Menstrual poverty remains a hindrance to girls’ education

Menstrual poverty continues to be a major barrier to girls’ education, making it difficult for them to attend class consistently and perform to their full academic potential. 

This was said by Chief Education Officer, Nellie Kamtedza during a social media campaign by Girls Activists Youth Organisation (GAYO) on awareness for Sustainable Development Goal number four (SDG 4). 

Kamtedza said there are different challenges that are making girls not to excel in school but menstrual poverty remains one big challenge.

“The girls, especially in the rural areas, lack necessary materials to use when they are menstruating and this leads them to missing classes. In the end they do not do well in their education,” said Kamtedza.

Kamtedza said there is need to use and empower mother groups who can support the girls by providing them with necessary materials like reusable sanitary pads.

A Form Two student at Bua Community Day Secondary School, Talandira Chirwa, said girls continue to be disadvantaged in accessing education in the district.

“Apart from menstrual poverty the girls also travel long distances to school, are susceptible to gender based violence and are also married off by parents,” she said.

The audience enjoying Lulu’s performance

GAYO Executive Director, Richard Batch, said the social media campaign they conducted was aimed at bringing more awareness on girls’ education. 

Batch said there is tremendous work that has been done but still the country is not doing well in some important aspects.

“There are several treaties on education that Malawi is part of but it fails to adhere to them. For example, the SADC education protocol which says that governments should put in 20 percent of the national budget towards education, but instead of this the percent is actually decreasing if we compare this year and previous budgets,” said Batch.

The social media campaign, which GAYO conducted and drew together different youth organisations, was beamed live on a Facebook platform called IHUB and had musician Lulu performing.

The campaign was conducted under a project called Girls Education Advocacy in the Region (GEAR).

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