New hand washing stand being trialled for refugees

24th of August 2018
New hand washing stand being trialled for refugees

Aid agency Oxfam is trialling a new hand washing stand for use in humanitarian emergencies.

The charity hopes to start mass production of the washstand later this year. Oxfam's current pop-up solution to hand-washing in emergencies is the tippy tap, a jerry-can suspended on a piece of wood by a rope which the user operates via a foot pedal.

This low-cost, low-tech solution has its drawbacks since puddles of water tend to collect around the stand and provide a home for disease-carrying mosquitoes. The wooden foot pedal can also be difficult to operate for children or people with disabilities.

The new stand features a drip tray and drainage system to prevent the formation of puddles while the one-touch tap is said to be easy to operate and minimise hand contact. The unit has sturdy tripod legs to support the 30 litre water reservoir and the tap gives out 100ml of water at a time - claimed to be just the right amount to encourage proper handwashing.

"In refugee settings, water is very important and clean water is often scarce which means people need to conserve it," says Oxfam's public health adviser Dr Foyeke Tolani. "In some places we work we have to transport water in a tanker." The reservoir typically only needs to be filled once a day in a busy refugee camp.

The unit, which has been in development for more than five years, is said to be easy to assemble and sufficiently lightweight for bulk transport. Oxfam is now hoping to receive sponsorship to make the water tank's industrial mould.

At $40 (€35) apiece, the new washstand will be more expensive than the tippy tap but its designers believe it will be a better and more durable solution.



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