For over a decade, Splash has been incorporating innovative design into our drinking and handwashing stations. From testing multiple versions of stations (everything from brick and mortar, concrete and tile, glass stone, commercially available products, custom stainless-steel models, and our current fiberglass molds), to designing stations for institutions accommodating a wide range of children (from schools of 5,000, to feeding centers of 1,500, to pediatric hospitals of 100), we have rich experience with what works and what doesn’t.
Design is a critical component to ensure our handwashing and drinking water stations are durable, vandal proof, child-friendly in color and size, and usable by all children, including those with special needs. We need our stations to be easy to maintain and operate, manufactured locally, and cost-effective for third party replication.
As Splash looks to expand our sanitation projects in Ethiopia, we will take our best practices learned in Asia and manufacture and install fiberglass stations in Addis Ababa for the first time. Previously, we only installed concrete and tile stations in schools.
Fiberglass stations are easier to install, easier to clean, easier to repair, and easier to move after installation than our existing tile and concrete stations in Ethiopia. The design process has also allowed us to make our stations more child friendly (both in terms of aesthetics and functionality).
Splash’s team in Addis Ababa have been hard at work, researching fiberglass manufacturers, gathering bids, re-negotiating prices, and as of August 2017, supervising initial station manufacturing. The new fiberglass stations for Ethiopia will be similar to the design we use for Nepal and India, with small improvements.
One of the design modifications will allow for the placement of four water taps, to increase student access to water (the designs for India and Nepal were based on two taps per station). The ability to serve more students per station is needed given the very large school sizes in Addis Ababa, with some schools having upwards of 2,000 students.
Ultimately, our goal is for our stations to be as durable, lightweight, and stackable for easy transport and storage as possible. We also hope to design the stations so they can be conjoined side-by-side to produce one long multi-tap water station, or placed back-to-back to allow for group handwashing activities, as recommended by UNICEF.
Most importantly, Splash can rev up our implementation in Addis Ababa, allowing us to reach our goal of providing every public school with clean water and clean hands, more efficiently, while not sacrificing on quality. We hope that this work will serve as a model for the greater WASH sector of what’s possible when you resolve to innovate and never settle.