Tippy taps

Tippy taps are a simple and cost-effective handwashing solution helping families, schools and communities to improve health and hygiene.

The importance of handwashing

It seems simple, but handwashing plays an important role in our health and wellbeing.

In developing nations, proper handwashing is the key to preventing the spread of many potentially life-threatening diseases. It can also lower the risk of respiratory infection by up to 16 percent. On top of this, communities with adequate soap and water amenities often say that it results in a sense of comfort and pride.

But for some, it’s not so easy to access clean water, which poses an obstacle to safe handwashing. In some communities, the only water source is more than a 30-minute walk from home.

At World Vision, we think everyone should be able to wash their hands safely. Tippy taps are a cost-effective and simple solution to this problem, and can play a vital role in our health and hygiene programs all over the world. 

How tippy taps work 

Tippy taps are easy to build, and even simpler to use, bringing contactless handwashing stations to villages and schools globally. They are easily maintained and can be built from materials found locally.

A tippy tap can be created with just a five-litre water container, a few poles or long sticks, some string and some soap. In communities where soap is not available, wood ash, sand or soil can be used instead.

First, a pole is placed through the handle of the container, which is then held up by two other poles, one on each side.

A hole is made in the cap of the container and a piece of string is pulled through, then tied to a stick which is placed on the floor. This stick acts as a pedal, tipping the container forward.

A hole in the container just under the cap allows water to slowly flow out.

Soap is then tied to the tap with some string, and the tippy tap is ready to use.

Rosemary washes her hands using a tippy tap in Zambia.

 Nine steps to clean hands 

Washing your hands properly may be more complicated than you think – take a look at the guide below.

  1. Wet your hands and cover them with soap.
  2. Rub your palms together in a circular motion.
  3. Place your right palm on top of your left hand, interlace your fingers and scrub between your fingers. Now swap and do the same with your other hand.
  4. Place your palms together, interlace your fingers and rub them together.
  5. Clasp your hands together and scrub back and forth.
  6. Use your left hand to rub your right thumb back and forth, before repeating with your other hand.
  7. Scrub your palms with your fingers.
  8. Rinse your hands with water.
  9. Dry your hands with a towel, or in hot climates, air dry your hands by shaking them.

Children in Papua New Guinea show off their clean hands.

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