A LUPANE-BASED NGO, Lupane Youth for Development Trust (LUYTD) has accused government of reneging on its promise to provide free sanitary wear to girls in rural areas.
LUYDT Programmes coordinator Tawanda Mazango said Finance and Economic Development minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said government would provide rural girls with sanitary wear worth ZW$200 million.
“There is worrying silence and non-committal behaviour by Professor Mthuli Ncube to his pledge and his counterpart, the minister of Social Welfare, at a time rural girls’ lives have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and measures taken,” he said.
“The government has transferred all of its responsibilities to Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs) when in actual fact the NGOs are supposed to assist government to deliver its duties.
“It is government’s duty to provide these social services to the people and NGOs can only compliment government efforts.
“The Covid-19 situation actually increased the need for government assistance in this regard considering disruptions to citizens’ economic activities and movement of goods especially into deep rural areas bearing in mind the banning of public transport and travel restrictions imposed,” Mazango added.
Pamela Mpofu of Precious Hands, a sanitary wear drive, which assists people in Matabeleland South with sanitary wear, said: “Our area of focus is Matabeleland South because when I last went to one of the areas, I discovered that alternatives such as newspapers and cow dung were being used by girls.
“These are not healthy and can result in infections. The challenge is that there are few people whose guardians are working, but it is very difficult for them to access pads because of the prices being charged.
“There are others whose parents are not working who rely on donations from the government or donors. Also there is only one shop which sells pads in the area and upon enquiring how people manage with only one shop, I was told that people do not buy pads that much because of the prohibitive prices and they have resorted to using cow dung. These factors are what led to the formation of Precious Hands,” she added.
Meanwhile, a member of LUYD, Zibusiso Moyo, said there was need for the government to provide sanitary wear so as to preserve the dignity of women.
“Sanitary wear should be made readily available by the government free of charge just like condoms. Provision of sanitary wear safeguards the dignity of women so that they do not end up using unhygienic means during their monthly periods.
“Some girls are afraid of asking for money from their parents hence they suffer the pain of womanhood and even miss lessons when on their menstrual periods,” Moyo said.