City and town-wide assessments of female-friendly public and community toilets

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Gender, Sanitation, Equality, inclusion and human rights
A defunct toilet in a community health centre in Uttar Pradesh, India. 7 June 2021
Image: WaterAid/ Anindito Mukherjee

Read our assessments of female-friendly public and community toilets in four towns or cities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Tanzania, and our summary analysis and recommendations.

In 2018 WaterAid, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) and UNICEF published Female-friendly public and community toilets: a guide for planners and decision makers. This guide outlined the need for female-friendly and inclusive public and community toilets, highlighting the fact that poor access to sanitation disproportionately affects women and girls because of their social and cultural roles, responsibilities, restrictions, biology and physiology, including menstrual needs. The guide outlines essential and desirable features needed to make toilets female friendly, and how to assess the gaps at city and local levels to support development of local strategies to address those gaps and change city and municipal guidelines around construction of shared sanitation facilities.

To put this methodology into practice, WaterAid Bangladesh, WaterAid India, WaterAid Nepal and WaterAid Tanzania developed tools for conducting surveys of public and community toilets in selected towns. These surveys resulted in four country-specific assessment reports, which classify the level of female-friendly public and community toilets, the quick wins and long-term changes needed, and key lessons.

In the four-country summary learning report, we have drawn together the lessons learned by analysing the results across the four cities or towns, and made suggestions for organisations or stakeholders who wish to carry out similar city-wide assessments.