It is normal for girls to skip 5 days of school during their monthly period and there is a lot of misunderstanding around the subject of menstruation. . We believe that, although normal, this is not acceptable.
With studies showing that every year of school increases a girl’s future earning power by 10 to 20 percent and can reduce the risk of HIV and delay teenage pregnancy, keeping girls in school is a must. But, unsafe water and sanitation, hygiene (WASH) make that impossible.
EI is already responding to this need by delivering a programme of holistic training sessions through the Nguvu na Hadhi (Strength and Dignity) project. These sessions provide physiological, social, and spiritual guidance around the taboo topics of menstruation and puberty. These newly empowered girls are now equipped to deal with their changing bodies, but the schools need to catch up to enable them to attend.
These schools have limited sanitation services, specifically crude pit latrines that are unhygienic and insufficient in number. We are looking to assist three primary schools by refurbishing some of their existing latrine facilities to meet basic sanitation standards and to construct new latrines and dignity changing rooms where appropriate. This will give these girls, and many more for years to come, a clean and private space to wash and change. Local standards require one cubicle per 20 students. Currently, each schoolgirl has to share a toilet with 100 others!
1. To equip schools with infrastructure and education on rainwater harvesting so 4,300+ students have access to water for proper handwashing and menstrual hygiene.
2. To improve and increase toilet facilities for 4,300+ students.
3. To build designated washing / changing rooms for menstrual hygiene purposes
Converting an existing latrine to a dignity space is simple:
Adding a shelf and hook allows girls to keep their hygienic items off the dirty floor.
A mirror allows them to check their appearance after using the facility.
A water supply allows them to rinse their reusable pad and wash their hands with soap and water.
A door with no gaps and a lock gives girls the privacy they deserve.
A covered toilet bowl reduces the smell and flies which bring disease.
Tiling the walls makes the space cleanable and feels more hygienic.
These small changes will make an incredible impact and can be added to existing latrines quickly and at a very low cost.
We are also proposing to make basic refurbishments to the boys’ latrines at the 3 schools.
Constructing new latrine blocks at two of the schools (9 cubicles in total) will help to reduce the burden on the existing facilities and will provide a clean modern space. Building new concrete tanks and refurbishing current tanks, as well as installing guttering, will ensure all schools can begin rainwater harvesting.
This project will take 3 months to complete once started.