The Tippy Tap - Small steps, big changesJuly 20 2015

3.5 million children die from diarrhea and respiratory illnesses in developing countries everyday. In fact it is the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide. It is believed that washing hands at critical times, including before eating or preparing food and after the toilet - can reduce diarrhea rates by 40%. 

Without access to running water, this is easier said than done for children in developing countries. However there is a solution. The tippy tap is a hands free way to wash your hands. It is operated by a foot pedal and reduces the chance for bacteria transmission as the user only touches the soap. 

We realised that in Tanzania the schools have a need for the tippy tap. We developed a hygiene workshop, designed to promote the use of washing your hands with soap. To demonstrate the danger of spreading germs we coated a plastic ball in petroleum jelly and then glitter. When the ball is passed from child to child the glitter spreads in a similar way to germs. When the children wash their hands after they have to use soap to get rid of the glitter. This technique helps them understand that although they can't see the germs it is similar to the glitter and won't be washed off with water alone.


Above left: A Mnaida school child using the tippy tap. Above right: The four tippy taps installed and ready for use.

Our pilot of the tippy tap project was at Mnaida School. We installed 4 tippy taps for the school as well as presenting the hygiene workshop (including why, when and how to wash your hands effectively). Talking with the headteacher 5 months on, we have received some fantastic feedback.

Project Manager Ally Simba demonstrates the tippy tap to students and presents the hygiene workshop.

Mr Bure explained, "Children never asked for a facility to wash their hands before and now they would miss it if it wasn’t there - I can safely say they use it everyday". He went onto express that Mnaida school would not be without a tippy tap now, and will even be making some more because during break times they get very busy. More impressively some of the parents have been up to the school to see what the fuss is about after the children had talked about the tippy tap at home. Mr Bure finished by saying "Thank you EdUKaid for highlighting this issue and choosing Mnaida school to pilot". Through the power of demonstration we hope to see a change in behaviour in the children at our schools when the project is rolled out. A simple device such as the tippy tap has the potential to save lives. 


Mitengo, Likonde, Mwenge, Mgao, Naumbu & Namgogoli Primaries have now had the tippytap installed and the project continues to grow.


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