Developing Countries: Sanitary Protection

Department for International Development written question – answered on 12th March 2018.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has plans to fund the manufacture and provision of period pants in developing countries; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The UK is committed to enabling all girls and women to manage menstruation safely, hygienically and with dignity, allowing them to stay in school and participate in society during their period. Access to affordable sanitary products is central to this and the UK is supporting a number of innovative projects to enhance access and choice. This includes a technology transfer initiative with the Indian company Aakar ( to enable them to take their women’s enterprise and simple technology model for the local production of quality, low-cost, environmentally-friendly sanitary pads to Kenya and Tanzania. In Zimbabwe, we are supporting women’s groups to make reusable sanitary pads as part of a wider programme to support 95,000 vulnerable girls to stay in school. In Uganda, we have supported the testing and development of sustainable market models for distributing menstrual hygiene cups at scale. We also support menstrual hygiene management more broadly through health, girls’ education and water, sanitation and hygiene programmes across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

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