For The Community By The Community - Handwashing Station

Product Design 

Year: 2020


Design Research - Dr. Mambi Madzivire
Artist - Dennis Osadebe 

Welder - Mr. Fatai 
Weaver - Kofi

Awards:  Wallpaper* Design Award “Life-Enhancer of the Year” Award, 2021.

A portable and modular contactless handwashing station designed and fabricated locally in Lagos, Nigeria.

The hand washing station is designed to be pushed from ward to ward due to the unpredictable architecture of hospitals and healthcare facilities in Nigeria. This project was sparked with the recent COVID-19 pandemic with the aim to create a solution that could help slowdown the spread of communicable diseases through effective hand hygiene and at the same-time be locally fabricated to create and consider a circular economy and design.

It all started with the following question - ‘How can design help reduce the spread of COVID-19?’

To answer this correctly, we engaged local doctors, nurses and various medical staff to identify and understand the fears and frustrations of the local healthcare sector as it works to fight against COVID-19.

To our surprise, they unanimously testified to the fact that effective hand-washing can be difficult in hospitals and healthcare centers. The reason being that with the influx of patients due to the pandemic, doctors have to move from patient to patient very quickly. Currently sinks are in fixed locations and require doctors and nurses to walk to-and-fro between patients.

The studio set out to find design solutions to this problem with the focus on using easily accessible, locally available materials and collaborating with local artisans. Together, we were able to design a product that not only caters to the different problems we uncovered with our research, but creates a circular economy where the product can be designed and fabricated For the Community By the Community.

The design is centered around the user experience. We spoke to several healthcare practitioners to immerse ourselves in their process. We learnt about the We studied the structure of local hospitals in Africa, considered their corporate procurement processes, and kept our eye out for ways to ensure economic viability. The cart that can be easily replicated by any qualified local welder. The black kegs can be easily sourced in most local markets. Through funding we hope to partner with a local recyclable plastic company to create moulds for the sink, tap and bin.

With the concept of creating a circular economy even in the thick of a global pandemic and the restrictions on the availability of materials; we were able to design a handwashing station with the everyday items we see around us. The cart design with the water kegs was inspired by the rural water carriers -'meruwa'. Who sell clean water in kegs by pushing their carts from community to community. There is nostalgia and familiarity around the design that allows the user decipher the how without needing much explanation.

The simplicity, functionality and ease of reproduction; Through the extensive research we were able to reiterate the design from a fairly complex initial design, to the stripped down simple design we are presenting today. The end users understand the product and can see the impact on their daily functions immediately.