A life changing kit for water saving hand washing

The old system was not practical, as the bucket had neither a lid nor a tap, says Grace the mother of the family

Aurelia Jessica Emmanuella Ickonga
Un enfant lave ses mains
UNICEF/2020/L.Chancard
30 September 2020

In Moukondo, a district in the north of Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo, Grâce lives in a place with a common courtyard with her husband and their 4 children, 11-year-old Saïra, 9-year-old Claude and Précieuse et Précieux, 18-month-old twins full of energy.

In August, Grace went to the local health center of her neighborhood to join the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, an event that takes place every year to raise awareness among the population of Brazzaville on the benefits of breastfeeding.

This year, Grace and other 49 mothers attending the event received not only info on breastfeeding, but also a hand washing device. The devices were purchased and distributed with the support of UNICEF’s partner USAID to help mothers and children protect themselves from Covid19 and other infections.

“In the past we used to go get water and then we would keep it in a simple bucket. But this system was not practical, as the bucket had neither a lid nor a tap,” says Grace. “Often my twins - Précieuse et Précieux - would dip their dirty hands directly into the bucket. They love to play with water, just like any other kid! But the water was completely dirty afterwards - that’s obvious - and we had to replace it more often, so we ended up wasting a lot of water, which is already scarce in our neighborhood."

Une maman avec ses enfants
UNICEF/2020/L.Chancard

The water bucket with a tap that we use now is much more practical - my older children help the twins wash their hands and we only use the water we need, without making any mess and without spilling it everywhere.

“We live in a place that shares a common courtyard with other families and children, so avoiding contact with other people is almost impossible. And I can't stop my kids from playing with other kids. This is why I try to pay as much attention as possible to my children’s hygiene. Whether it's my children or me, this pandemic has pushed us to wash our hands like never before! Eventually it has became a bit like a ritual - as soon as we leave the yard and before enter the house the whole family uses the bucket of water with the tap to wash their hands. "