General News of 2014-07-04

Why we must provide sanitary pads for our girls – Ken Ashigbey

The Managing Director of Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, has expressed support for the government’s plan to spend part of a $156-million World Bank loan facility on providing sanitary pads for deprived female students in some parts of the country.

The plan has triggered widespread condemnation from Ghanaians, with people arguing that borrowing to purchase sanitary pad is very demeaning.

Others have also argued that the move is not a priority and that the money could be used to improve educational infrastructure in the country.

But adding his voice to the discussion Thursday, Mr Ashigbey said there was empirical basis for providing pads to deprived school girls.

He said having taught as National Service Person, he was aware of the difficulties girls face during menstruation, especially when there are no toilet facilities in the school.

Read Mr Ashigbey’s comments shared on his Facebook page below: I listened to Minister of Education speak on Accra-based Joy FM and I appreciated the reasoning.

There are empirical reasons for providing the pads. It is good to have policies that are based on research. Due to experience as a National Service teacher at Kaneshie Kingsway and Kpeve Secondary Technical, I know the difficulty girls go through during that period, especially where there are no toilets. I’m also aware of the stigma they suffer when they soil themselves due to lack of pads etc.

Should we have borrowed it?

We borrow for even election of our president, so why not.

It is a consumable, so how do we sustain it?

Yes, it is a consumable and this is not the only routine thing that we borrow to do. The most important thing for me is what happens after the loan runs out.

We need to, during the period come up, with a sustainable means to ensure that we are able to continue the project till we have empowered those who cannot afford to do so. It has to be a programme or project with an endgame in sight that is worked into the strategy.

Will this benefit the economy?

My question is: Who will make the pads? Will we create a Ghanaian pad industry which will contribute to sustainability, or will we create jobs for foreigners? Is there conditionality from the World Bank that some foreigners should supply the pads? Let’s not miss the opportunity to enrich and empower some Ghanaians through this project. I do not care where they come from. They just have to be capable Ghanaians. The lack of capacity should not be an excuse. Let’s find ways of building that capacity.

Sustainability

On the issue of sustainability, once we agree that the lack of sanitary pads and toilet facilities are combining to keep girls out of school, we should find ways of funding it. Some way. Somehow. Education is too important to be sacrificed on the back of a natural phenomenon ,which the girls do not chose to happen to them.

Target

My other question is: How are we identifying the venerable in society? It should not be on the basis of anything other than you are a Ghanaian and you are in need. I will urge my former boss (let me declare it before I am accused of having an agenda), sharp woman Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang to put in place a system to ensure that there will be equity in the selection of the Ghanaian to benefit from this project.