Having access to a toilet is something that we in the West take for granted but the lack of access to sanitation including a toilet has implications for at least 2.6 Billion folk in the developing world as Mark Tran explains in The Guardian,
Sanitation related diseases such as diarrhea impact the health of individuals and some argue that there is no point giving a child a nutritious meal if that child’s sanitation needs have not been addressed.
As I write, West African countries are grappling with the Ebola virus and so far over 900 are reportedly dead. According the World Health Organisation (WHO) Ebola is spread through human contact and one of the most effective ways of managing it is through basic hygiene, this means access to water, soap and toilets or in short, decent sanitation.
Girls and women
People that do not have access to a toilet will go wherever they can, and this includes plastic bags, alley ways, fields etc and you can imagine the impact of this on the water systems. But can you imagine the implications of this on girls and women?
According to the UN, women and girls that do not have access to a toilet face risks of Snake bites, Rape etc.
Then there is the issue of menstruation, which remains a taboo in some societies, it is never discussed and girls don’t always know what to expect nor how to deal with such changes when they occur. These circumstances are compounded by lack of access to proper sanitation.
Consequently girls do drop out of school when their periods start if they cannot access toilets, washing facilities and are forced into early marriages and without an education the life of poverty awaits them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We can all do our bit to effect change for women and girls and to that end Let Them Help Themselves Out of Poverty is hosting a fundraising event on 18 October 2014 at St Andrews Church Hall in Walton on Thames to raise money for a girls toilet and shower block.
Let Them Help Themselves Out of Poverty (LTHT) is a UK registered community regeneration Charity No. 1127387 and has been working in Ruhanga SW Uganda since 2008.
Our initial focus was the provision of social services, which have included building a new Nursery and Primary school for 500 children, and providing access to clean water via gravity fed water system, which now feeds fresh water from 20 taps into three schools and three different villages. Having completed these initiatives LTHT started to address the lack of access to jobs the village.
The current situation is that we are working with girls from a local secondary school on acquiring skills they can take to market and under this initiative (SKILLS 4 GIRLS) we have completed the construction of two classrooms but we can’t use them due to a lack of toilets and washing facilities for girls.
This is a waste of a very valuable resource and we hope you can help change that by either making a donation or by buying a ticket to our fundraising event https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sanitation-matters-to-girls-tickets-12111107649