Saturday, February 09, 2008

African Girls, Their Period & Always?

Protecting Futures Campaign Home Page

OK I get it.
The theme of the commercial and campaign is that these young girls throughout Africa who are attempting to obtain an education don't have something as simple as a female sanitary napkin that would allow them to go to school during that time of month and thus this is a threat to their forward progress. I understand this. Really I do.

What I don't get, however, is - Why does it take an American corporation and the activists that stand behind it to HAND OUT sanitary napkins in South Africa and other nations in order to address the needs for the masses?

Please note the trend - earlier today I heard on the radio about the fate of the "World Champion New England Patriots" gear that was printed out. You see the NFL arranges to have paraphernalia that has both of the competitors as winners for show immediately after the game. The losing goods gets shipped to some 3rd world nation - usually in Africa. Somewhere on the continent of Africa is a person with a t-shirt and a hat that says "Chicago Bears - Super Bowl Champs 2007".

All of this disturbs me because it seems that Africa has become the dumping ground for certain consumer goods. Previous reports have detailed how the abundance of used clothing from American charities has destroyed the new clothing manufacturing industry for domestic consumption there.

I am of the opinion that - as much as possible - a society must have the supply chain infrastructure to recognize the needs that it has and supply it as close to home as possible. The program to provide female sanitary napkins to South African female students just didn't sit right with me. The natives people of that part of Africa have been around far longer than the people of the American culture. How exactly did the manage to deal with "that time of month" prior to Always getting the idea to "help them"?

I would much rather see the manufacturers of "Always" to set up a plant in South Africa - provide the women there with jobs and thus afford them the opportunity to earn a salary from which they can pay for their own "maxi-pads". While their theory today is no doubt - we are clearing the way for young girls to receive an education - the more goods that are dumped upon Africa the fewer local manufacture of goods needed to satisfy the market there will be. These girls, once they get their education - they will no doubt leave for a more fruitful part of the world.

Sometimes it is better to ask for a means to help yourselves rather than to ask for help in the way of charity.

1 comment:

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