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Reuters: Oxfam's solution to hand hygiene in refugee camps

Handy Wash Tap Innovation Case Study

Handwashing station almost ready for action

Oxfam’s Promotion and Practice Handwashing Kit is a robust, user-friendly handwashing station that is easily set-up in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, allowing for improved, timely handwashing at critical moments and reducing people’s health risks in emergency displacement camps.

Justin Hartree from Oxfam explains the features of the new prototype at AidEx, photo: Joel Trotter

I arrived at AidEx in Brussels to see the brand new, and final, prototype of the handwashing kit, fresh from the factory. It had been a year since I field tested the first prototype at a refugee camp in Tanzania. Another two trips followed, including Uganda, with iterated designs. (Watch this video to see the handwashing kit at AidEx)

Until this point, I had only seen the final computer model renderings. What an amazing feeling to see the finished product looking so well-made and ready to go! This design is much simpler than previous versions: fewer parts, easier to assemble, and extremely durable. It has a brand-new, updated tap design, and a liquid soap dispenser, as well as space for soap on a rope.

Oxfam handwashing kit, photo: Matt White

The feedback so far has been very positive:
“It’s a very nice step forward”
“I could see this being a good update to the tippy tap system”
“This is the first thing here that looks like it’s been designed for humans, we need to put the human back into humanitarian”.

I put a bucket at the end of the run-off water hose, so people could test it. Both the soap taps and water taps are easy to use, and people saw the mirrors as an effective way to attract people to the kit,and increase hand washing practice. So, what’s next? The prototype will make its way back to the Design Consultant, Matt White, who will finalise the design. Then, we can move towards the first batch of production. Oxfam has so far raised half the amount we need to cover the tooling costs. We are seeking a further £50k to offer the kit for sale at the most affordable unit cost.

Author: Joel Trotter, independent designer, innovator, researcher and film/photographer.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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