A Handy Innovation in Africa
Today, the average person will touch their phone 2,617 times. We will touch our faces and other communal objects between 3.3-3.6 times per hour (and that is being conservative). Oh, and don’t forget that a swab of most floors will reveal around 230 bacterial species. But, no worries! A quick trip to the nearest faucet to wash your hands will wage war on all things filthy and contaminated. Just like that, it’s handled (pun intended)!
We usually don’t think of the convenience of washing our hands until we end up sick in bed with the flu. Imagine if a faucet of flowing clean water was not available to you and the effects of not practicing good hygiene were sometimes fatal… That’s why our partners in Africa are making the development of regular hand-washing practices a priority in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) training!
One solution that is commonly found in WASH-trained communities in Africa are tippy tap stands, which are hanging jugs filled with water that is dispensed when tipped, with soap kept nearby. Our local partner in Kenya, Lwala Community Alliance, often implements this method of hand-washing because it is simple and effective in hindering illness and promoting healthy habits.
However, the schools found that tippy taps are not always ideal. Sometimes the soap and jugs go missing, or children skip out on washing their hands because they do not like to use them. So, the schools hosted a competition and allowed the children to come up with new designs for hand-washing stations. The winning design further proves the creativity of an empowered community:
Now all of the schools in the area are adopting this sustainable, replicable, easy-to-use model! This is what inspires us to keep pressing forward–the innovation that is being developed in Africa. Next time you wash your hands, we hope that you feel grateful for the convenience, but also remember the solutions emerging from empowered African communities!