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Why the absence of sanitation and hygiene services causes girls to drop out of school.
The Guardian's podcast episode 'Why are 63 million girls missing out on education?' draws attention to several critical issues which lead to girls dropping out of school in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of the causes is the lack of sanitation and hygiene services at schools.
For example, the absence of safe and clean toilets. Girls are very vulnerable to harassment or worse when looking for a place to defecate. Sheltered toilets at schools are essential for girls to have a decent private toilet-routine. These facilities are especially important during menstruation, because they are able to change and dispose of their sanitary products in a hygienic way and wash their hands nearby.
Unfortunately not all girls have access to sanitary products in the first place.The family cannot afford it; there are not enough resources in the village to produce them; or due to a negative cultural attitude towards menstruation the family does not prioritize the purchase of sanitary items.
The Guardian's podcast episode informs the listeners about ongoing projects which address the underlying issues why so many girls are missing out on education. In addition, IRC's research report on menstrual hygiene management in Uganda gives more insight in the impact of menstrual hygiene on girls in school. More relevant information concerning the improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services at schools can be found on the IRC-hosted website WASH in Schools.