Filipino designed pedal operated handwashers help combat COVID-19 in Ethiopia

Addis Adaba — A team of Filipino engineers and teachers developed a handwashing technology to counter the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia upon the request of Federal Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institute and Center for Excellence in Engineering Deputy Director Eniyew Getnet Bitew.

The Filipino TVET team conceptualized a mechanically-operated technology that performs even without electricity and can be conveniently positioned in crowded places.

Pedal-operated handwashers (Photo by FCE)

The team eventually developed two prototypes for a pedal-operated handwasher. The first was used as a model for the production of three hundred (300) units, funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), and are being installed around the capital. The second prototype was used by other regional TVET colleges to fabricate several handwashing units for localities across the country.

Local Ethiopians use the Filipino-designed pedal-operated handwashers to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Filipino Community in Ethiopia – FCE)

Since then, more TVET teachers have continued to reproduce the handwasher. The technology was widely praised in social media that even a few city mayors placed orders and installed the Filipino-designed pedal-powered handwashers in different regional offices.

“We thank the Filipinos for this very good innovation. You don’t need to touch the water tap or soap dispenser, hence avoiding further contamination,” said one Ethiopian user of the handwasher.

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