As the fight against COVID-19 in Ethiopia continues, the team of Filipino engineers and teachers across all campuses of the Federal Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) System in Ethiopia tirelessly extend their support through various initiatives and technological designs. (Photo by Michaela Esturas Gelizon and Rebecca Jallores)

Ethiopia — In response to the scarcity of facemasks in Ethiopia, Filipino Local Garment Technology experts in the Addis Ababa produced reusable facemasks for the staff members and students of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and later for the community in Addis Ababa.

Filipino Garment Technology experts Ms. Michaela Esturas Gelizon and Ms. Rebecca Jallores teamed up with their Indian colleagues to produce 300 reusable facemasks which were distributed among TVET staff members and students, while additional thousand pieces were later produced and distributed to the community.

The team of Filipino engineers in the Wollo University-Kombolcha Institute of Technology (WU-KIOT) with the prototype handwashing machine (Photo by Engr. Eunelfa Regie F. Calibara)

Meanwhile at the Wollo University-Kombolcha Institute of Technology (WU-KIOT) in Amhara Region in north-central Ethiopia, a team of Filipino engineers, namely: Engr. Alain Vincent M. Comendador, Engr. Eunelfa Regie F. Calibara, Engr. Jolan B. Sy, and Engr. Marlon G. Rojo initiated an innovative, sensor-based, non-contact automatic handwasher–a sequel to the pedal-operated handwasher earlier designed in Addis Ababa.

To operate their invention, users will hover their hand over the sensor and within seconds, hand soap and water will flow. The prototype of this Pinoy-innovated handwashing machine is proudly installed at the Office of the President of Wollo University for further testing and improvements. A total of 10 units of  the said machine will eventually be installed in other offices of the University.

Moreover, in WU-KIOT, the fabrication of a “disinfecting cubicle” is already in the works.

Illustration of the pedal-operated handwashers. (Photo by Mr. Alfredo Villafuente, Jr.)

Earlier in April 2020, Mr. Alfredo “Jhong” Villafuente, the Filipino engineer behind the pedal-operated handwasher, shared his design and illustration online, and many fabrications have been made since then, including those in Arba Minch Polytechnic and Satellite Institute Manufacturing Department in southern Ethiopia and Bekoji TVET College in central Ethiopia, where pedal-operated handwashers were manufactured and had been installed in a number of offices.

Manufacture of pedal-operated handwashers. (Photo by Mr. Alfredo Villafuente, Jr.)

“There are no patent rights and the steps to build the handwasher is very easy to follow,” said Mr. Villafuente. He welcomes everyone who would like to request for a copy of the machine and the list of materials needed. Those who are interested may email Mr. Villafuente at:

Pedal-operated handwashers. (Photo by Mr. Alfredo Villafuente, Jr.)

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