A local girl rights advocacy organization, Shamwari Yemwanasikana (SYS) has urged the government to fight period poverty by expanding the free sanitary wear facility to every girl child across the county.
In a statement, SYS expressed concern that despite the introduction of free sanitary wear to all schoolgirls, the situation had not changed.
“Many girls do not have access to sanitary wear. The government has proposed the expansion of the free sanitary wear initiative, however, there are issues with the implementation of the free sanitary wear initiative. Not every girl has benefited from the initiative, therefore, how do we expand an initiative that has not benefited the beneficiaries,” the organization said.
SYS called for accountability from those administering the initiative to ensure full implementation which will, in turn, benefit more girls.
“As the talk of the fourth wave hits us, issues of lack of sanitary wear and access to education affect the girl child, we hope with the proposed budget measures will be put in place that ensure that the primary beneficiaries benefit. We commend government efforts and hope that there will be full implementation and accountability,” said SYS.
The organization urged the government to ensure that every student has access to free and affordable data that ensures access to education even for those remote parts of the country.
“We applaud the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe on their continued efforts in ensuring that the needs of the girl child that ensure that her rights are fulfilled are made provision for in the National Budget,” SYS added.
Poverty stretches beyond lack of food and water, as period poverty is one of the biggest challenges Zimbabwean women face. With more than three million girls in Zimbabwe menstruating, there is high demand for feminine products.
Those most likely to experience period poverty in Zimbabwe are underprivileged girls whose parents or guardians cannot afford to buy tampons, pads, or menstrual cups. A lack of access to feminine products results in the unhygienic use of rags and cow dung which not only affects the girls’ health but also strips them of confidence and dignity.