Editor’s Note: With funding from the USAID Global Development Lab’s Development Innovation Ventures program, the authors teamed up with Innovations for Poverty Action, and using a human-centered design process developed a new handwashing station for settings that lack piped water. In this article, Drs. Amy Pickering and Clair Null, who led the project, describe its methods and preliminary findings. The authors’ views are their own.
In places without access to piped water, new products and technologies are needed to make handwashing with soap convenient enough to become a habit. Handwashing with soap is a powerful weapon against diarrhea and respiratory illness, the leading causes of death among children under 5. It is estimated that handwashing with soap could save 1 million lives annually. Unfortunately, only 19 percent of the global population wash their hands with soap after contact with feces.