South Sudan

Khamisa invented a no-touch hand washing station during COVID-19

The Sudanese refugee is now working for DRC as an outreach worker assisting in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Khamisa Bilal Musa is a 32-year old refugee from Blue Nile. In 2011, she fled her native Sudan to escape from conflict, entered South Sudan through the route of Alfoch to Jamam and later settled in Batil Camp. Two years later, Khamisa started working with DRC as an Outreach worker.

The news of the COVID-19 outbreak and associated preventive measures did not resonate well with the community. Indeed, handshaking and hugging are an important part of social interactions that seemed impossible to avoid.

As an Outreach worker, Khamisa benefited from a DRC training on community sensitization, with a focus on COVID-19. “Social distancing, refraining from handshaking and regular handwashing are the key preventive measures of COVID-19.” She sensitized her children, family and neighbours to the importance of respecting preventive measures, yet some problems remained.

Rope and sticks for safer hand washing

Indeed, Khamisa observed that “the traditional hand washing facility in the camps is made of a tin and ibirit (jug), where you pour water on one hand and then change hands and wash the other, does not by any chance meet the needed COVID-19 preventive standards.”

There was a need for innovation.

Using a rope, stick and three small poles, Khamisa made a no-touch hand washing station. Thanks to a pulley system, the water flow is activated by stepping on a stick, ensuring that the water nor the tap are contaminated. Khamisa installed her new hand washing technology in seven households.

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