Tippy Tap: A Happy Day for Hygiene

Story by Tess Lyons, ICM Development Officer //  Video courtesy of Lynn Ketch, ICM Trip Participant 

“Happy Birthday to You” is the most frequently sung song in the world, but not just because of the number of birthdays celebrated each day.  This is the song the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends singing for 20 second while washing your hands in order to stop germs from spreading. Combine a much loved song with a fun hand washing device, and you have children lining up to keep themselves clean!

ICM has recently started teaching program participants how to build tippy taps – hand washing stations for homes without running water. Many ICM families must walk long distances to get water, so the tippy tap makes hand washing a much more convenient (and more likely) activity.  Helen Turner, ICM’s Chief Operations Officer, stated that “Finding ways to improve hygiene is important for those living in poverty. Diarrhea is a common problem and is largely due to poor hand washing; the dehydration caused by the diarrhea can be deadly, especially for young children.”

Lynn Ketch, an ICM visitor from the USA, took this video of a group of children washing their hands at the tippy tap.  She observed that “Mums the world over battle hand washing with their children. The tippy tap provides a fun way to wash with running water in a community with no running water. I am guessing mum won’t have to ask her kids more than once to go wash their hands!”

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/27893177 w=620&h=400]

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