Dignity kits for women and girls affected by conflict in northern Ethiopia

August 11, 2022
© UNFPA Ethiopia/Paula Seijo

Across northern Ethiopia, months of conflict have caused a shortage of hygiene supplies, with widespread health consequences. Amid growing needs, UNDP partnered with UNFPA to ensure that more than 17,500 dignity kits have been sent to improve the situation of women and girls across the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions. 

9.4 million people are in need of humanitarian aid across the three conflict-affected regions in northern Ethiopia. Among those internally displaced, more than half are women and girls of reproductive age, and their needs are high for health and hygiene products, and protection from gender-based violence. 

“As a person living with a disability, I have encountered many challenges in trying to access dignity products for my personal hygiene,” says Fatoumata Mehari, affected by the conflict in the Afar region, is one of the women who has received a dignity kit. “I was not able to move anywhere. We were isolated. Some materials were a luxury amid the crisis.” 

The dignity kits offer basic hygiene necessities like soap, detergent bars, and menstrual hygiene supplies such as sanitary napkins and basic clothing for women and girls. They include a whistle and torch to reduce the risk of sexual assault or abuse at night, at the camps for the displaced.  

“I couldn’t go out of my tent during my period as I didn’t have other clothes to change into. The dignity kit has helped restore my mobility and dignity, and also prevented my baby from getting scabies,” says Tiemti Adugna, a 24-year-old mother of two, at a camp for internally displaced people on the outskirts of Mekelle, Tigray region.

“On this project, we worked with our sister agency, UNFPA, to deliver coherent, effective, efficient and much-needed support to conflict-affected women and girls in northern Ethiopia, helping them to reclaim their dignity through access to essential supplies, and maintain proper hygiene, even in adverse conditions,” says Dr. Cleophas Torori, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative. 

* Article taken from UNFPA story on the dignity kit handover.