DSD continues ahead with Sanitary Dignity Project
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has budgeted R 10. 5 million towards the Sanitary Dignity Project (SDP) for the 2021/22 financial year. The SDP forms part of the department’s ongoing commitment to promoting the dignity of many female learners, who are unable to afford sanitary pads.
As of the 31 March 2021, a total of 554 508 packets of ten sanitary pads were delivered to approximately 90 000 female learners in 220 schools across the Western Cape through the project.
“I am pleased that this project will continue this year to support female learners who at times find themselves having to miss school due to a lack of access to the necessary menstrual hygiene products,” said the Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
The schools which form part of the Sanitary Dignity Project were nominated by the Western Cape Department of Education Department based on an analysis of female learner absenteeism from Grades 4 to12. These schools include no-fee paying schools and fee-charging schools. The project also prioritises schools in rural areas and special needs schools-where the need is greatest. Moreover, the SDP will be enhanced by the inclusion of this aspect in the Life Orientation programmes offered by the Department of Education at schools.
Although further data is still required to directly confirm reasons for absenteeism among female learners, a lack of access to menstrual hygiene resources has been cited as one of the contributing factors. The sanitary dignity project aims to address this challenge and also serves to alleviate undue hardship many female learners face.
“As a Department, we remain committed to promoting the sanitary dignity of indigent female learners,” concluded Minister Fernandez.