Soapy water handwashing stations in Kenya

2013 - 2016 • Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)


To position the Soapy Water Handwashing Stations in Kenya for scale-up in order to reduce the burden of diarrheal and respiratory diseases by facilitating handwashing with soap


Through an iterative process of discussions with users and piloting, Innovations for Poverty Action has developed the soapy water handwashing station (SW-HWS). A modification of the existing "tippy tap" handwashing station design, the SW-HWS has two foot-pedal operated water storage tanks, one for soapy water and one for rinse water. The innovation of protecting soap by mixing it with water has been very well received in pilots with households In Kenya, and our more precise mechanism for dispensing water conserves a precious resource, ultimately saving time for the women and girls who collect water from communal sources.

Researchers are evaluating the acceptability and scale-up potential of an innovative handwashing system developed by Innovations for Poverty Action among 400 households, four public health clinics, and 30 public primary schools in peri-urban areas of Kisumu, Kenya.

Working together, Innovations for Poverty Action and Catapult Design used a human centered design approach to improve upon an existing “tippy-tap” handwashing station to create a more functional, durable, and cost-effective system. The water-efficient, soap-frugal handwashing system is portable and adaptable to multiple settings, with an innovative soap foam dispenser that conserves soap and a swinging water tap that is hygienic, easy to use, and conserves water.

This is a project funded under the USAID DIV scheme

Countries of activity

Location of main activity


The purpose of this project is to position the SW-HWS for scale-up in order to reduce the burden of diarrheal and respiratory diseases by facilitating handwashing with soap, while minimizing the time burden of water collection that falls to women and girls.

Further information

Research or implementation partners: Mathematica Policy Research, Stanford University, University at Buffalo,State University of New York, University at Buffalo,State University of New York

Filter tags

Behaviour change Enabling environment and institutional strengthening Health and hygiene Kenya North America Peri-urban Schools Specific to one or several countries Sub-Saharan Africa United States United States government University, education or research institution


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