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Zimbabwe "Dignity! Period campaign" hits UK stores
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
June 09, 2007

Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) and a UK sanitary product manufacturer called Bodyform have joined forces to support the Dignity! Period Campaign, to raise funds for women in Zimbabwe who are unable to afford sanitary protection. Millions of women are being forced to replace hygienic sanitary protection with newspapers and rags, a practice that can cause severe infections for which there is no available medication. ACTSA Campaigns Officer Simon Chase said Bodyform have agreed to sponsor the campaign by donating a quarter of a million products and raising awareness in major UK stores about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Chase said: "For example there are going to be lots of articles in the news, in female magazines. All of their (Bodyform) packets in supermarkets, chemists and pharmacies will all have information about the campaign...there is also going to be short information in cinemas."

The Bodyform packets will have information about the 'Dignity! Period Campaign,' and all the main UK retailers like Tesco, Sainsbury's, Boots, Morrisons, Superdrug will be stocking these products. Chase explained: "So every product that we can sell will raise money for the campaign. We really urge everyone to look out for them and tell their friends and work colleagues and really support the campaign as best they can." He added that several celebrities, including comedian Steven Fry and actress Dame Judi Dench have supported the campaign.

ACTSA has been running this campaign in partnership with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions since 2005 and have managed to supply more than 3 million sanitary pads to the women and girls of Zimbabwe. This has been a humanitarian campaign to help the women in Zimbabwe who can no longer afford to buy this basic necessity. Women are being forced to insert newspapers and dirty cloths as sanitary protection.

The ACTSA Campaigns Officer said: "What is then a knock-on effect is that they have serious infections which in severe cases can lead to infertility or cause social embarrassment. It can lead to domestic violence through husbands relating the bleeding to sexual promiscuity. So there are a range of issues that it addresses and it's a really serious problem that needs addressing now. So that's why the campaign has really been successful and we hope it will grow."

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