Today, over 2.3 billion people do not have a safe and private toilet, and a billion have no choice but to defecate in the open.
This is a deadly crisis. Where people don’t have safe water and adequate sanitation, disease spreads fast. Over 500,000 children die every year from diarrhea as a result.
For women and girls, no access to a toilet means no dignity, no privacy and no safety – they often wait until dark to find a quiet place to defecate, increasing the risk of attack or rape.
Without toilets in schools, children are left to defecate in the open. This makes them vulnerable to diarrheal illnesses and causes them to miss lessons. Girls in particular are affected by a lack of private toilets, and often drop out completely when they start menstruation. Recruiting teachers into schools without decent sanitation is also difficult.
Our current project involves the construction of Boys & Girls VIP latrines (Ventilated Improved Pit latrines) at the primary school in rural Ambo town! The current latrines are completely inadequate for a school of this size (2 stalls for 460 students), and even lack doors for privacy (see photo).
The new latrines will feature a separate block consisting of 5 regular stalls and 1 handicap accessible stall for each gender, for a total of 12 stalls.
Many children with disabilities do not attend school for want of an accessible toilet. Children with disabilities often report that they try to drink and eat less to cut down the number of times they need to go to the toilet, especially if they have to ask someone to help them. The two larger handicap accessible stalls (one for each gender) will be used exclusively by those with physical impairments and equipped with raise toilet seats.
The girls latrine block will also include a wash room with running water to facilitate menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Without a clean and private toilet, menstruating girls often miss school due to pain, or embarrassment. Over time, this can impact their education and after years of struggling without toilets, menstruation can push them to drop out altogether.
Education about menstruation and simple, hygienic facilities to manage menstruation can help keep girls in school and help change their futures. We believe that women and girls have the right to manage menstruation safely. Without safe water and sanitation, women and girls’ health suffers and they are subjected to the humiliation of trying to find somewhere private to change.
We're working to change this. With help from our local partners, we will address the taboos surrounding menstruation by teaching women, girls and their families how to manage their periods.
Each block will also have a hand washing station (see drawing), as well as a small water reservoir to hold water in case of a service interruption from the municipal supply.
The total cost of this improved sanitation and hygiene project is $34,168.00.