Social development aims to keep girls in school by providing sanitary protection

Representative of Procter and Gamble (P&G), Jeanne Du Plessis, discusses some of the work of the 'Always keeping a girl child in school' campaign. Photo: Sarah Koning


The Gauteng Department of Social Development is appealing to corporates to assist them in achieving the goal of helping one million underprivileged girls in the Gauteng region receive sanitary towels by 2019.

At a breakfast launch with over 40 companies at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sandton, MEC for the Gauteng Department of Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khosa requested the partnership of private companies to increase the reach of the programme. She urged businesses to invest in the girl child by keeping her in school.

Pumla Mukeba and Nothando Mvelase of MMI Holdings discuss how they will pledge to assist the department of social development in reaching 1 million girls in Gauteng with sanitary protection by 2019. Photo: Sarah Koning

MEC for the Gauteng Department of Social Development Nandi Mayathula-Khosa discusses her plan to reach 1 million underprivileged girls with sanitary protection by 2019. Photo: Sarah Koning

The Sanitary Dignity Campaign, launched by the Gauteng Department of Social Development, has so far assisted girls at 470 qualifying schools in Gauteng, targeting 45 000 girls monthly. They have now partnered with Procter & Gamble (P&G), the manufacturer of Always sanitary pads, whose ‘Always keeping girls in school’ campaign has so far assisted 150 000 girls in South Africa and Kenya with sanitary protection over the past 10 years.

Footprints Foundation founder Eric Mlambo discusses their role in the Sanitary Dignity Campaign. Photo: Sarah Koning

Shamona Kandia of the Transnet Foundation and Leonie van der Merwe, who works in gender mainstreaming at the department of social development, enjoy socialising at the launch of the public-private partnership for the sanitary dignity campaign. Photo: Sarah Koning

“No woman should have to choose between a meal and sanitary towels. Girls who don’t have access to sanitary protection miss 60 days of school a year. I want girls to realise their true freedom… Research has shown that self-esteem of participating girls has been enhanced, health and hygiene have improved, absenteeism has decreased and academic performance has improved,” said Mayathula-Khosa.

“Government alone cannot solely address this issue. We need collaboration. It’s time to build partnerships with people to create a more prosperous society.”

Jeanne du Plessis of P&G said, “There are so many obstacles to quality education but being born female should not be one of them.” She also emphasised the importance of puberty education, where girls have the opportunity to learn about the changes in their bodies and ask questions so that they can enter this stage of their lives with confidence.

Acting HOD of the department of social development, Makhukhu Mampuru, shares some of the plans for the expansion of the sanitary dignity campaign at the campaign’s public-private partnership launch at Sandton Radisson Blu. Photo: Sarah Koning

Actor Thato Molamu plays emcee to the launch of the public-private partnership for the Sanitary Dignity Campaign. Photo: Sarah Koning

Footprints Foundation acts as the implementing agent between P&G and corporates as well as recipients in schools. Footprints representative Eric Mlambo said their programme has seen girls grow in confidence and understanding of puberty through the educational programmes implemented at targeted schools.

Details: If your business would like to contribute towards this valuable project through donations of money or sanitary pads, contact Eric on 011 791 4434 or email [email protected]

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Sarah Koning

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