Young women organized to operate a public toilet
Young women in Ichak Kala and Bara (in Hazaribad district of Jharkhand) restored a dysfunctional public toilet as a part of their action projects within CREA’s It’s My Body (IMB) program.
The IMB program advances sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), builds knowledge and understanding on issues around gender and sexuality, and builds leadership and life skills of young women and girls using curriculum-based learning and sports. The action project, a component of the program, is designed to give young women the opportunity to use their learnings to bring attention to the challenges related to their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Lok Prerna Kendra is one of CREA’s IMB partners that conducts curriculum-based sessions with young girls within their district. During a group discussion with IMB participants of Lok Prerna Kendra, the young women and girls shared about the mobility restriction created by the lack of access to a public toilet, especially while menstruating. As a part of their action project, they wrote a collective letter to the Block Development Officer (BDO), requesting the restoration of a dysfunctional public toilet. The collective (group of young women and girls) visited the BDO to raise their concerns, only to get ignored, rejected, and disappointed. The collective then escalated the matter on local media channels and local newspapers. Within a week after that, the collective visited the Sub–Divisional Magistrate (a higher ranking officer) and shared their concerns along with the response of the local officer. The Magistrate quickly accepted their request and the public toilet became operational.
As a result of the action project, young women and girls were able to assert their rights and hold the local governing officials accountable for providing a functioning public toilet. The new functional public toilet and the restoration of young women and girls’ access to mobility and comfort is a testimony to the capacity of the girls to demand and establish their rights.