News / Africa

Over a Billion Women Lack Safe Sanitation

Aminata Rabo, of Burkina Faso, lost a son to chronic diarrhea and a daughter to malaria. Credit: Water Aid
Aminata Rabo, of Burkina Faso, lost a son to chronic diarrhea and a daughter to malaria. Credit: Water Aid

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua
November 19 is World Toilet Day. It’s estimated that more than a billion women lack access to safe sanitation. The NGO WaterAid says a lack of adequate toilets puts women at risk of shame, disease, harassment and even violence.


WaterAid Chief Executive Barbara Frost said governments need to invest a lot more in sanitation to improve women’s health and livelihoods.

“On World Toilet Day, the message that WaterAid is putting out is that one in three women still don’t have a decent toilet. And what that means is that they have to wait until it’s after dark to go out and find a safe place to relieve themselves – a threat to their health, to their security, to their safety,” she said.

She said the problem is particularly bad in Africa, where seven out of ten women have no access to a safe toilet.

“Women and girls bear the brunt of poor sanitation and not having a decent toilet. And many girls drop out of school at puberty because there isn’t a safe place for them to wash when they’re menstruating. And also women spend so many hours looking after their children, who are sick as a result of diarrheal diseases,” she said.

WaterAid commissioned a survey in five slums in Lagos, Nigeria. It indicates that in the last year one in five women have experienced verbal harassment or intimidation, or were threatened physically, when going to the toilet. The NGO said studies in Uganda and Kenya have similar findings.

Frost added the lack of sanitation has other tragic consequences as well.

“Every day 2,000 mothers lose a child as a result of waterborne diseases, which is a terrible trauma and tragedy. And many other women are having to stay at home looking after their children, who’ve got diarrheal diseases as a result of drinking unsafe water or using poor sanitation,” she said.

WaterAid has programs in 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid