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Girls’ absenteeism: Lack of WASH facilities in schools a major contributor

Participants at the WASH workshop

Participants at the WASH workshop

Musah Ibrahim, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) consultant, facilitated a training workshop organised by the Ghana WASH Journalists’ Network (GWJN) on the theme “achieving open defecation-free Ghana by 2030: the role of the WASH journalist” in Kumasi on 9 and 10 February 2023.

At the training, he said that the lack of water and toilet facilities in schools affects academic work. He added that students, particularly girls, absent themselves from school for about one week during their menstrual period because of this challenge. 

He expressed concern about the challenging experience of girls during this period, and the effect on their academic performance.

They are forced to attend to natures call in the bush. Sometimes, they are bitten by snakes in the bush.

He said that “Girls are absent from school for one week when they are in their menstrual period because there is no toilet facility in the school. There is no changing room specifically for girls.”

He was hopeful, however, that the challenge would be addressed by authorities.

The national coordinator for GWJN, Justice Adoboe, said the refresher training for members of GWJN was aimed at empowering them to identify and direct issues in the WASH sector to the appropriate authorities.

He added that the training was also geared towards the upcoming field exercise to ascertain the open defecation situation in 5 selected regions (Greater Accra, Savannah, Northern, Ashanti, and Western Regions) and develop workable solutions that the network can suggest to duty bearers to drive the country towards achieving open dedication-free status by 2030.

The selection of the regions was based on their peculiar situations. This will be used as a benchmark for the entire country and a call for action.


 Reporting by Tahiru Abdul-Washiru in the Savannah Region


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