The message since the Covid-19 started has been uniform – one of the most important safety precautions you can take is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. However, millions of people across the globe – including many in our own country – do not have safe or reliable access to water.
Now a simple South African invention can help those who don’t have access to running water.
Due to the central role of hand washing in slowing the transmission of Covid-19, a small pilot project has been run in an informal settlement north of Johannesburg using a novel innovation manufactured by South African company Envirosan.
This simple hand-washing unit comprises a standard two-litre plastic bottle that is fitted with a self-closing tip tap valve.
The bottle is placed into a wall-mounted plastic bracket incorporating a ribbed soap holder and peg to accommodate a face cloth or small towel.
With support from private sector donors and Godfirst Fourways Church’s Heart of a Champion Africa programme, these units were trialled at two Johannesburg informal settlements.
About 700 people live in poverty within these communities, relying on communal standpipes and water tanks, often located some distance from their dwellings.
“It was very special to see the way the community organised where the units should be placed and who would have responsibility for keeping the bottles filled and looking after the soap,” says Cliff Musamba, who runs the Heart of a Champion programme. “They are deeply appreciative.”
Each unit costs R65 and includes a bar of soap. Individuals, companies and faith-based organisations are encouraged to assist with the broader rollout by making a donation.