Tag Archives: girls toilets

Yes, hygiene and school enrolment are directly proportional

In Bangladesh, the lack of separate latrines for girls and menstrual hygiene facilities in secondary schools are major factors in the disproportionate rate of absence and dropout of adolescent girls.

Sabrina Shaidullah Sabrina Shahidullah

A study undertaken in Bangladesh revealed an 11 per cent increase in girls’ enrolment mainly due to the provision of sanitary toilets.” –Technical paper series/IRC

In Bangladesh the standard number of toilets in schools has been set as a minimum of one toilet for every 60 students. However, this is far from being achieved. The infographic below shows that on average, schools in Bangladesh have half the number of toilets required. However, although 94 per cent of schools have latrines within the compound, a large number remain unusable because they are dirty or broken.

BRAC WASH School Sanitation graph

Source: UNICEF WASH for school children South Asia Report, 2012

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India, Kerala: “Green Army” school hygiene cartoons

Cartoons promoting promoting hygiene and cleanliness on e-toilets. Photo: The Hindu

An Indian e-toilet manufacturer has partnered with a local animation institute to create hygiene promotion cartoons for schools.

Eram Scientific Solutions with Toonz Academy has created the “Green Army” cartoon characters to make students aware of cleanliness and hygiene. The characters were selected based on a competition conducted among the students of the academy.

Crow, the sweeper of nature, keeps the surroundings clean by eating up the organic wastes. Earthworm, known as the plough of farmers, ploughs the soil and keeps it fertile, frog eats up the insects, mushroom absorbs all the organic waste dissolving them in soil and the cat buries its excreta. These soldiers will reach out to various schools along with two more characters Shuchi and Joy, to teach the students about the necessity of keeping the place tidy.

The Green Army premiered at the South Govt Girls Higher Secondary School (GGHSS) in Ernakulam, Kerala, as part of the  suchi@school (Sustainable Comprehensive Hygiene Initiative) project. The project aims to ensure adequate sanitation facilities in all government and government-aided schools in Ernakulam district.

The cartoon characters can be seen on the walls of school model Delight e-toilets supplied to the Ernakulam school by Eram Scientific Solutions.

Related news: India, Kerala: girls’ school in Ernakulam first to get e-toilet, Sanitation Updates, 27 Jul 2011

Related web sites:

Source: Green army all set for action!, The Hindu, 08 Aug 2011

India, Kerala: girls’ school in Ernakulam first to get e-toilet

A government girls’ school in Ernakulam, Kerala, will soon be the first school in the country to get an electronic public toilet.

This is part of the suchi@school (Sustainable Comprehensive Hygiene Initiative) project, an initiative of local CPI (M) Member of Parliament comrade P. Rajeev. The project aims to ensure adequate sanitation facilities – toilets and urinals – in all government and government-aided schools in Ernakulam district.

A number of schools will be fitted with e-toilets, which have automatic doors and will self-clean after each use. Where water is scarce, recycling units using biomembrane reactors will be installed.

There are also plans for installing electronic sanitary napkin disposal systems.

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Nepal: separate toilets for schoolgirls – a justified investment?

Nepal may be justifying a US$ 15 million investment in separate school toilets for girls for the wrong reasons suggests an IRIN news article.

The government says separate toilet would:

reduce the number of girls missing classes or dropping out because of the lack of private changing facilities during menstrual cycles – despite a recent study suggesting menstruation has very little to do with why girls attend school less regularly than boys.

While improved school sanitation may improve health, Emily Oster, one of the principal authors of a study in Nepal of the impact of menstruation on school attendance said:

“As far as we know, there is no quantitative evidence of the impact of separate toilets on girl’s schooling… what we can say based on our paper is that menstruation has only a very tiny impact on schooling for girls.”

This view was supported by Bed Prasad Kaju, headmaster of Sanjewani Model High School, a state school in Dhulikhel Municipality, 20km north of Kathmandu:

“The girl students have bigger problems than menstruation affecting their studies or class attendance, like helping their parents in household chores”. […] He said his school did not have enough toilets but more than 50 percent of his 1,100 students were girls. They attended regularly and their achievements matched those of the boys, he added.

