Measures in place to provide sanitary pads to learners
16 Apr 2023
Government, though without a focused initiative, continues to make efforts to assist learners, particularly needy ones, with free sanitary pads.
This was said by Leader of the House and Vice President, Mr Slumber Tsogwane during question time in Parliament recently.
Mr Tsogwane said the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development assisted the needy learners with sanitary pads on a monthly basis while the Ministry of Education and Skills Development also had a policy position that schools should always keep some sanitary pads for emergency purposes.
“We know this might not be enough, but funds permitting, more learners will continue to be covered,” he said.
He said that when Nata/Gweta MP, Mr Polson Majaga first brought the motion in 2017 which was subsequently adopted by Parliament, the then Minister of Education and Skills Development indicated that they would put in place a specific budget to provide free sanitary pads to learners.
He said that tertiary students were however given a monthly living allowance meant to cater for sanitary pads.
“The private sector was also encouraged to assist and we applaud all those that have heeded such a plea,” he added.
Mr Tsogwane highlighted the importance of free provision of sanitary pads to learners, indicating that it would improve their access to education.
“We are aware of the impact of lack of such in schools, where learners are sometimes forced to use sponges as substitutes for sanitary pads,” he said.
Also, he said since education was the responsibility of both government and parents, the latter was also expected to assist.
In a follow-up on the implementation of a motion tabled by Mr Majaga and adopted in 2017, requesting government to among others, provide free sanitary pads to learners and those in private schools, Gaborone Central MP, Mr Tumisang Mangwegape-Healy, said said not having sanitary pads might prevent the girl-child from attending school.
“This might then affect their education and self-esteem. Most learners only survive on sanitary pads donated to schools by good samaritans and this is not enough as donations cannot always be guaranteed. We cannot always depend on donations because they can only go so far, so we want something sustainable. I want to know when the motion would be implemented because it is the guarantee we need,” he said.
Mr Mangwegape-Healy also urged government to treat the issue of free provision of sanitary pads to schools as a national emergency like it happened with the COVID-19 pandemic, where funds were channelled to it.
He also called on government to put in place a policy that would compel the private sector to assist, rather than the current arrangement when it can only assist at their own volition.
For his part, Maun West MP, Mr Dumelang Saleshando said the Vice President’s response was not adequate as the initiative put in place by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and that of Education and Skills Development were already in place when the motion was passed.
“The motion wanted something new to be done, something which was not in place before it was adopted,” Mr Saleshando explained.
He argued that since six years had passed since the adoption of the motion, government should be in a position to indicate the plans in place to provide free sanitary pads to learners. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : Olekantse Sennamose
Location : GABORONE
Event : PARLIAMENT
Date : 16 Apr 2023