South Africa implements free sanitary pads for schoolgirls project

Farida Dawkins Mar 26, 2018 at 08:10am

March 26, 2018 at 08:10 am | Women

Farida Dawkins

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

March 26, 2018 at 08:10 am | Women

The province of KwaZulu-Natal in the capital city of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa has issued sanitary napkins to menstruating girls to boost their class attendance.  The package reads “championing quality education, creating and securing a brighter future.”

An image of the government-sponsored sanitary napkins went viral February 2017.

“Each learner will receive a pack each month, either from the school principal or a school-based official,” a school circular explained in 2017 according to eNCA.

Other African nations such as Botswana and Kenya have initiated the idea of such programs but have yet to implement permanent programs.

Test trials in which pads were dispersed and/or students were given lessons on puberty –  have been conducted by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a project called “Menstruation and the Cycle of Poverty,” in collaboration with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London in Ghana and the Kumali district of Uganda.

Menstruation is often a taboo subject in many African countries.  Lack of access to hygienic products to absorb periods combined with stigma can cause girls to miss out on a substantial amount of schooling.

According to UNESCO, one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their period while others lose 20 percent of their education making them more likely to drop out of school.

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