Anna Juma is a 35-year-old single woman, who lives in Sombetini Arusha. Anna, hired by Arusha City Council, is a cleaner who runs the day-to-day operation and maintenance at the Kilombero Bus Stand Public toilet. Anna ensures the daily cleanliness of the facilities and the proper maintenance and revenue collection of the menstrual pad vending machine.
Under component 2 of the programme that aims to improve sanitation services, SNV WASH programme supported the upgrade and construction of the new Kilombero public toilet, which consists of 16-room toilets, separate blocks for men and women, a special design toilet stall and a ramp for people with disabilities (PWD) and menstrual hygiene facilities. The construction of the public toilet aims to serve as a model for future public toilet constructions that will be done by Arusha City Council. It was handed over to the then Arusha District Commissioner on 3rd March 2021.
Anna explained the previous Kilombero toilet had a single entry and block for both men and women. This caused difficulty when cleaning, long queues and disturbance. For a public toilet that serves over a hundred traders in the busy city centre, the women barely had privacy and there wasn’t any menstrual hygiene management (MHM) facility insight.
After the construction of the new public toilet, women now had privacy and facilities for menstrual hygiene. The women's block was constructed with the aim of helping women have privacy. The walls are painted with Behavioural change communication (BCC) messages encouraging proper menstrual management, the speaker has MHM messages and each stall has a menstrual bin to ensure privacy.
However, what Anna is most proud of is the menstrual pad vending machine in the women’s block. Anna explained how many traders, customers, passengers cannot afford to buy the whole packet of pads especially if it’s an emergency. The installation of the vending machine has helped several women to be able to afford a pad in an emergency and in the comfort of their privacy. With a single pad costing only Tsh200, the vending machine has brought great relief to the women at Kilombero Bus Stand. On average, the vending machine serves 10 women a day, once in a while 20 women a day.
“There is a woman who came from Mbauda’s local market wanting to see the vending machine. she said the women at her public toilet are complaining there is no pads machine-like in Kilombero. I showed her how it works and gave her contacts to the city council. I felt proud that day, our toilet is an example to the community. And SNV shouldn’t stop here, they should also help other public toilets “, said Anna.