Most of Nepal’s 28,000 state secondary schools lack girls’ toilets and in the few that do have them at least 250 girls are forced to use one latrine, said education specialist Helen Sherpa from international NGO World Education.

The new government scheme plans to install separate girls’ toilets in 5,500 secondary schools by the end of 2011, and in all secondary schools by 2014-15, said Khagaraj Baral, director of planning at the Department of Education.

Related web site: WASH in Schools

Source: IRIN, 18 Ma 2011

Nepal: Govt. to construct girl-friendly toilets in 5500 schools

The government is all set to construct girl-friendly toilets in 5500 community schools throughout the country to enroll more girl students in the schools. The government has allocated Rs. 1.1 billion [US$ 15 million] for the purpose. According to Department of Education, the drop out rate of girl students has increased due to lack of girl-friendly toilet in schools.

The school enrollment rate of girl students is 87 percent in primary level and 84 percent in secondary level. However, the drop out rate is 7 percent in primary level and 11 percent in secondary level (class 10).

“Various researches and studies have shown that dearth of girl friendly toilet in school premises is one of the reasons for girl students’ dropping out of schools. Therefore, the government has given priority to toilet construction in schools,” the Department of Education states.

“Menstruating girl students often remain absent due to lack of separate toilets for them,” said Gita Kharel, Principal, Ratna Rajya School Baneshwor, adding, “The government is doing a good job of constructing girl-friendly toilets this year.” “There is need of such toilets in the districts outside the Kathmandu Valley,” she added.

Deputy Director and chief of Gender Equity Section at Department of Education Ganesh Prasad Poudel told that the government is allocating Rs. 200,000 [US$ 2,730) to each community school for constructing a toilet. “In the absence of separate toilets for girls and boys, many girl students do not attend school regularly. Therefore, the government has given priority to construction of girl-friendly toilet,” said Poudel, adding, “We will construct necessary infrastructures so that girl students can change their sanitary pads during their menstruation period and maintain personal hygiene.” There are 32,000 community schools throughout the country.

Related web site: WASH in Schools

Source: Kantipur / NGO Forum, 31 Jan 2011

Spending a penny- schools, female toilets and increased GDP in Nepal

Like many 15-year olds girls, Sabina Roka used to get embarrassed in front of the boys in her class, though Sabina’s worries were not about spots and trainers. Sabina goes to Simle School in Nepal and until recently she had to use the boys’ toilets because there were no girls-only facilities. This was not only embarrassing – especially when she had her period – but insufficient number of toilets can result in illness, high absenteeism, drop-outs from school and even an impact on the national economy.

“Before the school had toilets we used to go into the bush and hide under the bamboo,” Sabina told WaterAid, who built the new toilets, “sometimes the boys would see us and tease us. We were embarrassed.”

For students in the UK the very idea of going to the toilet in front of their classmates – boys or girls – would be simply horrifying but it is a reality for millions of children across the world. In a survey of 60 developing countries the report, Raising Clean Hands by a number of non-governmental organisations including Save the Children, CARE and the World Health Organisation (WHO), found that two-thirds of school children in these countries do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. In Nepal, as in many developing countries, this has been driving students, and in particular girls, out of schools.

Hitting puberty is complicated enough at the best of times and yet when you don’t have private female toilets, things get even trickier. Sabina explains how during menstruation “we didn’t have anywhere to go and change our pads. After each lesson there is a bell and then we have to go to the next class. If you aren’t there in time you miss the class and so when we had our period we often had to attend one class and then miss the next.’ Many girls find it easier to stay at home when they are menstruating. This results in 10-20% absenteeism each academic year by girls.

It is not just embarrassment keeping bright female students like Sabina out of the classroom but illness too. UNICEF estimates that in schools in developing countries one toilet can be shared by more than 50 students and that can lead to a spread of diseases such as diarrhoea. The World Health Organisation estimates that 40% of cases of diarrhoea are picked up at school, and globally the disease is responsible for the deaths of 4000 children each day. The disease also leads to a loss of 272 million school days each year.

