Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with a population of 171 million, including 40 million children. It is also the continent’s largest economy and has achieved strong economic growth rates in recent years. There have been some improvements in the situation of children and women in recent years, but a lot still remains to be done.[1]

Over half the population live in poverty. Tens of millions of people still lack access to clean water and proper sanitation, despite some progress. Primary school enrollment and attendance are improving, but there are wide disparities, with attendance lowest in the North, in rural areas and among the poorest. Nigeria has 10.5 million out-of-school children - the world’s highest number. Girls’ primary school attendance has been improving, but this has not been the case for girls from the poorest

UNICEF contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria with a mandate to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. The WinS4Girls project aimed to raise awareness among stakeholders and advocate to decision-makers for MHM in schools.

Quick Facts
Percentage of schools with:
Basic drinking water
Basic sanitation or toilets
Of which single sex toilets

Literacy rate for youth (15 - 24 years old) 66
Primary education completion rate 72
Secondary education completion rate 44
Gender parity rate in secondary schools competition (number of females to male) 0.64


Global Education Monitoring Report, Education for People and Planet: Creating Sustainable Solutions for All. UNESCO, 2016. Paris, FR.


  • Emory University.
  • Federal Ministry of Education.


Under WinS4Girls, UNICEF worked with ministries of education and other partners at national level (typically through MHM Working Groups) to develop and promote a MHM intervention package informed by the WinS4Girls formative research.

Depending on the country, the intervention packages have taken different forms in response to the diverse needs expressed by girls, their teachers, and their families during the research. For example, they may include national or sub-national policies and guidelines; learning and communication materials; and training modules for teachers, health workers, and peer educators. In some cases, the package has included infrastructure development and pad production or distribution.

The package includes the following:

  • Advocacy materials:
    • 2016 MHM Day celebration infographic and facts that emerged from the MHM research in Nigeria.
    • Document that highlights actions that different levels of Government should take to enhance effective MHM in schools and public places.
    • Materials to enhance community support on MHM explaining the basic facts of menstrual hygiene management and the expected roles of parents/guardians, community leaders, and religious leaders.
  • Brochure to help young girls and women in general prepare and manage their menstruation in a healthy way by answering frequently asked questions.
  • Puberty book for teachers to use with their learners.
  • Reusable pads that are developed by trained women and girls in the community in partnership with a local non-governmental organization.


Tools were adapted to the Nigerian country context by the team during a training conducted for the research assistants. The questionnaires were designed to explore the challenges that girls face and identify their needs at school and in dormitories. Views were sought from girls themselves, their peers, parents, school administrators and teachers.

Visit the Resources Section to download the implementation package