girls use the same toilets as boys; the boys may harass them regarding their
menstrual blood, or even try to rape them. This is shown by numerous female
respondent learners who were interview and expressed their concerns in the
discussions that follow. In South Africa and the DRC including other SADC countries,
the issue of borehole toilet is not new.
It is not new because it has affected both boys who have paid a very tragic price that
has taken away the life of children in their place of learning. It is tragic because the
lost one child in a place of learning such as the five years old Michael Komape who
died in the sinking toilet at school in 2014 should be an interpellation for South both
the African government and the SADC as a hole.
2. What is going on?
For example, even though that the Basic Education Department of South Africa was
warned and heard in the Limpopo court 10 years ago, the borehole or sinking toilet
issues is not yet solved (News 24, 2017).This ongoing situation in Limpopo `schools
and the whole South African seems to show that there is somewhere and somehow
an wide negligence, children rights abuse and ignorance of the danger through
which children are going through in schools.Similarly, this negligence, children rights
abuse and ignorance seem to be depicted in the far Northern SADC country, the
DRC.Thus, one of borehole/sinking toilet victims puts forward the view that :
I started asking myself how my parents and especially my school seem to ignore the
importance of my reproductive health. It is has been also my question and pain
related to the experience we live in schools where female sanitary-ware is really
lacking. As girls we used to share an unroofed toilet with boys. At the same time, the
toilet is not safe. We are just using these toilets at our own risk. The risk is that one
can fall into that deep bare hole or being surprise by a snake bite. The fear of these
bare-hole toilets thus forces the learners to use the thick bush. In terms of
menstruation protection measures, I carry an old cloth that I keep in my plastic bag.
But, if I forget to bring it, in case of any menstrual time's surprise I use the soft tree
leaf called `Kisambila' leaf. This is a tree with soft leaves that is commonly also being
used as toilet tissue as well as a menstruation pads
The photograph below showsa school sinking toilets A and B with a hole in the
ground, which is a typical toilet in rural DRC and South Africa. The toilet has no roof
and no door. This makes it difficult for girls to use the toilets during their menstrual
periods due to fear of being seen or harassed by the boys. Figure A, shows one of
the toilets at one of School which is in a thick bushy and grassy area. This toilet
poses a risk of snakebites and possibilities of being ambushed by boys or rebels.
(picture, K.L.Lubadi 2016)
Figure A. Typical toilets in rural DRC
Petillonettealso complained about walking through overgrown paths and bushes to
get to the toilets saying that
"it is scary too because there are snakes all over".
(K.L.Lubadi photo, 2016)
Figure D. Toilets in DRC School (above)
Kabila argued that:
Most disturbing issue worrying me as a young girl is that we are girls exposed
to health hazard as we share the same toilet with boys. I also worried about
the lack of toilet paper and female menstruation pads that we cannot even
find easily at our local tuck shops. So, in my menstruation periods use piece
of old cloths from my mother's African attires (kipindi kya kikwembe) to protect
myself. If I cannot get one then I use to abscond my classes
Lubadi photo, 2016)
Figure E. Drawing of a school with national flag at assembly point and, one shared toilet for both girls and boys
Dyese also said
After a walk, when we reach our school premises some times when I am
having my period I have to pay much attention so that no one knows about it
especially my teacher and all the boys. As there are no desks in our class we
seating on the dusty bricks. I find it very difficult to sit down and attend classes
while forbidden to wear trousers in school even if it has a uniform color.
The photograph below shows a classroom in School B where Dyese is a student.
There are no desks. The students seat on the brick structures and write on their laps.
Khau (2011) highlights the plight of girls in developing countries by looking at her
own experiences of having been a girl and a teacher in a rural school. The lack of
facilities for girls' reproductive health creates challenges for many poor girls to
access and succeed in their educational endeavors. According to Kirk and Sommer
(2006), the Rockefeller Foundation report highlights the prevalence of overcrowded
toilets in many sub-Saharan African schools.
3.Failling children and parents `efforts
UNICEF (2005) has also observed that about one in ten school-age African girls do
not attend school during menstruation, or drop out at puberty because of the lack of
clean and private sanitation facilities in schools. Safe facilities an environment in
schools have long a discussion without finding credible solutions in several SADC's
There has been an inconclusive debate about whether in DRC, South Africa and the
SADC as a whole borehole toilets have been banished in schools for the sake of
children safety. The foregoing discussion implies that the lake of solutions after long
debates and discussions on the scenario of borehole toilet threats have encouraged
this discussion in this paper. There is a needs of constructive discussion in this
paper because children need to grow up in a safe environment physically, mentally
and emotionally (South Africa Presidency, 2009).
Apart from the problems posed by lack of infrastructure, the girls face challenges of
meeting school requirements such as paying monthly fees or arriving at school on
Excerpt out of 8 pages
- Quote paper
- Kyungu Lubaba Lubadi (Author), 2018, What entail the Borehole Toilets in the SADC Schools today?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/432249