Govt urged on separate toilets for girls, boys

Pupils seen using a dilapidated toilet that filled up at a school in Uganda. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • In Uganda, about 10 percent of girls miss about 20 percent of their school days due to menstruation. 

Government has been urged to construct separate pit-latrines and other sanitary facilities for boys and girls in schools if the dropout rate is to be minimised.

The Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) in their statement released at the weekend, revealed that according to the study they conducted recently, 10 percent of school girls miss school during their menstruation because some schools share pit-latrines.

“About 10 percent of girls miss about 20 percent of their school days due to menstruation; to boost the number of girls going to school and staying in school, it’s imperative to equip schools with water for drinking and washing, separate sanitary facilities and even sanitary napkins so girls can continue to go to school during their menstruation,” the executive director of FAWE Uganda, Ms Susan Opok Tumusiime, said.

FAWE also cited other factors deterring girls from thriving in school such as early marriages, the opportunity cost of school, lack of qualified female teachers and abuse.

“I was speaking to one of the head teachers of a school in Ntoroko District and he revealed that parents overate the age of girls so that they can marry them off for quick financial relief, and you can’t dispute a child’s age when the parent tells you so,” Ms Tumusiime said.

“The girls want to study but the hindrances to accessing education and studying in school are only just spiralling and need immediate action,” she added.

Ms Margaret Atim, the chairperson of the board of directors at FAWE, emphasised the lack of awareness and knowledge by parents and guardians about the importance of educating a girl child.

In the 2016 General Election campaigns in Alebtong District, President Museveni promised to avail free sanitary pads for all school going girls as a way to ensure that they remain in school as most would run away when their menses stated.

The promise has to date not yet been fulfilled.


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