KAMPALA – Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has tasked Government to explain why President Yoweri Museveni’s pledge to provide sanitary pads to all girls in schools across the country hasn’t fallen through.
The Speaker made the inquiry during Thursday’s plenary sitting in response to a statement made by Florence Nakiwala, State Minister for Youth ahead of the commemoration of the International Youth Day slated to take place on 12th August in Jinja.
Kadaga said, “The President promised to issue all girls with sanitary pads, I think we need an answer, is he going to supply or not. The minister needs to explain, it was a public pledge.”
Worth noting is the fact that while campaigning in Lango sub-region in 2015 ahead of the 2016 general elections, President Museveni promised that if elected back into power, his government would provide school-going girls with sanitary pads.
“So that the girls do not run out of school because they are embarrassed by their periods when they do not have pads,” the president said in 2015.
The presidential pledge was meant to take effect in 2017/2018 financial year budget but MPs on the Education Committee were shocked when they realised that in the Shs2.8Trn budget allocated to the education sector, there was no single penny allocated to fulfil the pledge.
When the Minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni was asked about the sanitary pads during the budgeting process in February 2017, she admitted that there was no money for pads.
Nakiwala told Parliament that this year’s celebration is “Transforming education”, and at the National level, Government has customized the theme to; “Transforming Education for responsible citizenship and employment creation” to suit our unique circumstances with a focus put on the importance of education in nurturing citizens that are productive and responsible for socio-economic transformation of their communities.
“It is important to emphasise that the quality of citizens is dependent upon the quality of their education. Transformative education is, therefore, a step in the right direction. Transforming education must, therefore, highlight efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth. Rooted in goal 4 for the 2030 agenda for sustainable Development to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting long-life learning opportunities for all,” said Nakiwala.
Kadaga said it was important for Parliament to discuss exhaustively the plan for the youth employment in the country and called on the Minister to ensure the debate takes place before the budget cycle starts.