The female-friendly guide written by WaterAid, UNICEF and WSUP, is designed primarily for use by local authorities in towns and cities who are in charge of public and community toilets. It’s also useful for national governments, public and private service providers, NGOs, donors and civil society organisations who play a role in delivering these services.

The guide explains why toilets must be female-friendly, before detailing the essential and desirable features needed to make them so. It also suggests ways to increase gender sensitivity in town planning on sanitation.

The guide draws the recommendations and practical steps from existing literature, expert opinion and analysis of pioneering experiences from around the world.


The primary sector influence aims of the present research are to generate evidence that can support judgements on minimum criteria for high-quality shared sanitation, internationally and in the three countries, and to provide evidence-based support to the development of relevant international and national policy documents that (in their turn) influence the investments of stakeholders including national governments and development funders.

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Women and girls primarily bear the responsibility for household water supply and child care, and are the most affected by poor sanitation.

The amount of time spent locating and collecting water represents a major barrier to economic gain and empowerment as it reduces time available for income generating activities and school attendance.

This paper highlights how WSUP is driving sector change with gender inclusive services.

Empowering adolescent girls through user-centred design

Well-designed school toilets lay the foundation to change children’s hygiene behaviour. Through user-centred design approaches, WSUP is working to best create facilities that are appropriate for girls to better manage their menstrual hygiene needs. In Madagascar, around 40% of schools in the country lack latrines and the ones that exist are often not optimally designed […]

Faustina Boachie, Ghana Water Company

Faustina Boachie: Interview with a leader in water and sanitation in Ghana

According to Faustina Boachie, head of Ghana Water Company’s Low-Income Customer Support Unit, there is a strong link between poor water and sanitation access and the socio-economic development and the political position of women. “As a young girl, my sisters and I used to walk over two miles in search of water growing up in […]

Cocoa farmer - Yaw Asiamah in his nursery

Tackling urbanisation in Ghanaian cocoa farming communities

Urbanisation is not just about the world’s megacities like Manila, or Dhaka, or the thousands of towns that are now turning into major cities. It’s also about the communities that are turning into towns but still have the infrastructure of a small village. The towns of the Ashanti region of southern Ghana, around the country’s […]

Yvonne Siyeni, Lusaka Water & Sewerage Company

Women improving services for women

This International Women’s Day, WSUP is profiling three women leaders who are improving water and sanitation services in urban areas in their countries. Read on to find out more about the role that these three women are playing in delivering better services, and their thoughts on why improved WASH is a women’s issue: Faustina Boachie […]

Zaituni Kanenje, NAWASSCO

Zaituni Kanenje: Interview with a leader in water and sanitation in Kenya

Zaituni Kanenje is a woman making a difference in the growing lakeside town of Nakuru, Kenya. As Manager for the Low-Income Customer Services department of NAWASSCO, the utility for the town, Zaituni focuses on extending WASH services into the poorer communities. And with this goal, reaching women is particularly important. “Without water, without proper hygiene, […]

Yvonne Siyeni, Lusaka Water & Sewerage Company

Yvonne Siyeni: Interview with a leader in water and sanitation in Zambia

“Working in a utility dominated by men has been challenging but exciting,” says Yvonne Siyeni, Manager for the Peri-urban department at Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC). Yvonne, a leader in the utility which supplies the city of Lusaka with water and sanitation services, encourages more women to work with utilities. “In as much as […]