December 4, 2017
Schools are critical places for children to learn good handwashing habits, and proper school handwashing keeps children healthy and ready to learn. This case study from GHP member SpaTap shows one creative way to bring handwashing stations to schools to encourage handwashing on Global Handwashing Day.
SpaTap celebrated Global Handwashing Day 2017 by setting up portable taps in five schools in and around Honiara, Solomon Islands. There is a chronic water scarcity in this area, and the average school has about 1,000 children with one tap and two toilets. Many schools rely on rainwater tanks, wells, or rivers for their water supplies. School taps are also used by members of the community.
Before Global Handwashing Day, one shared tap was used for all hand washing practices, before dinner time, after toilet breaks and for medical emergencies. It was not possible for all 1000 children to wash their hands at a single tap, and handwashing was not happening at all. This led to frequent illnesses and lost school time because of the lack of access to handwashing facilities.
SpaTap Portable Taps turn plastic bottles into controlled flow taps. By attaching a SpaTap onto a hanging bottle of water and ensuring availability of soap, schools can install easy-to-use handwashing stations near toilets or in other critical areas. To install, a student or staff member attaches a bottle of water or another container to a SpaTap. A bar of soap is placed on the base of the inverted bottle, which makes a convenient soap caddy. The handwashing station is hung somewhere suitable for handwashing and students take turns washing their hands. With proper maintenance, SpaTaps avoid water waste during handwashing, and provide an option for low-cost handwashing stations.
On Global Handwashing Day, SpaTap and schools held handwashing workshops where students and staff learned how to install, operate, and maintain the taps. Schools also enacted systems to encourage handwashing and proper maintenance of taps. Teachers developed rosters with two children per day chosen to maintain the SpaTap. Each day also has a ‘handwashing champion’, who monitors handwashing and water usage. This system is designed to teach the students how to maintain and operate a SpaTap, and encourage good handwashing behaviors.
Brilliant Star School in Henderson Village had approximately 200 children using one rainwater tank and tap, one well, and two toilets. The school faces frequent water shortages. The students and teachers there wanted to save as much water as possible, so they did an experiment and achieved 67 handwashes with soap out of 1.5 liters of water using the minimal water mode of the SpaTap.
After trying the first SpaTap, students installed a further ten SpaTaps around their school. This included a dedicated 19-liter tap for handwashing outside the school toilets, and students ingeniously converted a handle grip on the bottle into a soap caddy to create a suitable handwashing station outside the toilet block that was installed in 30 seconds. This can supply water for over 1,500 handwashes. The school principal noted an instant impact in handwashing, and later reported that the handwashing culture of the school had completely changed. Students no longer had to wait to wash their hands. Now, for the first time, the students have the chance to wash their hands regularly and achieve good handwashing practices.
Millions of schools, healthcare facilities, and communities face the same challenges as Brilliant Star School. Everyone has the right to a convenient tap for their own personal hygiene, and SpaTap’s aim is to make that happen.
About SpaTap: SpaTap portable tap upcycles virtually any bottle and turns it into a water saving, flow controllable tap that can dispense water in 3 ways. The modes are minimal water mode, free flow mode, and big wash. SpaTap company manufactures the SpaTap portable tap for the outdoor recreation market and humanitarian aid. To learn more about SpaTap, visit their website or find them on Facebook or YouTube.
Post written by Stuart Mason, and photos courtesy of SpaTap.
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