"A safe and sanitary school environment will help girls to excel in school."

— Médiatrice Mushimiyimana

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Think About the Young Girls

Building Latrines for Girls to Avoid Sexual Assault and Keep Girls in School

In most primary and secondary schools, there are only unisex latrines. Not only are many girls embarrassed to use the toilet at the age of menstruation due to insufficient sanitation facilities, but many are also targets for sexual assault, resulting in poor academic performance and high drop-out rates. Before starting their operations, the team completed a baseline study on the core issue, finding a number of surprising results. Among local school children: 72% of the boys had seen girls without their clothes on, 50% of whom watched girls in the latrines, and 19% of whom admitted to taking clothes off girls by force. Among girls, 32% choose not to attend school during their menstrual cycle, a third because of being spied on and laughed at by boys and a third because of the lack of sanitary facilities. Among restaurants in the local community, 100% have only unisex latrines, and 33% have had issues with rape in those latrines.

This 35 member team in the Byimana sector is constructing separate sanitation facilities for girls and offering education to the community about sexual violence and girls biological needs. Their objectives are:

  • To reduce violence against girls at school
  • To improve girls' performance and achievement at school
  • To reduce cases of pregnancy among primary school students
  • To see that parents provide for girls' biological needs
  • To increase the number of schools that provide sanitary facilities for girls

Following their baseline study, the team conducted an educational workshop with 94 teachers, 250 young people, 300 parents and 20 local restaurant owners regarding the violence facing girls and the need for more protection and reproductive health education for students. They have set up anti-violence clubs in the school and will be performing plays about the issue to reach the general public. As a result of their proactive community education process, the team quickly raised the matching funding they needed from their own community to construct the latrines.

As a result of the leadership, community engagement and success of this venture, one of the team members was promoted to headmistress at another school where she continues to be an active change agent.

Project Details

Think About the Young Girls

Location: Byimana Sector, Kigali City
Team Members: 35
Beneficiaries: 635 Girls
Launched: 2008

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