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February 16, 2020

Public facilities

Editorial

 
February 16, 2020

The Salman Sufi Foundation which has begun a programme to train women to ride motorcycles, has also decided to offer them facilities which make movement in public spaces easier for women. The SSF has noted that one of the key impediments is the lack of public toilet facilities available in the country, particularly so for women. The Foundation believes that moving towards solving this problem would make mobility easier for women and allow them to take on work or run errands as required.

The SSF plans to set up four 20-foot long containers in various parts of Karachi with five cubicles in each of them. Three of the cubicles would offer women washroom facilities while the other two would be reserved for men, with separate entrances and provisions for privacy. The SSF is already in touch with specialists who have helped it develop the technical requirements for this pilot project. Sanitation workers would be able to begin installing the toilets as soon as permission is obtained. The foundation hopes to expand similar facilities to other locations across the country in the near future. Experts point out that the lack of access to washrooms, in some cases even in schools, presents serious issues for women and girls and also puts their health at risk. This issue has been pointed out many times in the past but no concrete measures taken. There is in fact a great shortage of public toilets for both men and women, making life difficult for those who are constantly on the move.

The SSF proposal appears to be a solid effort to solve the problem through a set of simple measures. The facilities to be installed are to be designed to offer durability and good hygiene. Providing public toilets would be the first step towards solving issues involving public facilities for citizens across the country. People in both urban and rural areas would also need to be made familiar with the responsible use of public washrooms so that these can be maintained in good condition over a long period of time and the number increased in various phases. We need more such efforts all across the country – as part of empowerment drives as well as some solid measures at sustainable CSR by multi-nationals.