• As they seek government’s intervention

By. Leila B. Gbati.

Liberian women and girls are calling on the government to improve its commitment to protecting their rights by making hygiene and dignity kits more inexpensive and accessible.

The limited availability of hygiene and dignity kits across the country, according to the women, poses an extraordinary hazard to them.

On May 28, 2022, they made the call when they joined the rest of the globe in celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day.

In honor of the Day, ActionAid Liberia and Partners organized a two-day menstrual health awareness campaign, during which a joint press statement on increased access to sexual reproductive health and rights and promoting gender-responsive public services was issued on behalf of Liberian women and girls.

Ms. Monica CEE of the SRHR Network read the Joint Press Statement at the climax of the awareness campaign at the intersection of Broad and Mechlin Streets on Friday, May 27, 2022

According to the statement, the majority of women and girls have difficulty getting access to dignity kits, causing them to use clothes and other items that have had a negative influence on their health owing to poor management. This is also true in Liberia, where it affects all women and girls who are on their periods.

The government, public and private institutions, churches, mosques, and others must work together to create an environment where sanitary and dignity kits are accessible and affordable for every woman and girl in Liberia, according to the statement, while civil society actors (CSOs, INGOs), as well as some in the private sector, are grateful for their assistance.

“We note that this is the government mandate that Gender Responsive Budgeting enhance funding towards health to improve the accessibility and affordability of these kits at health clinics and public spaces in Liberia,” the statement continued. We demand that the government remove all taxes and levies on sanitary and dignity kits to make them more affordable. Mensuration is a natural aspect of the life cycle of both women and girls. It is neither a disease nor a sickness. As a result, access to sanitary pads and clean hygiene facilities is a basic necessity and a human right that should be offered to those who require them. Let us be clear that, according to religious and traditional views, women and girls are frequently left behind, whether at schools, religious meetings, or political rallies, because they are considered unclean and should not be seen among people while menstruating.”

Women and girls, on the other hand, are requesting the Liberian government to take the following steps: duty-free importation of sanitary pads and the complete elimination of all related taxes on sanitary or dignity kits for women; and making sanitary pads accessible and affordable for all in public spaces such as banks, religious and traditional institutions, schools, marketplaces, and telecommunications. Ensure the provision of adequate safe spaces with clean and hygienic washing facilities where women and girls can safely change during the menstrual period; make it a MUST-LAW for all offices, companies, and organizations in Liberia to place sanitary or dignity kits in all bathrooms, which aligns with the government’s promise of Gender Responsive Public Services (GPRS); encourage the inclusion of sanitary pad diversion programs.

“Through our movements, networks, and organizations, we remain committed to supporting all procedures that will promote the accessibility and affordability of sanitary and dignity kits for women and girls, thereby promoting our freedom of movement and ability to clean ourselves at all levels in health centers, public spaces at national and community levels.” To guarantee that activities and actions are gender-responsive and do not further discriminate against and exclude those who are most vulnerable,” the Statement continued.

The statement was signed on May 27, 2022, by ActionAid Liberia, SRHR Network, Domafeign, LIWEN, NATPAH, TNOL, Activista Liberia, and LEGAL Declaration.

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