Combatting Period Poverty whilst Advancing Sustainability - Ayomide's Changemaker Journey

Ayomide Akran, An Ashoka Young Changemaker (2022)
Source: Ayomide Akran

Ayomide Akran is a 13-year-old changemaker dedicated to sustainable environment and gender equality in Nigeria. She is committed to combatting ‘period poverty’ and improving the recycling system in Nigeria by providing sustainable reusable pads for young girls. Ayomide believes that with the right empowerment, these girls can better thrive and live up their full potential in a rapidly changing world. 

Finding Her Spark

Ayomide’s changemaker journey started when she volunteered for her mother’s organization. She helped distribute clothes to people and loved interacting with the children. Witnessing the hardships these children went through made Ayomide commit to creating social impact. “This is something I actually need to work on”.  

In elementary school, Ayomide noticed the issue of information access when her classmate suddenly started her menstrual cycle. The young girl did not understand the cause of her bleeding. Upon realizing, the girl wished she was a boy, not wanting to deal with the commitments involved with a monthly cycle. 

In Africa, some teenage girls seldom receive accurate information surrounding menstrual hygiene. In addition, girls in rural areas often do not have the financial ability to afford quality sanitary products. As a result, some of these girls end up with the information that threatens their wellbeing. Alternatively, they may be unable to afford quality products, forcing them to settle for substandard alternatives.   

Pink Diva Organization 

Seeing that mothers were not comfortable with having to explain periods, Ayomide built a team and created a platform and safe space to talk about and advocate for mindset shift around these issues. 

Founded in 2020, Pink Diva Organization is a youth-led and youth-focused group that aims to support undeserved girls by distributing free menstrual pads and teaching them about good menstrual hygiene.  

With the support of her parents as allies, she began to recruit young girls as volunteers, leveraging her own experience as a volunteer for other organizations.  

“Starting to take action made me feel powerful, confident and brave – it made me grow” - Ayomide Akran 

The organization offers self-esteem coaching to girls in underserved communities, helping them develop a positive mindset amidst challenges, and established ‘Pink Diva Talks’, an initiative where young girls come together to discuss and raise awareness around menstrual hygiene.  

The Pink Diva Organization also reduces plastic and bottle waste in Nigeria by teaching young girls to collect and trade in bottles and plastics. Ayomide has created a sustainable way for these young girls to become self-reliant. They are no longer dependent on Ayomide’s organization or team, and have the ability to use the money generated to buy hygiene products.  

As an eco-friendly organization, the Pink Diva Organization is currently training girls in underserved communities to make reusable pads – ones that can last for years - using sustainable materials. This cuts the number of disposable pads used and is also a sustainable alternative for girls from low-income households.  

Ayomide’s changemaking journey is not without challenges. She recounts one of the worst pieces of advice she’s received is that “you are too young to do what you do”. Nonetheless, Ayomide continues to use her voice to create a positive impact. The Pink Diva Organization has dedicated team members and partners and collaborates with other organizations to increase their reach and deepen their impact. 

“We can advance an Everyone a Changemaker World through collaboration, meeting new people and using your voice at the right time and place” - Ayomide Akran 

Ayomide believes that an Everyone a Changemaker World is one that is very successful. “Everybody would contribute with the little they can to make the world a better place”. She remains committed to creating a more inclusive space for everyone to live in.