Three hundred million African women lack adequate sanitation

70 per cent of women have no access to a safe toilet

297 million African women and girls lack safe and adequate sanitation, with 107 million of those unable to access a toilet at all, a new survey reveals.

In the run up to World Toilet Day on November 19 – a day aiming to raise awareness of the global sanitation challenge – a survey commissioned by WaterAid has found that seven in 10 women in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to a safe toilet, threatening their health and exposing them to shame, fear, and violence.

The survey found that one in five had first or second hand experience of verbal harassment and intimidation, or had been threatened or physically assaulted in attempting to go to the toilet.

‘When women don’t have a safe, secure and private place to go to the toilet they are exposed and put in a vulnerable position and when they relieve themselves in the open they risk harassment’ said Barbara Frost, chief executive of WaterAid.

‘Women are reluctant to talk about it or complain, but the world cannot continue to ignore this,’ she continued.

In addition to the risk of harassment, poor hygiene has serious implications on health. Every day, over 1,000 African mothers lose a child to diarrhoeal diseases caused by lack of adequate sanitation and clean water.

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