The Women`s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in partnership with the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) rehabilitated ladies toilets at the corner of Fife Street and Fifth Avenue in Bulawayo.
The project was done as part of the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) with the aim of improving the working conditions of women in the informal sector and reducing the risk factors brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) owned public toilet is located in a busy area populated by street vendors and informal traders.
Speaking during the handover of the refurbished toilets to the local authority, WILD Executive Director Samukeliso Khumalo said refurbished the toilets to ensure that women who are trading in the area have access to clean toilets.
“We want to make sure women who trade in this area have a safe space which will not be accessed by men,” said Khumalo.
BVTA Executive Director Michael Ndiweni said the project was part of the Inclusive City Planning and Designing where they are partnering with local authorities to improve the infrastructure that is used by vendors and informal traders.
The renovations involved the changing of the floor from cement to ceramic tiles, the addition of a sanitary chute for disposing of sanitary pads, the addition of a nappy changing counter for women with children, repainting of the toilets and addition of metal grating to ensure that wastewater from the toilets does not flow to the street.
The organisations also donated cleaning materials to be used by council employees who man the toilets.
Ward 29 Councillor Alderman Monica Lubimbi, who was standing in for the Mayor Solomon Mguni, bemoaned the state of public toilets in the city noting that most of them have been vandalised.
“Good toilets raise the quality of life in an area and support active participation in recreational, social and commercial activities within an urban area for residents and visitors alike. The city has ninety-seven blocks of public toilets yet more than half of these have been closed down as a result of constraints experienced by the council in maintaining them. vandalism has been of major concern especially with the public toilets making it very difficult for the city to maintain them and keep them usable at all times,” she said.
We appreciate this effort today with WILD and BVTA on the refurbishment of these toilets. it takes each and every one of us to be responsible and make a difference for the betterment of society.”
In September, a woman was electrocuted at a Bulawayo ZESA substation in which she had entered to relieve herself.
The tragic incident happened between Robert Mugabe and George Silundika, along 5th avenue near the popular city vegetable market.