The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga issued the directive after the Presidency Minister, Esther Mbayo, failed to state how much money government requires to fulfill President Yoweri Museveni’s pledge to supply free sanitary pads to primary school girls.
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Parliament has tasked the Education and Sports
Ministry to present a budget for the provision of free sanitary pads to school
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga
issued the directive after the Presidency Minister, Esther Mbayo, failed to
state how much money government requires to fulfill President Yoweri Museveni’s
pledge to supply free sanitary pads to primary school girls.
Kadaga asked Mbayo to clarify how many girls
will receive the pads and how much is required to fulfill the pledge.
Mbayo requested Parliament to task the Education Ministry to provide the
details as the concerned ministry.
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Museveni pledged to provide school girls free sanitary pads during
the 2016 election campaigns in West Nile. On Wednesday, the Dokolo Woman
MP, Cecilia Ogwal sought an explosion from when government will fulfill the
In her response, Mbayo asked the House to use
its appropriation role to allocate a budget for the provision of free pads. However,
Mbayo said the Education Ministry will provide such details. She
however noted that the Presidency Ministry is aware that girls face a number of
challenges because most schools in rural and hard to reach areas lack clean
sanitary facilities, changing rooms, waste disposal facilities, water and soap
for washing and hygienic sanitary wear.
“Therefore, such girls, from primary 5 up until senior three
resort to “unhygienic substitutes such as rags, pieces of foam mattress,
toilet paper or banana fibers, for menstrual management which causes
considerable health risks and absenteeism, “ Mbayo told MPs.
Mbayo cited statistics from the 2012 study
done by International Rescue Centre that noted that one in tem
menstruating girls skips school four days every month, which is about 24 days
the entire year. There are about 220 school learning days a year.
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She noted that though the pledge has not been fulfilled, the
ministry of Education is working with some civil Society Organizations to pilot
interventions on providing sanitary pads to girls in a number of districts in
the country. They include Afri-pads, Uganda Red Cross, Eco-pads, Fields of
Life, and plan International.
Mbayo also noted that the Education Ministry has
also put up a number of initiatives to ensure menstrual management such as
developing age appropriate information packages on menstrual hygiene, training
in making re-usable pads using locally available materials, building the
capacity of teachers especially senior female and male teachers to support
school girls to manage physical and psycho-social changes associated with
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There was a bipartisan rebuttal on her
recommendation because it didn’t specify how much needed or the targeted number
of beneficiaries among other details.
The Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal and Arua Municipality MP,
Kassiano Wadri poked holes in Mbayo's statement.
Ogwal noted that
Mbayo had not presented budgetary requirements to provide sanitary pads to
school girls across the country while Kassiano said the opposition should capitalize
on the government's failure to fulfill the presidential pledge.
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The Arua Woman MP, Mourine Osoru, Igara West
MP, Raphael Magyezi and Mitooma Woman MP, Jovah Kamateeka also demanded
for a comprehensive statement with specified budget items.
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According to the 2014 National Population Census, out of a
total population of 34.6 million people, 20.1 million were in school-going age
from 3 to 24 in pre-primary, primary, secondary and post-secondary.
However, out of the 7.3 million pupils aged 6 to 12 years in
the primary school category, 3.6 million were females while out of the 5.2
million students in secondary level aged 13 to 18, 2.6 million were
Kadaga has now directed the Clerk to Parliament to write to
the Education Ministry to present to Parliament a budget for provision of
sanitary pads with the exact numbers of the targeted population.
In September, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob
Oulanyah also tasked the Education and Sports Ministry to present a report
within three months on the progress on government’s plan to provide sanitary
pads to schoolgirls in primary school.
Oulanyah made the directive after the Minister of State for Sports;
Charles Bakkabulindi failed to inform MPs when the government plans to fulfill
the presidential pledge.