In Summary

Following up on the pledge, government late last year resolved to make it compulsory for all learners to have free sanitary pads (‘Government orders schools on lunch, sanitary pads’, Daily Monitor, December 2, 2016). This was revealed by the assistant commissioner in charge of primary education at the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Tonny Mukasa Lusambu at the launch of the ‘Safer school, better reading’ programme in Masaka last year.

In 2015, during the presidential campaigns, President Museveni made a pledge that his government would provide girls in primary school with sanitary pads. He was campaigning in Lango sub-region at the time.

In many parts of the country, parents are too poor to afford basic needs like sanitary pads for their children. So, on days when the girls are menstruating, they stay at home. Unable to bear the embarrassment of having a soiled uniform, some have even dropped out of school.

Following up on the pledge, government late last year resolved to make it compulsory for all learners to have free sanitary pads (‘Government orders schools on lunch, sanitary pads’, Daily Monitor, December 2, 2016). This was revealed by the assistant commissioner in charge of primary education at the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr Tonny Mukasa Lusambu at the launch of the ‘Safer school, better reading’ programme in Masaka last year.

According to Mr Lusambu, each school would be required to equip all senior women teachers with sanitary kits to help them attend to cases of menstrual emergencies, one of the reasons why girls drop out of school. Like the President said during the campaigns, “So that the girls do not run out of school because they are embarrassed by their periods when they do not have pads.”

Mr Lusambu further revealed that the Ministry of Finance had approved an increment of Shs2,000 on each pupil’s capitation grant to cater for sanitary wear.

However, on Tuesday, while appearing before the Parliament’s Education Committee, the Education minister, Ms Janet Museveni, told the committee that the ministry does not have money to cater for the sanitary pads, adding that the money allocated to the ministry caters for only wages for teachers and the rest of the staff.

It is so typical of politicians to make empty promises to the electorate simply to win their votes which they do not honour after getting the desired victory. That, and indeed many other empty promises cannot take the country forward. A lot of money is lost through corruption that would cater for such pledges.

It is unfortunate that the poor girls – poor in every sense of the word – continue to drop out of school because their parents cannot afford sanitary pads. As if that is not disturbing enough, now they have to live with the empty promise.