Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni says that there is a need for a well-funded national project to sustain the provision of free sanitary pads.
Janet Museveni was on Thursday responding to queries by Members of Parliament sitting on the Education Committee on the delayed implementation of a presidential pledge for government to freely provide sanitary pads to school going girls.
During his 2016 re-election campaigns, President Museveni pledged to provide free sanitary pads to schoolchildren as one of the ways to boost girl child education. The free sanitary pad distribution exercise was expected to start in the 2017/2018 financial year. However, the Education Ministry backtracked on the promise, saying there is no money.
Janet said that her Ministry was working on the matter warning that it was taking long since it requires a lot of investment to make the project happen and sustainable.
Janet Museveni explained that for her Ministry to provide sanitary pads in all schools across the country and sustain it there must be a national project that is well funded and can sustain the project. She said that the absence of a well-funded project is the reason why the distribution of sanitary pads has not yet happened.
Speaking about the on-going efforts by sections of the public to distribute re-usable sanitary pads, the Minister disagreed with it saying that re-usable pads are not the best for children.
Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho warned that it was a season of politicking and that the failure implement the presidential pledge was to cost the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party votes.
Jonam County MP Emmanuel Ongiertho said that it was unfortunate that the pledge made during the previous election is yet to be fulfilled when the country is preparing for the coming 2021 general election.
In 2017, the jailed Makerere University Research fellow, Dr Stella Nyanzi started the free sanitary padS distribution to schools.
Dr Nyanzi started a campaign under the theme “Pads-For-Girl-Child Uganda” to fundraise money to buy pads and distribute them to schools. The campaign attracted several people including women rights activists and NGOs, which saw the distribution of reusable and disposable sanitary pads to various school girls.
In her response then, Minister Janet Museveni expressed reservations about Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs spearheading the distribution of sanitary pads to schoolchildren without involving the ministry. She said that there was need for the ministry to be involved to ensure that the pads are appropriate for children.