Zimbabwean men have been challenged to join in the call for government to provide free sanitary wear to school going girls.
This comes as Wellington Mahohoma, a wellness activist, is set to walk to Parliament of Zimbabwe, to deliver a petition to implore government to provide free sanitary wear in schools.
The 25 kilometer walk will start at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza to the Parliament building on November 22.
In an interview with CITE, Mahohoma said men should also take the leading role in advocating for accessible sanitary wear for the girl child.
“Why are women the ones leading the conversation of the girl child accessing sanitary wear when girls are raised by both a mother and father,” said Mahohoma.
“As men we should champion this conversation because if we don’t, there will be a problem.”
He stated that men in authority should lead as role models in advocating for the girl child so that their livelihoods are improved.
“Looking at the parliament, the majority are male. It is their responsibility to ensure that money is put in improving the lives of girls,” said Mahohoma.
He said there is a huge implication when girls are unable to access sanitary wear as it affects their education.
“From my research and past school experiences, many girls miss classes, some mess chairs and do not attend classes because of embarrassment,” said Mahohoma.
“Accessing sanitary wear will ensure the girl child has the same educational experience at school and their male counterparts.”
He stressed that the government should at least make sanitary wear free in public schools.
“The government should scrap off tax from sanitary wear, it should provide public schools with free sanitary wear,” said Mahohoma.
“Condoms are for free in clinics and sex is an option but what about the girl child who needs sanitary wear which she cannot afford.”
Mahohoma says although he initiated the walk alone, he has received overwhelming support from various organisations.
Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) Public Relations Officer, Bridgette Ndlovu said as a partner, the charity walk is supported by the Red Cycle Campaign which aims at raising awareness around menstrual hygiene and encouraging the public to donate sanitary wear for the girl child.
“The charity walk is being supported by the Red Cycle Campaign which seeks to lobby the government to provide free sanitary dispensers in schools through a specific policy and to influence government to scrap Value Added Tax (VAT) on sanitary pads to reduce the burden of cost that ordinary girls and women bear,” said Ndlovu.
She added: “WILD invites companies, individuals and groups to join in the charity walk and support through donations and/or making the campaign viral on various media platforms.”
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said government will scrap duty on sanitary ware.
“The cost of sanitary ware and removing duty on it, consider it done,” he said, while addressing a pre-budget seminar in Bulawayo yesterday.
“We will have something on the budget on this issue of sanitary ware. Consider it done; there is no debate.”