In the acute phase of an emergency, diarrhoeal diseases still cause 40% of deaths of which 80% are children. Washing hands with soap and water can reduce the risk of spreading disease by around 45%, so interventions that are successful in promoting an enabling hand-washing could save millions of lives.
Huge resources - time and money - are spent each year on the purchase of sanitation materials and the building of latrines. However, until now there has been no readily available, low cost, approved kit to provide hand-washing in emergencies.
In a project, supported by the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), Dunster House Ltd. is working as a manufacturer partner of Oxfam GB, along with the design partners Royal College of Art, Church Communities UK, and a small group of Design Specialists, with the aim to produce an innovative hand washing station, to fill the gap in emergency sanitation projects.
The Hand Washing Station is designed to be an easily transportable, robust and a quick to assemble structure, whilst also being attractive and easy to maintain.
The large 24-litre water container is easy to refill, while its user-friendly, one-touch push-up tap keeps disease spreading contact points to a minimum and conserves water. It also features colourful components and mirrors, which serve as nudges to encourage a more frequent use across all the ages. Some spaces are also reserved to display hygiene promotion messages to encourage use.
The design also includes space for the soap and a drainage pipe to improve the washing experience and ensure that waste water soaks away.
From the original design, made in 2016 by students from Beech Grove Academy, the project has massively progressed and will be soon ready for mass production. In summer 2017 the first pre-production model for the Hand Washing Kit was taken to Nduta refugee camp in Tanzania for initial trials, where it was very well received by users.
Based on the feedback from this first trial, Dunster House, along with Oxfam and the designers, implemented the first changes on the prototype and a second improved model was taken again for trial on March 2018, being welcomed by the local families that marked the improvement from the Tippy Tap system.
A third prototype was taken later on to Uganda to be tested at the Kyaka refugee camp. This new model was incorporating further feedback and major changes on the lid.
Taking into consideration the results and feedback from the trials a forth prototype was designed, resulting on a unit, which is considerably different from the previous model, but has all the desired features.
The expected results
The kit will facilitate better access to handwashing for people across all the ages living in situations of humanitarian crisis. The station, which is easy to use, transport and install, will increase handwashing rates and therefore lower incidence of related diseases.
The design is simple and intuitive, making the structure easy to assemble, robust and easy to maintain. It is also stackable for efficient shipping and its design has been optimized according to the pallet size, with a 1200x800mm footprint that allows it to be efficiently mixed with latrine slabs.