A charity from the United Kingdom called FareShare is working with the Scottish government to expand the free sanitary products program that has been successfully piloted in Aberdeen over the past six months.
Following this success, the Scottish government has pledged £500,000 to be put toward distributing sanitary products and with the aim of reaching an estimated 18,800 more people.
Through studies during the pilot of this project, it was discovered that two-thirds of those who took part experienced difficulties in accessing sanitary products. FareShare will use its food delivery centers in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, and Edinburgh to distribute the sanitary products to those who struggle to access or afford them.
The Scottish Government did a full evaluation of the pilot project, which worked with 1,082 people to “explore options for providing access to free sanitary products in ways that provide choice and respect dignity, and to better understand the circumstances people are in that mean they cannot access sanitary products.”
This sort of approach to issues is important both logistically and socially. The project focused on low-income scenarios as well as used educational settings as a primary point of concern.
The program had women and girls sign up and presented different scenarios to them – some wherein the women were given money to buy their own sanitary products, and others where they were given free products. The participants were also asked a series of questions through which the project found that 58 percent of participants had been unable to purchase sanitary products in the past. The main reasons for the difficulty in accessibility are related to affordability.
The pilot study also focused on students. In this group, they found that accessing sanitary products had presented difficulties for around a third of college and university participants, while just under a quarter had been unable to purchase products.
The pilot program has been considered a success for those involved, both by establishing a better understanding of how access to sanitary products effects women and girls in Scotland and by exploring the best way to provide needed services to those individuals. Through this project, the Scottish government has been prompted to take action.
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said, “It is unacceptable that anyone in Scotland should be unable to access sanitary products and I am pleased that we are able to work with FareShare to make products available more widely through the services delivered by their partners.”
The pledge by the Scottish Government to work with FareShare is especially poignant because it sends a message to women and girls living in Scotland that their needs are being acknowledged and understood. FareShare works with over 1,000 community organizations and charities across Scotland and, with support from the government, the organization can hopefully continue to help people across the country.
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