A Single Toilet Can Mean Safety And Dignity For Girls
Girls who relieve themselves outdoors are often subjected to attacks and other awful risks.
About a third of the world doesn’t have access to a toilet, and it’s the girls and women in this underserved group who disproportionately suffer as a result.
Women and girls who have no choice but to relieve themselves outdoors in the open are at a higher risk of getting attacked, for example. And girls who don’t have access to sanitation at school often miss class when they menstruate.
To highlight the power a toilet has to empower and protect people, and the need to bring sanitation to those in need, UNICEF released an arresting photo series of people around the world and their toilets, on Tuesday’s World Toilet Day. The subjects each shared how gaining access to sanitation has brought them improved health, security and a greater sense of dignity.
Tulsi Prajapati shows the toilet in her house in Madhya Pradesh, India. About 50 million in Madhya Pradesh defecate in the open and half of children under 3 suffer from stunting, according to UNICEF.
A student washes his hands outside a toilet in a UNICEF-supported temporary learning center in Dolakha, one of the districts affected by the earthquake last year in Nepal. More than 90 percent of the district’s school buildings were damaged.
Girls wait in line to use latrines at the Lohanosy Primary School in Madagascar. A lack of separate toilets often leads girls to miss school, according to UNICEF. The organization supported the construction of the water and sanitation facilities, classrooms and a sports field.
“My children use the potty and then I empty it in the latrine. When they will be 5, they can start using the latrines,” says Djamila Mamane, 25, who has two children. “Me, I have been using the latrines for 4 years. There is a real difference of how life was then and nowadays. When you go to the toilets in the bush you can run into other people, this is really shameful.”
A girl carrying soap and a small pitcher approaches her family’s latrine in the village of Echet Tsaeda in Eritrea, a country in East Africa. Three villages in Fana, with support from UNICEF, were declared ‘open defecation free’ in 2012. That means all of their residents committed to building and using latrines and had renounced open-air defecation. That, in turn, protects their water supply and environment from contamination by human excrement.
Aidi Panoso toilet trains 3-year-old Mateo Visalla, one of her twin sons, at home in Totorenda, a Guaraní community in Bolivia. Before the family got a toilet and running water, they would relieve themselves in the bushes where there was a risk of getting bitten by snakes