Conference in Cape Town highlights the need for safe communal female toilets

The AfricaSan5 conference taking place in Cape Town this week will address the challenges of bringing hygienic and safe toilet facilities to masses of women around the world.

The acting director of the Global Policy Team at the international NGO WaterAid, Andrés Hueso says 2.3 billion people don't have a decent toilet at home.

He attributes this challenge to a lack of political will to fix the problem.

It is important that people have access to a toilet at home. When you achieve that, many problems are solved in terms of safety for women and privacy.

Andrés Hueso, Acting director of the Global Policy Team - WaterAid

It is important that we ensure that public toilets are safe for women and children. The use of community or public toilet that are not well-designed increases vulnerability for women to violence and insecurity.

Andrés Hueso, Acting director of the Global Policy Team - WaterAid

Hueso highlights some of the elements to be considered when designing communal toilets to make them safe for women.

He says the pathway to the facility needs to be well illuminated, the toilet door needs to close properly, there need to be hygienic sanitary bins, separate entrances and if possible an attendant present.

This requires a change of paradigm. We are used to top-down planning where people who know everything, in many cases men, decide what women and children in townships need in public space. That really needs to change.

Andrés Hueso, Acting director of the Global Policy Team - WaterAid

When these issues are discussed in city planning level we need to consult women and vulnerable groups.

Andrés Hueso, Acting director of the Global Policy Team - WaterAid

To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Conference in Cape Town highlights the need for safe communal female toilets


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