Things have gotten better at Simle School. WaterAid has built gender-sensitive toilets for boys and girls and provided training in proper hygiene for students and staff. This has led to a marked improvement in attendance and health. The report Raising Clean Hands shows that providing toilets for girls can result in increasing the attendance of female students by up to 11%.

“We really struggled before and it’s hard to compare then and now as there is so much improvement,” Sabrina said, standing in front of the new school toilets, “we feel very happy that we don’t need to miss classes anymore and that we can carry on with our studies .”

Another consequence of facilitating girls’ education is the impact on the economy. Research shows that girls like Sabina who are educated are better protected from exploitation and AIDS, less likely to die during childbirth and more likely to raise a healthy baby. The Raising Clean Hands report states that for every 10% increase in female literacy a country’s economy grows by 0.3%. Indeed the economic benefits of investment in sanitation have also been proven by reports from UN-Water which show gains of $3 to $34 per every $1 invested, leading to a gross domestic product increase of 2-7 per cent.

Taken all together, it would seem reasonable that there should be an investment in adequate sanitation systems for girls in schools. However, in Nepal, a country where 55% of the people live below the poverty line there is little money to build toilets.

The government of Nepal has recognised that proper sanitation is important to its country. The National Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Policy (2008) describe the need for sanitation as being necessary “not solely for reasons of moral obligation, but because it is in the best public interest to do so.”

It has also proclaimed its commitment to the Millennium Development Target (MDT) by setting an objective to ensure that in the next five years half the number of people who currently do not have access to toilets will get proper sanitation facilities.

The organisation Nepal Water for Health estimates that to achieve this goal they will need to build 14,000 toilets a month. The government needs international aid to achieve this but the amount of aid for sanitation projects has been falling. A recent report by the UN- Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking water shows aid commitments for water and sanitation fell from 8% of total development aid to 5% between 1997 and 2008, a neglect the WHO calls “a strike against progress” .

At Simle school female students are enjoying a basic “luxury”: having the sanitation facilities to stay healthy and to remain in school. Not all female students in Nepal are so lucky. Toilets are one of the least glamorous of topics and are commonly ignored by school administrations, governments and now the developmental aid sector.

For students like Sabina, an investment in toilets can pay dividends, not only at a personal level but also to the wider economy, benefiting an entire generation. Now it falls to donors, international aid agencies and the Nepalese government to ensure sufficient investment in toilets, so that many more girls like Sabina can realise their potential with dignity.

This feature was written between 6 March and 30 April 2010 as part of the Guardian International Development Journalism Competition.

Source – http://www.guardian.co.uk/journalismcompetition/schools-female-toilets-nepal

Sudan, Mundri: better hygiene means more girls stay in school

Many girls who do manage to go school in South Sudan, are forced to stay home one week a month – that’s three months a year, because there is no money to buy sanitary napkins. The Swedish SCA group, through its brands Libresse, Edet and Tork, is sponsoring a project by Oxfam Novib and Mundri Relief and Development Association (MRDA) to improve school sanitation in South Sudan.

Together with MRDA, Libresse is providing scholarships to girls and comfort kits, hygiene bags that include sanitary napkins, soap, underwear and washing powder. Edet is financing the construction of school toilets in the Mundri region of South Sudan. Tork is providing rainwater harvesting systems, soap and handwashing facilities.

The budget for the three-year project (2010-2012) in Mundri is 4.5 million and aims to cover 55 schools and build 16 rainwater harvesting systems. SCA and Oxfam Novib launched their partnership on 17 March 2010. Libresse and Edet are donating part of the proceeds from the sale of their personal hygiene products (sanitary napkins, toilet paper and tissues) to the project. Consumers who buy the products are also encouraged to donate money to the project through Oxfam Novib.

Libresse and Edet have launched campaign web sites for the Mundri school sanitation project. The media campaign also includes a promotional TV commercial that is currently airing on Dutch TV.

In March 2010, SCA’s Tempo brand donated 200,000 Euros to WaterAid for water and sanitation projects in Uganda.

