The Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) has implored members of Women Caucus and Social Welfare committee of Malawi Parliament to push for MK24.9 million funding to the Department of Prisons to enable 300 female in mates access menstrual hygiene necessities.
CHREAA met the Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday in the Capital Lilongwe considering that the MPs have just began the 2019/2020 national budget cluster meetings where they are discussing and scrutinising allocations made to various government ministries and departments.
The organisation is implementing a Menstrual Hygiene project in prisons where it is working with other partners in ensuring that women have access to basic needs including menstrual hygiene.
According to CHREAA’s Deputy Executive Director and Litigation Manager Chikondi Chijozi, menstruation hygiene is a health rights issue which must necessitate government to provide enough services for female hygiene in prisons.
“The women in prison go through alot during menstrual cycle. The prison does not provide any facilities for female hygiene because the department has no resources. As such these women have problems in accessing pads or any equipment to ensure that they are hygienic,” said Chijozi.
She added that CHREAA decided to engage the MPs because the organisation has noted with concern that the allocation to the Prison Department is very minimal to actually provide for the funding the department needs to ensure that female in mates have access to hygiene.
Taking her turn, MP for Nsanje North and former First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Dr Eshter Mcheka Chilenje, commended CHREAA for the Initiative, saying it dignifies women in prison.
“Menstruation is something any woman cannot run away from. And it requires someone to be clean by using the necessary things like pads. Without this I can imagine the situation must be worse in prisons,” said Chilenje.
Chilenje promised that she and her fellow MPs will discuss the matter with the Ministry of finance, hoping that the treasury will be convinced to release the money CHREAA is asking.