People powered #TippyTapChallenge relaunched to help curb the spread of COVID-19 through handwashing

Through partnerships with Zlto, USAID and The Shoprite Group, the #TippyTapChallenge engages and rewards young people who build inexpensive, easy-to-construct handwashing devices that use little water.

22 March 2021
UNICEF South Africa/2020/de Vega

PRETORIA, 22 March 2021 – As the nation works to stop a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, UNICEF South Africa and partners relaunched the #TippyTapChallenge on World Water Day to improve access to handwashing facilities and to reiterate the importance of handwashing with soap.

With an estimated 2 million households in South Africa not having access to handwashing facilities, there continues to be an urgent need for an inexpensive, easy to assemble and effective handwashing solution.

Requiring no more than some string, wooden poles, a nail, a plastic bottle or water container and a bar of soap, a tippy tap can be quickly assembled, providing a simple and hygienic handwashing station. COVID-safe Tippy Tap field demonstrations also help activate the challenge, and create opportunities to engage communities on handwashing.

The #TippyTapChallenge includes an innovative partnership between UNICEF South Africa, The Shoprite Group and Zlto – a digital rewards platform that incentivises young people to volunteer in their communities, while recording their experience as a work asset in a verified CV that can bridge unemployed youth with opportunities in the formal job market. Young people are also able to earn digital rewards for every tippy tap built via the Zlto app, and for every tippy tap nano-course completed. Zlto rewards can be redeemed for food, airtime vouchers and electricity.

“It is really a win-win situation”, says UNICEF South Africa Representative, Christine Muhigana. “While we welcome the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines in South Africa, non-pharmaceutical interventions remain crucial to curbing infection rates and Tippy Taps form a vital part of this effort”, she adds.

Following the success of the initial campaign – where more than 3,200 young people took part in building the inexpensive, easy-to-construct handwashing devices and a further 24,000 enrolled in the “Build a Tippy Tap” nano course – the campaign has been extended for a further 2 months through the support of Zlto and The Shoprite Group. 

More than curbing infection rates and providing young people with an opportunity to earn rewards and build work experience, the groceries, electricity and airtime vouchers that participants can earn through the #TippyTapChallenge, make a real impact in the lives of so many who are suffering the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and related lockdowns.

“Most of the Tippy Tap Challenge’s participants are unemployed young people aged between 18 and 28 – the challenge gives them an opportunity to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 and put food on the table while building their work experience and linking them with future employment opportunities”, says Allan van der Meulen, co-founder of Zlto.

Thanks to efforts of community-based organisations like World Vision SA, the #TippyTapChallenge has reached thousands of young people across South Africa and will continue to reach thousands more. Over the next two months World Vision in the Eastern Cape will be running #TippyTapChallenge activations in 10 local schools, and distributing the Field Guide to tens more, to mobilise youth around handwashing. Previously WVSA has built Tippy Taps for community food gardens, food vendors, spaza shops & households, he says. 

#TippyTapChallenge activations are supported through UNICEF’s ongoing partnership with USAID to improve access to Water and Sanitation and Hygiene in priority provinces.

This year, through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) DREAMs programme managed by USAID, the challenge will also be targeting young women and girls at high risk of HIV infection. "DREAMS aims to reach more than 400,000 young women and girls with Social Asset Building and Economic Strengthening interventions and to link as many girls as we can to economic empowerment opportunities, of which the challenge is one,” says Mahlodi Matjieng, USAID Youth and Prevention Project Management Specialist. 

Media contacts

Toby Fricker
Chief of Communication & Partnerships
UNICEF South Africa
Tel: +27 61 418 7486

Notes to Editors

To sign up to participate in the challenge and earn rewards via Zlto, visit and follow the challenge at #TippyTapChallenge.

Visit our Tippy Tap Challenge page to find out more and to learn how to build your own Tippy Tap. 


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in over 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special efforts on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children everywhere. Working with a range of partners, UNICEF has had a presence in South Africa since the end of apartheid and continues to work towards bettering the lives of all children in the country.

For more information about COVID-19, visit . Find out more about World Children’s Day here.

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