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63Mn girls lack access to toilets in India

As India celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, this year, a strategic philanthropy foundation, Dasra revealed the other side of the coin that adolescent girls who are nearly 10% of the country’s population do not have access to private toilets. In its report, the foundation observes,

“63 million out of India’s 120 million adolescent girls, lack access to a private toilet. That is more than the population of Italy, and roughly equivalent to the population of the United Kingdom.”

Almost 3,34,000 children under age five die every year due to inadequate sanitation. That is 915 children every day.

“Besides the lack of facility, the problem is the traditional, almost institutionalized, culture of misinformation and taboo-driven silence around the issue of menstrual hygiene among women and adolescent girls. For many more than 63 million, the introduction to and subsequent experience of menstrual hygiene every month is almost entirely educated by ignorance, guesswork and societal censorship.”

In order to achieve improved sanitation and hygiene for adolescent girls, Dasra recommends to adopt few strategies and approaches that are:

  • View girls as end users, not beneficiaries
  • Target adolescent girls to boost India’s sanitation and hygiene achievements
  • Move beyond the “menstruation hypothesis”
  • Engage boys and men in addressing girls’ hygiene and sanitation needs
  • Build data for the sector from the ground

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