Ghana girls lured back to school with better loos

// 18 July 2007

A project in Ghana is seeking to increase girls’ school attendance by installing better loos, notes A. from A Changing Life.

Plan International is behind the project, and has more information. Apparently girls often stay away from school when they have their periods, because the facilities are so poor. Basic improvements can bring girls back to school, and stop monthly absenteeism esculating into a situation where they drop out completely:

Plan Ghana decided to develop the girl-friendly latrines in response to the difficulties facing adolescent schoolgirls, who also have to cope with poor facilities – including inadequate water for washing, lack of privacy, lack of soap, non-functioning toilets and no disposal facilities.

The latrines also needed to be secure from access by dangerous animals, and in locations where girls were safe from rape or harassment. The design was developed following group consultations with girls. Each unit cost around US $3,500 to build.

In the new WCs:

  • There is a wash room that girls can use to change or clean themselves in privacy.

  • The squat holes are slightly bigger to cater for girls’ physiological urge to urinate while defecating.
  • Rain water is collected from the roof of the sanitary unit which makes it completely self-sufficient.
  • Water and soap are provided.

The charity educates school girls about basic hygiene. But, it’s heartening to note, also that “menstrual blood is not dirty or unhygienic and unclean”.

The group has installed 10 of these “girl-friendly” toilets so far, at a cost of $3,500 each. They have been so successful, they may be rolled out across the country.

Photo by steveh30, shared under a Creative Commons license

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