Fixing a fundamental flaw in hygiene promotion
Why explain to people the health benefits of handwashing with soap, when people don’t even have running water at home? SaniTap Co-Founder Adriaan Mol, based in Nairobi, Kenya, was increasingly frustrated with what he saw in the field. He developed a solution. Even the UN took notice.
In the past, Mol has directed large water, sanitation and hygiene programs in Africa for international aid agencies. He was surprised by what he saw: ”Most hygiene promotion stresses the importance of washing hands with soap. But when there is no running water at home, it’s impossible to put hygiene knowledge into practice…”
Deceptively simple design
With the help of other handwashing experts, Mol developed a solution under the name ‘SaniTap’. It is basically a plastic water pouch with a soap net attached to it. A spout delivers the right amount of water for handwashing, and closes with an upward tap with the back of the hand. This avoids contamination of clean hands. The bag has a handle, for easy transportation from a water point to the home and beyond.
It must be one of the simplest hygiene devices available - yet one of the most effective. Research shows the proper handwashing reduces the risk of diarrheal diseases by 47%. Maybe that is why a UN agency took notice and started to use the SaniTap in one of the largest and most complex emergency areas in Africa.
A missing link
"Washing projects consist of three main parts: providing clean drinking water; safe disposal of stool and hygiene promotion", explains Mol. "The first two parts have clear hardware components: taps, pipes and toilets. But the hygiene promotion had nothing, until now. The SaniTap feels like a missing link".
Do you have, like Adriaan, have your own ideas and suggestions on how to improve hygiene promotion? If so, we'd love to hear from you about what you think works and what doesn't. Simply comment below