Parliament challenged to protect dignity of the girl child in schools

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The Parliament of Zimbabwe has been challenged to formulate and promote policies that ensure the dignity of the girl child in schools.
During a workshop hosted by Action Aid Zimbabwe, Forum for African Women Educationalists Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI), and the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI) on Friday, female students from schools in Makoni District called upon the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education to ensure that progressive policies that support education for girls are developed and enacted.
In a document submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Education, the students noted that girls across Zimbabwe continue to suffer setbacks in schools due to a lack of adequate facilities, resources (including financial) infrastructure, and a lack of a general learning environment that supports education for girls from primary to tertiary level.
As part of their submissions to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, the students said ensuring menstrual hygiene for the girl child in schools is equally important.
“We request you to allocate funds for girl-friendly ablution facilities in schools, including access to water for menstrual hygiene, and to enhance access to dignity kits by school-going girls, including establishing a reliable distribution network to reach rural and hard-to-reach areas, ensuring timely delivery to the intended beneficiaries,” noted the students in their submissions to Parliament.
The students also made calls for Parliament to invest in “guidance and counseling infrastructure at schools to provide quality counselling and other psychological support services and create a safe space for girls to confide in trained personnel”.
A petition with similar demands was submitted to Parliament by FAWEZI in collaboration with ECOZI and supported by Action Aid Zimbabwe. The petition noted that girls from rural schools are mostly at the receiving end of challenges facing learning institutions in Zimbabwe.
The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Honourable Ophias Murambiwa, acknowledged receipt of the 2023 petition adding that Parliament was seized with issues raised in the document.
He reiterated the government’s commitment to the provision of sanitary wear in schools and applauded the efforts by development partners in this regard.
Calls were also made during the workshop for strengthening policies to support the re-entry of girls who fall pregnant while at school with delegates present highlighting the need for awareness-raising campaigns in schools and communities.