Shortage of water is the main reason why many people fail to wash their hands regularly, leading to the spread of a wide number of preventable diseases, such as diarrhea and typhoid. Volcanoes safaris partnership trust (VSPT) has set up learning programs at all of the Volcanoes Safaris lodges, in Uganda and Rwanda, to educate the people of the local communities around the lodges about a simple device called the tippy tap. At our Bwindi lodge, the Bwindi community hospital came and presented to our staff, how to setup this simple device.
The tippy tap, as it is commonly known, is a device used to wash hands. It is very easy to set up and costs close to 0 dollars if you use second handle materials and 2-4 dollars using new materials. All it takes is a jerry can, a couple of sticks, some string, one nail, a bar of soap and a candle – easy!
Here are some quick steps on how to assemble the tippy tap – it is so easy, you can even try it at home:
1. Heat the nail over a candle until it is red hot and create a small hole at the edge of the jerry can near the lid.
2. Pass a stick through the handle of the jerry can to suspend it.
3. Now for the ingenious part – tie the string around the lid and attach a stick to the end. When you stand on the stick, the jerry can will tip and water will come pouring out of the hole!
4. Thread a bar of soap and an empty tin and attach it to one of the supporting sticks.
1.8 million people worldwide die of bacterial diseases each year. The tippy tap is an extremely cheap, effective and hygienic hand washing method which reduces the spread of bacteria from one person to another. The tippy tap is found in rural areas where there isn’t free running water. The local people only use 40 milliliters of water to wash their hands rather than 50 milliliters they would ordinarily install a tippy tap? Have to use – why waste water when you could easily?
By educating people on how to set up this ingenious tap, you too can help save thousands of lives just by educating those around you of the importance of something as simple as washing your hands!