Period Poverty – “150 000 Girls in Namibia are Unable to Afford Period Products…”

Namibia, under the leadership of Emma Theophelus, deputy minister of the country’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, eradicated tax on Pads. This was done to enhance the affordability of sanitary items. The announcement follows a proposal set by Theophelus on March 3. The exemption took effect in the 2022/2023 financial year. Although this was done, there are still a number of young woman and girls who cannot afford them.

Firstly, according to Global Citizen, more than half of all households in Namibia don’t have sufficient handwashing facilities and only 27 percent of people across sub-Saharan African countries have access to basic sanitation. According to Action Aid, “One in 10 girls in Africa miss school because they don’t have access to sanitary products, or because there aren’t safe, private toilets to use at school.”

There are stories of young women and girls having to sleep with older men in order to afford pads. In 2019, approximately 150 000 marginalized girls are unable to afford period products during menstruation. They are forced to use toilet paper, newspapers, cloth, mattress stuffing and in some cases plants to manage their menstruation.
According to the Namibian Sun, it is estimated that at least one in 10 girls in Africa miss school because of menstruation.

On the other hand, Namibia has numerous non-profit organizations aiming to end period poverty. One of them is Diana’s Heartbeat Foundation, founded in 2019 by Namibia’s Miss Earth 2022 Diana Andimba. On May 13th 2022, her organization donated 0ver 400 packs of pads to school girls at Groot Aub Junior Secondary school.

Another organization is She’s Got It Namibia, an organization aimed at providing emotional, psychological and financial help to orphaned girls in Namibia’s coastal town, Swakopmund. They are actively looking for pads and sanitary items donations to organize a Pad drive to high schools in the town. The organization has identified that there is a large number of girls who miss classes due to their cycle and decided to donate pads to school girls who need them as a way to eradicate Period Poverty in Schools and their community.

With organizations like these, Namibia is heading towards ending Period Poverty among young women and girls. And with the recent removal of tax on pads, the country is a step closer.

Naango Kainge


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