Botswana’s parliament has adopted a motion to offer schoolgirls all over the country free sanitary pads.
The motion was tabled to allow every girl in both private and public school to have access to education even during their menstrual periods.
“Government provision of sanitary pads to all schools would improve access to education in a country where many could not afford sanitary products like pads,” Member of Parliament Polson Majaga said after tabling the motion which was overwhelmingly approved.
Another member of parliament attributed poor academic performance in his constituency was “primarily due to the fact that some girl students had to miss school when on their monthly menstrual as parents could not afford to provide them with sanitary pads,” said Ngaka Ngaka.
He also called on businesses to support the government in the provision of the pads.
The country’s deputy local government minister Botlogile Tshireletso said a programme is already in place to provide sanitary pads and toiletries to all needy students registered with them.
According to the deputy basic education minister, Moisiraela Goya, “the move would also install some dignity to the girl child as they would always be in a position to use medically approved sanitary pads.”
In June, Kenya’s government also promised to offer free sanitary pads to schoolgirls to improve access to education.
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.