The Tippy Tap – a simple innovation from India to Zimbabwe
Just down the hill from the Initiatives of Change conference buildings in Panchgani is Grampari, a rural and ecological centre established by Initiatives of Change. As part of his training at Grampari, Victor Nyanhete, an Initiatives of Change / Moral Re-Armament Zimbabwe youth programme coordinator, was introduced to the Tippy Tap.
The Tippy Tap is a hands-free way to wash hands that is especially appropriate for areas where water is scarce. Made from a plastic water container, three bars of metal, a bar of soap and some string, the hand washing device is operated by putting pressure on the foot lever which is made from wood. This technique reduces the chance of bacteria transmission as the user only touches the soap.
Grampari promoted this simple device along with a cheerful song about hand washing in schools around the area as part of their health and hygiene programme. Victor knew this was an idea that was needed in his home country, Zimbabwe, where a decade-long water and sanitation crisis has plagued the nation.
When Victor returned his hometown, Gweru, he organised for the IofC/MRA Zimbabwe youth group to install four Tippy Tap stations at Jairos Jiri Naran, a local school for deaf and mentally challenged children. They used scrap metal and other materials taken from the school to build the hand washing devices. The initiative proved to be a success as it was a simple yet fun way to encourage the students to wash their hands hygienically.
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ is the key concept behind IofC’s programmes and the Zimbabwean IofC youth are leading by example. They plan to continue building and strengthening their team and to install more Tippy Tap stations to overcome the water and sanitation crisis in Zimbabwe.