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Dear Anjali Adukia,
I am so pleased to read your post. We have a large WASH project in Swaziland where we have built and improved sanitation infrastructure in 120 schools with USAID funding. The impact is considerable and headteachers confirm that attendance rates have increased after our intervention. I need to highlight that the project also included water systems, hand washing stations (including a very strong emphasis on handwashing after using the toilet, soap being an issue; the use of toilet paper and the safe disposal of menstrual pads), schoolgardens and my insistence on improving overall food security in schools (too many kids suffer from thirst and hunger in schools, this is unacceptable!) I can only strongly agree with your view and corroborate the need to act universally on sanitation issues in schools. I strongly support the idea of directing a larger part of development resources in funding sustainable sanitation infrastructure in schools as part of the effort to improve the quality of education. However include in this effort, the provision of water and food.
The data about unisex toilets is of great use to us as we are currently preparing a new project proposal for Swaziland but this time targeting pre-schoolers through Neighborhood Care Points (NCPs). From your experience, and experience from India, at what age is it important to introduce the idea of separate toilets for boys and girls? Do yo have any tangible/documented data that you can share? Thank you very much.