Who would imagine that a bathroom door might help girls’ attendance in schools? In our project in Swaziland, this is precisely what we see. Girls who are menstruating often miss school because they do not have privacy when they go to the bathroom.
This is an example of the kind of information our project team in Swaziland collects during their visits to schools:
- Most of the schools have poor toilets for the students (in some schools teachers share with the students or they must walk to their respective teacher houses): they are not safe for use some are at the virtue of sinking and some don’t have seats (students stand on their feet when using the toilet). Most of the toilets have a stinking smell and in some schools the students during the survey confessed of not using the toilet at all.
- Few schools provide cleaning/wiping material for the students to use in the toilets. A teacher reported that they have never thought of providing such material. In one school the school chairperson stated that the students used stones; at some point in time they had thought the toilets were full of waste and tried to use chemicals to lower the levels and only found out that it was not human waste filling the toilets.
- Girls reported that they need assistance with supply of sanitary towels and that they must be educated on menstruation issues. Some stated that they need proper toilets that will provide privacy for them, as some of the students peep on what they are doing when in the toilet: thus forcing some of them to miss school during their menstruation period.