TWO youth organisations have joined forces to launch a menstrual hygiene management campaign to mobilise and distribute sanitary pads to women and girls in Bulawayo.

The launch will coincide with the International Menstrual Hygiene Day commemorations on May 28, with sanitary towels set to be distributed to 1000 women and girls.

Dot Youth in partnership with My Age Zimbabwe are appealing to youths to donate money towards the purchase of sanitary pads for school going girls, so that they do not miss out on their lessons.

Dot Youth Director, Sibusiso Bhebhe stated that one of the main aims of the campaign was to create an appreciation of the use of sanitary pads before reusable ones are introduced.

“Introducing reusable pads into a community suddenly might cause havoc.  As it is, people are not comfortable discussing about menstruation issues.

 “We work mostly  in Makokoba, Nguboyenja and Mzilikazi and that is a crowded space. It would be a contentious issue if women would start hanging their reusable pads in a society still considers discussions on menstruation as taboo, we should first come up with a way of bridging that program before it is rolled out,” he said.

Bhebhe appealed for youths to take part in donating a packet of sanitary pads and enable girls to continue going for their classes.

“We have been able to drum up support from influential young people, within the Bulawayo community. Some of them are students, others are peer educators, designers and artists. Using them, we are going to set up a team  to mobilise  resources such as the sanitary pads,” said Bhebhe.

Concerning reusable pads, Bhebhe however stated that reusable pads were still  expensive and inaccessible.

“ There are different organisations that make some of these reusable pads. These include My Pads in Harare, Lupane womens empowerment  program. The challenge however with these pads is that they are a bit expensive.

“Currently they cost about US $5.The vantage point is that once one buys them, they are set for the whole year. However, if women cannot afford the ones going for a dollar they are less likely to afford to buy those that are going for US$ 5 dollars,” he said.

Sanitary wear is generally unavailable in the rural areas and for some urban dwellers. In cases where they are available, they may be costly and inaccessible out the majority living in poor backgrounds.

Source: Radio Dialogue