Each year on October 15, over 200 million people are involved in World Hand Washing celebrations in over 100 countries around the world. This special day was originally created for children and schools, but is celebrated by a multitude of groups worldwide that are interested in promoting handwashing with soap, which the NFHSDP did to promote this life saving activity in Kiunga Town and Montfort Primary School on October 15 2013.
“Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths in developing countries”.
The team’s main focus for the day was a number of demonstrations on how to construct a “Tippy Tap’ for hand washing with water. It is cost effective and easy to make from available local materials and can promote handwashing in communities where there is no running water and can be made out of clean empty discarded plastic containers, like old juice or water bottles.
THE TIPPY TAP
The tippy tap is a hands free way to wash your hands that is especially appropriate for rural areas where there is no running water. It uses only 40 millilitres of water to wash your hands versus 500 millilitres using a mug. Additionally, the used “waste” water can go to plants or back into the water table.
While the tippy tap is a great technology, it is just that – a technology. It is important to recognise that there is a difference between great technology and adoption of the technology. However, it is a great tool that can help kick start the conversation about hand washing with soap and help increase this behaviour, and it does so in a fun and easy manner that is especially appealing to children.
The first ‘official’ tippy tap was built in the eighties by Dr. Jim Watt in Zimbabwe using a gourd. Since then, many variations have come into existence depending on the availability of local materials.
The demonstrations of the Tippy Tap to Kiunga Monfort school students and teachers included showing them how to make small holes at the bottom of the plastic container, filling it up with water and hanging it in close proximity to the toilet so people can wash their hands immediately after using the toilet facilities. Activities also included awareness on the importance of hand washing with soap and water and the reasons why it is so important for healthy living.
Awareness sessions were also provided on the streets and in the main market place and attracted a significant number of people (as can be seen in the photos below). Prior to the awareness, posters with instructions on how to make a Tippy Tap were displayed on notice boards at various locations.
Although a very simple and practical system for hand washing, both students and adults enjoyed the fun and interactive demonstrations. The general consensus from community members suggested that they appreciated being shown a real-world cost effective system that they can adopt and adapt for their own homes and communities.