Campaign web sites (in Dutch): Oxfam Novib ; SCA Hygiene Helpt ; Edet helpt ; Libresse helpt ; Tork helpt

See below a Oxfam Novib promotional video and the TV commercial for the school sanitation project in Mundri that is currently airing on Dutch TV.

India, Karnataka: no toilets in half of State’s schools

Half of the schools in Karnataka have no toilets.  In every fourth high school, girls have to share toilets with boys!

These shocking revelations are among the findings of a nation-wide survey on the condition of schools and schoolchildren conducted by an NGO ‘Pratham’.

Although the survey ‘Assessment Survey Evaluation Research 2009’ (ASER 2009) indicates a marginal improvement for Karnataka in a number of parameters, the State seems to have left this most primordial of needs to nature’s devices. The survey was conducted in October – November 2009 in 133 primary schools and 623 middle and high schools across both government and private schools in all 27 educational districts of the State.

The findings of the survey state that 51.9 per cent of primary schools in the State do not have usable toilets and a further 11.5 per cent do not even have the infrastructure. This marks a steep decline from a ASER 2007 survey, which stated that only a little over 10 per cent of the primary schools had unusable toilets.

Similarly, 48.7 percent of the middle and high schools in Karnataka do not have usable toilets with about 5.5 per cent of them not even having the infrastructure. Toilet facilities in high schools too have seen a sharp decline as ASER 2007 had put the number at around 20 percent.

But perhaps a more damning indictment of the infrastructure at schools in the State is the stark statistic that says that 42 percent of primary schools and 25 percent of middle and high schools have no separate toilets for girls.

In fact, the survey points out that only 35 per cent of the girls’ toilets are usable.

-51.9 pc of primary schools in the state do not have usable toilets
– 48.7 pc of the middle and high schools do not have usable toilets
– 42 pc of primary schools in the state have no separate toilets for girls
– 25 pc of middle and high schools in the state have no separate toilets for girls

For the whole of India, ASER 2009 reported that the percentage of schools with no water or toilet provision is declining over time. Water is available in 75% of government primary schools and 81% of upper primary schools. Useable toilets can be found in over 50% of government schools. Four out of ten government primary schools do not have separate toilets for girls. This number is lower for upper primary schools at 26%. About 12 -15% girls’ toilets are locked and only about 30 – 40% are useable.

Source: Kaushik Chakravarthy, Deccan Herald, 18 Jan 2010

India – Lack of toilets leads to girls leaving schools

india2Lack of toilets resulting in girls dropping out of schools in Orissa

Kendrapada : Lack of toilet facility is one of the major factors for the increase in drop-out ratio of girl children from government-run schools in Kendrapada district.

As many as 498 schools in the district do not have toilets in their campuses. Significantly, the drop-out of girls from these schools having no toilets is greater than those schools equipped with either latrines or toilets, according to official sources. A high-level meeting at the district headquarters held Tuesday to review the sanitation scheme threw light on this disturbing trend, they said.

Parents now prefer admitting their girl child in neighbouring schools having the basic sanitation facilities. To deal with the situation, authorities have been directed to ensure construction of toilet facilities in all schools by the end of this month, a senior official said.

Source – http://www.orissadiary.com/ShowDistrictNews.asp?id=14372

Ghana: stop violence against girls – build school toilets

Located at the heart of Central Regional capital, Cape coast is the Adisadel Primary and Junior High School, one of the most popular basic schools in Cape coast. […] 80 kilometres afar towards the northern part of the region is a community called Tintimhwe, a cocoa growing community with a basic school – Tintimhwe D/A primary school. Unlike the usual characteristic differences between rural and urban schools – quality school buildings, qualified teachers school library etc, there is characteristic similarity between the two schools in question – The lack of school toilets.

Perhaps another similarity, neither structural nor physical but attitudinal is that girls in both schools visit the bushes to attend to natures call whenever they are in school, and exposes them to the dangers of sexual and other forms of physical and psychological violence.

