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How latrines give girls a new lease on learning

It might seem obvious that poor hygiene can greatly affect health, but what might be less obvious is how a lack of latrines can prevent girls, in particular, from receiving an education.

When schools have no latrines or poor sanitation facilities, it becomes an unsafe environment, where girls are left the most vulnerable. Having to use open fields or insecure structures leaves them at risk of health complications, as well as abuse. Coupled with little to no menstrual support, many girls are forced to return home when in need of a safe latrine – or not come to school at all.

 


Thanks to your Community Sponsorship, we’ve just constructed 2 new gender-separate latrine blocks in Kita, giving close to 200 girls a sanitary space of their own at school!

 

“Before the girls were forced to use the family latrines to meet their needs,” explains Sountougoumba, a local mother of two daughters. “Today they have their own latrines at school and this allows them to follow the class courses and not be absent,” she adds.

“They feel more comfortable when they use the latrines.”

Two young men dig and work on the new latrine construction.

More men and boys are also engaged in the issue and eager to help give girls a chance to safely attend school. Here, local volunteers help build one of the new sets of latrines.

A smiling portrait of Nansa.

Nansa, 14, Grade 8





Today, local girls like Nansa and her younger sister Sadio are directly benefitting from the latrines.

“Thanks to Community Sponsorship, our school has new classrooms and latrines reserved for girls,” explains Nansa, who’s benefiting from the new infrastructure, as well as the increased girls’ education awareness activities.

“Parents now allow girls to go to school, as boys do,” she says.


A smiling portrait of Sadio.

Sadio, 8, Grade 3



“In our school we have latrines for girls and other for boys,” adds her younger sister, Sadio, who understands better than ever the key connection between hygiene and education.

“I must be in good health to be able to study.”

The sisters’ father, Sekouba, is equally pleased with the developments for girls – in both building, and outlook. “I can say there has been a change in the village, even beyond infrastructure,” he says. “Community members have had a new conscious awakening. We’ve learned that each parent must allow their daughter to go to school, as well as to prevent disease within our environment.”

The family of 8 smiles and poses for a group photo.

Nansa, Sadio, Sekouba and their family

Latrine blocks remove education barriers

“Plan International teaches us to satisfy the right of children to health and education – as well as to listen,” explains Sekouba, who says he’s now inspired to “play a role in leading parents to understand the importance of educating boys as well as girls.”

And, by complementing added support with a comfortable, safe and inclusive school environment, girls have a much clearer path to claim their right to learn.

3 sisters

Thank you from Nansa, Hawa and Sadio: 3 sisters ready to reach new heights of success, through your sponsorship!

“Now we girls we can continue our studies up to a higher level,” shares Nansa, who’s already working towards big future plans. “When I grow up, I’d like to become executive secretary.”

And with you helping her leap over hurdles along the way, one thing’s for certain: someday she can.

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