hygiene,and livelihood.”

According to him, the partnership with ITOCHU is critical for UNFPA to realizing its vision a world where every young person is empowered with knowledge and skills to safeguard their well-being and make informed decisions.

Empowering women and girls through income-generating activities centered on sewing reusable sanitary products and providing essential business skills training, raising awareness on menstrual health, hygiene, family planning, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and fostering community empowerment by equipping peer educators to effectively disseminate health information alongside training sessions for sewing skills are among the major objectives of the project, it was learned.

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