By Daudi Zirimala
Female Pupils of Murchison Bay primary school Luzira have been given 300 pieces of reusable sanitary towels to enable them stay comfortably in school during menstrual cycles.
The long lasting Reusable sanitary pads have been donated by employees of Nile breweries thought individual contributions to ensure that girls have a fair chance to play in life as they develop into responsible citizens through education.
Speaking at the handover ceremony the Nile Breweries Legal and Corporate affairs Manager Onapito Ekomoloit said that they are passionate about the education of the disadvantaged girl child because girls lag behind the boys in education due to menstruation related hygiene problems by missing 4 days of school every week.
By Zirimala Daudi
Uganda will be joining the rest of the world to mark the menstrual hygiene management day on 28th may at a time when Uganda is still facing a huge burden of having menstrual hygiene among her female population mainly among school going girls.
According to health expert Dr. Edson Muhwezi ,there is need for every Ugandan be it a cultural, religious, political, community, CSO leaders and parents to take up the matter to help facilitate girls with sanitary pads during their menstrual periods for them to enjoy living a comfortable life.
He says Ugandans should utilize this day to embrace the plight of the girl’s education by eliminating the barriers to their education through putting in place policies to help them.
Development partners and advocacy groups have also advised government that menstrual hygiene issues need a comprehensive approach if the country is to register positive results that will see female citizens in this country live a respectable life.
According to the development manager at straight talk foundation, Walakira Godfrey said that Menstrual hygiene in Uganda is a less discussed topic in Uganda with less budgetary allocation towards this vote by govt which has seen many Ugandan school going girls either drop out of school or loose most of their school time trying to attend to this issue which has continued to impact negatively on their lives.
Govt had to allocate UGX.16Bn in this financial year to give out free sanitary pads to school but later it was revealed that it has insufficient funds to facilitate this vote in the national budget which has created worries among school going girls in rural areas.
Stella Nyanzi expressed her disappointment in Minister of education’s confession that government cannot afford sanitary pads for the girl child.
The professor took to her Facebook to state her dissatisfaction with Janet Museveni’s utterance . In her words she posts,
I despise people who go around addressing the first wife as “Mama Janet,” “Mama Janet,” “Mama Janet!” That woman is no mother to the nation! I refuse to refer to Janet Kataaha Museveni as Mama anything. Let the children of her womb Mama-Mama her. Uganda’s poor children are motherless.
How can a whole mother go to parliament and ask legislators to understand the claim that there is no money in Uganda to provide sanitary pads to school-girls? What sort of mother allows her daughters to keep away from school because they are too poor to afford padding materials that would adequately protect them from the shame and ridicule that comes by staining their uniforms with menstrual blood? What malice plays in the heart of a woman who sleeps with a man who finds money for millions of bullets, billions of bribes, and uncountable ballots to stuff into boxes but she cannot ask him to prioritise sanitary pads for poor schoolgirls? She is no Mama! She is just Janet!
I started my periods when I was only nine years old. My mother introduced me to disposable Lilia sanitary towels. She also taught me how to fold layers of soft toilet tissue to use in case I lacked Lilia. She also talked to me about reusable cloth which is washed, hang to dry and folded for use. She talked about dry banana fibres (ebyaayi), plaited palm mats (obusansa obuluke), hay (essubi), and soft bark cloth (embugo) that were used in the past. My mother talked about tampons but said they were too expensive for us to buy at the time.
For my mother, it was important to arm her daughters with not only the best menstrual hygiene products but also with information about alternatives to use. Having an abundant supply of Lilia pads ensured that I was saved from the worst source of shame and indignity for adolescent girls at school. My mother provided in order to protect my dignity and hygiene. I excelled at school although I was a menstruating girl.
But Museveni’s wife does not care enough for the poor daughters of Uganda whose families cannot afford sanitary materials for menstruation. Her tongue is too thick to convince Museveni to either buy less bullets or pay less bribes, and instead buy the pads to protect the feminine dignity of Uganda’s young women. Her brain is too thick to think of alternative low-budget menstruation materials. She went to parliament to ask us to understand that our girls will keep away from school during their periods because the government has no money for sanitary materials.
She will never be Mama Janet to me. I should visit her without protection during my next menstruation period, sit in her spotless sofas and arise after staining her soul with my menstrual blood! That will be my peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Uganda’s poor adolescent girls. Aluta continua!~Stella Nyanzi