WINDHOEK, June 12 — Hundreds of school going girls in Namibia have benefited from a sanitary project aiming to create equal opportunities for girls to excel in school.
Namibia is campaigning for the provision of free sanitary pads to needy school going girls, especially those from rural areas.
According to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, only 17 percent of girls living in rural areas have access to sanitary services.
Besides missing out on school, girls are often forced to use harmful alternatives such as t-shirts, leaves, mud and toilet paper.
My Period is Awesome Project manager Tartiana Shikwa said they have so far assisted about 600 girls from five schools in Namibia’s capital Windhoek.
“When girls cannot go to school, get work or take part in daily life on equal terms, it means reduced representation of women in society,” said the manager.
“Equal education is a fundamental human right and essential for the exercise of all human rights. It promotes individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits,” Shikwa said.
Under the project, the girls not only receive menstrual cups but they also receive hygiene training.
“Giving women and girls the right conditions to manage their menstruation is giving them possibilities to get education and better chances for success in life,” she said.
Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hansa-Himarwa said that the struggle to afford sanitary protection was a reality among low income families.
The minister said that studies have shown that if a girl is provided with sanitary towels, her chances of staying in school are 30-50 percent higher.
“Although not widely reported, this problem can impact negatively on a girl’s confidence and concentration levels at school and even drop out all together,” Hansa-Himarwa said. – XINHUA