Female-friendly public and community toilets: a guide for planners and decision makers

Posted by
WaterAid, WSUP and Unicef
Gender, Sanitation, Menstrual hygiene, Urban, Equality, inclusion and human rights
Irma, a public toilet attendant in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city.
Image: WSUP

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More than one in three people across the world don't have a decent toilet of their own. But it's not just a question of lacking a household toilet – low availability of public and community toilets is also an issue. And where they do exist, these facilities often don't meet the needs of women and girls, undermining their rights.

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The Female-friendly public and community toilets guide (PDF), published in October 2018 and written by WaterAid, UNICEF and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor, is designed primarily for use by local authorities in towns and cities that are in charge of public and community toilets. It is also useful for national governments, public and private service providers, NGOs, donors and civil society organisations who play a role in delivering sanitation services.

The guide explains why toilets must be female friendly and details the essential and desirable features needed to make them so. It also suggests ways to increase gender sensitivity in town planning on sanitation, and draws recommendations and practical steps from existing literature, expert opinion, and analysis of pioneering experiences from around the world.

You can also watch a webinar on the guide, recorded in April 2019:


The female-friendly toilet guide in action

To pilot this methodology, we 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. Read these assessments, and the four-country analysis and recommendations.