KOBOKO. The high girl-child school dropout rate due to lack of sanitary pads in Koboko district has forced local leaders to devise what they have term as a lasting solution to the problem.
Speaking to West Nile Web during an interview in his office on Monday, Mr Stephen Sanya Mutto, the Koboko district vice chairperson said it is time to start teaching parents on how to make sanitary pads for their girls so as to retain them in school.
“We are aware of parents who can’t afford sanitary pads for their girls in Koboko and this has forced many to continue dropping out of school every year” he said.
“As a district, our local revenue can’t allow us buy sanitary pads and avail them to all schools every term and that is why we are thinking of lobbying partners to train parents on how to make pads using local materials, a move which is sustainable enough to keep girls in school” Sanya added.
The girl-child school dropout rate in Koboko district primary schools stands at 8.1 percent more than that of the boys which is at 8.0 percent.
Koboko district education officials attributed the high dropout rate among girls to lack of sanitary pads to manage their monthly menstrual period in school.
“We are soon going to present proposals to our partners to consider training parents on how to make pads using local available materials. We are optimistic that once parents get this knowledge, they can pass it over to their girls and fellow parents. This will reduce the rate at which girls are dropping out of school due to shame of being laughed at by boys during their menstrual periods,” Sanya said.
Mr Wai Dragamulai, the Koboko district Principal Education Officer said following the alarming rate of girl-child school dropout, the education departments has directed all senior women teachers in primary schools to use part of the 15 percent Universal Primary Education (UPE) fund allocated for the health sector to stock a few sanitary pads to help some of the needy girls in schools.
He noted that their only challenge is that UPE funds normally come on quarterly bases yet girls continue experiencing menstrual period every month thus making senior women teachers to run out of stock of sanitary pads.
Dragamulai welcomed the proposal to have parents trained on how to locally make sanitary pads but for the meantime, he urged the government of Uganda to consider equipping all primary schools in the Country with pads.
During the 2016 Ugandan general election campaigns, President Yoweri Museveni Kaguta promised to address the problem of girl-child school dropout cases by providing free sanitary pads in all Ugandan schools.
However, two years after his election as the President, his promise has not been effected as Ms Janet Kataha Museveni, the first Lady and Minister of Education and Sports revealed that her ministry had no money for the project.