SVAGS-ActionAid[…] The Big lottery (U.K) Funded Stop Violence Against Girls in School (SVAGS) project [implemented by ActionAid in Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya] is concerned about making the school environment safer for girls through the institution and enactment of the requisite policies and legislations that focus specifically on alleviating violence tendencies against girls in school. On the occasion of Children’s Day in Ghana, it is time to pause and reflect on the state of child protection, survival and development policies and practices in Ghana, with a central focus, Violence Against Girls in school.

[T]he lack of separate toilets for girls as a major cause of absenteeism for girls in schools. Adequate toilet facilities require the provision of separate and decent toilets and urinals for boys and girls in school. In 2008, the Ministry of Education reported that only 48% out of the total number of 13,247 primary schools have access to toilet facilities in Ghana with the highest proportion of primary schools with toilets (90%) in Tema and the lowest (10%) in Kintampo South District. At the Junior High School Level, only 52% of public schools had toilets with the highest (93%) in Dangbe West in the Greater Accra Region and the lowest (9%) in the Juabeso district in the Western Region.

The absence of toilets for girls does not only affect school attendance but also contributes to the denial of their right to dignity and quality education. The national completion rate for boys at the primary level is 91% whereas that of girls is 79% which suggests that boys have 10% additional chances of completing primary school than girls. This is the reason why the gender parity ration is 1:0.96 as against the target of 1:1 that was missed as far back as 2005. The situation is attributed mainly to the absence of a comprehensive and operational infrastructural policy of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, even though the ministry claims there exist one on the face but has seen little or no implementation and coordination.

The result of the apparent laxity in implementing and coordinating the said policy (if it exists at all) is to blame for the over 16,000 basic schools without toilets. Before I proceed to make any recommendations to the Government, I would like to humbly request of the Ghana Education Service to inform Ghanaians on what it has been up to all these years, until the realization that up to 48% of our basic schools have no toilets. Did this happen overnight? …What about the past Parliamentary Select Committees on education and gender? …. And the Ministry of Women and Children. Were they aware our children, especially girls had no toilets in schools, and still expected them to pass and pass well? If they were aware, what did they do? What about the District Chief Executives who have led this county in the past….How did they feel in awarding school contracts that had no toilets at all? Children are a vulnerable group…with no voice and whose rights need to be protected and provided for. In that respect any person who attempts consciously or ignorantly acts in a manner as to deprive them of their right to dignity, development and survival cannot escape without blame.

[…] Ghana needs strong institutions who can prevent even an N.G.O from building a school in a locality just because it has no toilet facility in its design ; a Ghana Education Service that can prevent District Assemblies from building schools without separate toilets for girls..or a Ghana Education Service that can lobby and advocate for the inclusion of girl friendly facilities at the District Level. This is what we need…..An Education Service that can leverage the political interest of politically motivated DCE’s and the real development needs of the child ,especially girls…and a Civil Society that can monitor District Assemblies to make sure they implement infrastructure policies of the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education should collaborate with the GETFund, Social Investment Fund, International Donors and other funding agency in basic school infrastructure to adopt a common school design which includes separate toilets and changing rooms for girls. The support of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education could be sought n this respect, to facilitate the harmonization of institutional interests between the Ministry of Local Government , Education, Women and children. This should not be left for the Infrastructure Coordinating Unit of the Ministry. It should be at the Ministerial level with the participation of the Infrastructure Unit. After interagency consensus has been achieved on the policy, the Infrastructure Unit may now commence the actual work for which it was set up-monitor and coordinate compliance of District Assemblies to the infrastructure policy. The unit may seek a court order to prevent any District Assembly from putting up any school building without strict recourse to the infrastructural policy for basic schools.

What about the over 16,000 schools already built without toilets? District Assemblies should be encouraged to come out with collaborative strategies to construct separate toilets for girls in such schools. This could be done by community-District Assembly partnerships where the DA’s will provide cement and roofing sheets for such projects, with the communities donating labour, wood, and other local resources available. On children’s day, the 31st of August, the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition as part of the Stop Violence Against Girls in School project wishes to entreat all and sundry to renew our commitment as a nation to making the school environment and the world a safer place for children.

This opinion piece was written by Kofi Asare, National Program Officer, Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC)

Source: Kofi Asare, Public Agenda / allAfrica.com, 31 Aug 2009