Giving Compass' Take:

• Ahead of Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, Global Citizen discusses some of the advocates that are working to improve lives in sub-Saharan Africa, including the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, helping to improve menstrual health for school-age girls.

• What can we do to improve local organizations, such as the ones mentioned in this piece? How big a role does sanitation play in global development?

• Learn more about South African philanthropy here.

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, more than 1 in 10 girls miss up to 20% of the school year because of their periods. In South Africa, that means more than 200,000 girls are missing large amounts of time at school. These girls often don’t have access to sanitary pads, resorting to using materials like rags, newspapers, or bark to manage their periods.

Other times, they’re deterred from going to school because of pervasive cultural stigmas that prevent menstruating girls from touching water or cooking, going to religious ceremonies, participating in community events, and more, according to the United Nations Population Fund. Menstruation also keeps many women from participating in the workforce.

The Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and Menstrual Hygiene Day — a global advocacy platform that brings together the voices and actions of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector and the media to promote good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for all women and girls — have played an important role in advising Global Citizen.

This specifically includes our call to action for the South African government to fund free pads for people in need, ensure safe toilets by 2020, and introduce quality lessons on menstrual health in schools nationwide, and to end the tax on menstrual hygiene products.

Read the full article about driving impact in South Africa by Neha Shah at Global Citizen.