Why proper toilets are vital for keeping girls in education

In Bridget’s village in Rukungiri, Uganda, education is highly prized. Most families are banana farmers and recent harvests have been poor.

‘When I finish school, I want to become a nurse,’ says Bridget, 14, brimming with optimism. ‘So I need to stay healthy.’

But until recently, teenage girls like her watched their ambitions wither when they started their period.

Because the old toilets at Ndago Primary were virtually unusable, most teenage girls missed class for a week each month – and many left school altogether. Early marriage was suddenly a much more realistic prospect than a medical career.

‘If we felt sick, we’d miss class and that would affect our performance in exams,’ says Bridget.

Yet, all it took to transform Bridget’s prospects was the new toilet blocks which Toilet Twinning partner NKKD built – with separate changing rooms for girls. Within three months, 65 girls had re-enrolled in class.