In Haiti, hand washing is made difficult by lack of access to clean water, especially in rural communities like those served by HAS. Though HAS water and sanitation activities have been ongoing since the 1960s, when founder Dr. Larry Mellon recognized the importance of those activities for preventing illness, HAS has added new, innovative methods throughout the years.
One of these newer methods is called the “Tippy Tap”: a hands-free hand washing station that can be made with inexpensive, readily available materials and use very little water to accomplish greatly improved health outcomes.
These devices are extremely hygienic, since users avoid spreading bacteria by using a foot pedal to operate it. A recycled gallon of water holds the water, and a recycled water bottle holds the soap. The foot pedal tips the tap, allowing the user to wash his/her hands without spreading illness.
Bahemir Charleron, Water and Sanitation Educator at HAS, teaches community members about the importance of hand washing as well as how to construct a Tippy Tap. He engages children and their families in games to test knowledge about hand washing, and follows up to ensure that the Tippy Tap can become a sustainable way to improve hygiene in the communities that HAS serves.
So far, HAS has facilitated the use of Tippy Taps for more than 400 families in the HAS service area. Families maintain their own hand washing stations after receiving education from Bachemir, and generally report decreased incidence as a result, thus providing a very simple yet substantial improvement to quality of life in our service area.