Kenya’s government has decided to provide sanitary napkins to girls enrolled in public schools, to encourage more students to come to class. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed an Act to the effect into a law on Wednesday.
The Act states that every girl registered at school should be given “free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels” as well as “a safe and environmental sound mechanism for disposal”, reported BBC. The move comes over a decade after Kenya scrapped taxes on sanitary products in an effort to make them more affordable.
However, 65% of women in Kenya still find sanitary napkins unaffordable, said a 2016 report by non-profit consulting firm FSG. Thus, charities like the ZanaAfrica Foundation have been providing them for girls around the country, BBC said. Child rights groups say many girls in Kenya skip school for at least four days a month because they cannot afford sanitary napkins and want to avoid embarrassment.
Many countries in the world, including India, the United Kingdom and the European Union, still tax sanitary napkins and tampons. In India, sanitary napkins will be taxed at 12% under the Goods and Services Tax regime, which will come into force on July 1.