Dignity for Her- Empowering India’s adolescent girls through improved sanitation and hygiene

Adolescents | Mar, 2015

Poor sanitation and hygiene among adolescent girls in India is a problem of access and attitude. Dasra‘s report, Dignity for Her, discusses how this threatens the identity, health and potential of adolescent girls. It also profiles strategic solutions to the problem along with social organizations that are implementing these solutions through impactful and scalable models.

A lack of sanitation and hygiene facilities makes adolescent girls more vulnerable to the risks of sexual harassment and rape, undermining their confidence and the evolution of their changing identity. The fear of sexual assault, the need for privacy, and the generally unusable state of facilities results in, among other things, girls controlling their bladder for as long as 13 hours a day. This leads to long lasting repercussions on their reproductive, sexual and overall health.

To ensure improved sanitation and hygiene for adolescent girls in India, it is critical to partner with girls to identify and design solutions for their sanitation and hygiene needs. In addition to this, individual toilets should be prioritized over community toilets because private toilets not only ensure better privacy and dignity for adolescent girls, but are also cheaper, quicker to build, and more sustainable as a sanitation solution. Another key focus is to invest in school-based access and adoption of improved sanitation and hygiene, and promote sensitivity, not secrecy, towards adolescent girls‘ sanitation and hygiene needs.

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