HARARE – Zimbabwe’s largest bank by depositors, Steward Bank, has joined forces with Kunashe Foundation to end period poverty in the country by supplying reusable sanitary wear to underprivileged girls.
A recent study by SNV Zimbabwe revealed that 72% of menstruating schoolgirls do not use sanitary pads because they cannot afford them resulting in the unhygienic use of rags and cow dung. This not only affects the girls’ health but also strips them of confidence and dignity.
Steward Bank’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Nyasha Choga, said the bank decided to chip in after realising that many girls in Zimbabwe are at risk of developing infections and suffering the embarrassment of leakages and discomfort due to lack of clean sanitary wear.
“Hunhu/Ubuntu, as knitted into our model of business, calls for the expression of compassion, reciprocity, and actions that bestow dignity and humanity to the community. We value the privilege of contributing towards the efforts to keep girls in school and equip women to make reusable pads for their families and communities as a means of income generation,” she said.
In support of Kunashe Foundation’s vision to provide information and access to sustainable sanitary wear, Steward Bank responded with ZW$300 000.00 in May 2021 to fund over 1 000 girls in the form of a charitable grant.
Subsequently, the Foundation distributed reusable pads, which can be used for up to three years, to 262 girls in Glenview, Glen Norah, Epworth, Hatcliffe and Highfields and at St David’s children’s home (Nyanga), Shalom Children’s home, Danai Children’s home, St Marcelin’s children’s home and at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
Kunashe Foundation said the strategic partnership with Steward Bank will go a long way in empowering women and girls across the country in helping them gain access to reproductive health rights and restoring human dignity and confidence.
Period poverty generally force many girls to miss out on important confidence-building experiences in the classroom or in after-school activities. Missing out on things like this can limit girls from reaching their full potential during puberty and beyond.
The foundation not only seeks to provide sanitary wear but to also improve the lives of women and girls through the provision of reliable information on women’s health as well as related access to essential products and services.
In line with its objective, the team conducted menstrual hygiene management training at Chisipite Senior School with the Leo Club, where participants were also taught the art of making reusable pads using sewing machines.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person training for the bigger groups was not possible. As a solution, easy-to-understand training packs in the form of guide books, pamphlets, e-fliers, and video content were provided in both instances.