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I would like to reiterate comments about the separation between M and F toilets as being very culturally specific. The critical factor is not so much the physical separation but the visibility of people visiting the toilet to people of the opposite gender. The entrances could be next door to each other as long as there is effective screening between them and it is not obvious where people are bound when they are bound in that general direction.

The cultural factor is important and can only be ascertained by talking to the people who will be using the toilets, but beware, the importance can be overstated. For example, in Zimbabwe there is apparently a taboo about meeting your mother-in-law whilst on your way to the bog. Quite reasonable really if your are heading off into the bush, but probably not practical when the toilet is next to your house. In the whole of Zimbabwe apart from one province, this did not seem to be a problem (although it is virtually impossible to actually determine who is using a toilet), but in one they insisted on providing two toilets per household. This was not because there is a sharp dividing line in cultural preference at the province border, it was entirely due to the Provincial Health Officer’s insistence on the importance of the taboo, but the irony was that he was Afrikaans and not Shona. People are often far more pragmatic than they are given credit for and should be given the final say.


Jeff Broome