The new Bill was introduced as a means to reduce absenteeism among schoolgirls.

South Africans have been calling for it for years, but it is in East Africa where a Bill that compels the government to provide free sanitary pads to school girls has been passed.

Last week saw Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta sign the landmark Bill into law, as a means to reduce absenteeism among girls. According to lawmakers in the country, the bill will put female learners on par with their male counterparts.

This comes after a report by found that a tenth of African schoolgirls were missing 25% of their education because they did not have access to feminine hygiene products.

“The Basic Education Amendment Act amends Basic Education Act, placing the responsibility of providing free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution and has reached puberty, on the government,” the bill states.

According to Kenyan publication Business Dailythe country removed duty charged on raw materials used in the production of sanitary pads.

Free sanitary pads in South Africa

While there have been various organisations working towards making sanitary products available for underprivileged school girls, the government is yet to fully come on board, at least not on a national scale.

There is, however, an exception as the KwaZulu-Natal national government recently started issuing out free female hygiene products in schools.

This was after R50 million was set aside for the programme which targets learners from Grade 4 to Grade 12 in about 3 000 underprivileged schools across the province.


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