Ready for Change: Secure Women’s facilities at Nsondole Campus

Bathrooms. We all need them.

In fact, many of us in the world would expect them to be anywhere and everywhere that we travel. However, 5 miles outside of Zomba, a major Malawian city, young women have only the guarantee of a semi-enclosed pit latrine called a chim.

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chim

semi-enclosed pit latrine

Even at government-run facilities, like the local Community Day Secondary School, where young women and girls should feel safe, chims offer little privacy.

Community members, including the Mothers Group, which functions much like a PTA might, have voiced concerns for providing secure facilities to every NGO group who would listen. Story Time has been working towards a solution with community members, and, finally, bathroom facilities at Nsondole CDSS are under construction.

A Long Road

Getting here took community-buy-in and belief from generous Story Time Co-Authors and Volunteer Team Members, that building a place for the community of women attending Nsondole, was not only a worthwhile endeavour, but a necessity. Construction began the week of September 3rd and is projected to be finished by the end of November or early December Due to the rainy season approaching, cooler temperatures will make conditions favorable for construction of the bathrooms.

 One of the two classroom blocks on the Nsondole campus.

One of the two classroom blocks on the Nsondole campus.

A Safe Space

The project is being built by a local team of builders. The girls and young women attending Nsondole are extremely excited for the bathroom’s completion because it means having a safe, secure space for themselves.

 Female students around one of the two school buildings during a break between classes.

Female students around one of the two school buildings during a break between classes.

Story Time and our community partners look forward to cutting the ribbon on these facilities, and in turn, opening up a new era for women's safety and health at Nsondole and the surrounding community.

Look for a Stories post in the coming months, when the bathroom will open, for more on what impact this project ends up making for young women in the area. In the meantime, learn more about the Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP), which made this project possible, here.