Designing and commercializing a hand washing device

Posted in — Cambodia Sanitation > Design
April 16, 2019
3132 Idecam Research Tools Bug
iDE Global WASH

Affordability remains a key issue for uptake of hand washing products connected to latrine shelters.

Hand washing is considered one of the most effective ways to reduce diarrheal diseases. Behavioral change requires not only understanding the need for washing your hands and training on the most effective way, but also a convenient place and method to do so. Yet there are few commercial hand washing devices for rural Cambodians. During our research in 2017, the most common device used was a ladle. User interviews indicated these ladles were cumbersome and often placed inconveniently, far from the site of defecation.

As part of sanitation marketing, iDE broadened its focus to designing and commercializing a hand washing device that would be integrated into iDE’s latrine shelters. As with everything iDE designs, the intention of the hand washing product was for it to be affordable, desirable, and feasible for local manufacturers. In collaboration with our in-house innovation design lab in Cambodia, iDE took the following steps:

  • Conducted extensive qualitative field research to identify current practices, beliefs systems, potential behavior change triggers and aspirations associated with hand hygiene in rural Cambodia.
  • Created product design guidelines and crafted a series of device prototypes soliciting user feedback to test desirability and product functionality.
  • Developed the manufacturing manual and training materials for latrine business owners to produce the device.

Promoting integrated hand washing devices is effective in addressing barriers to hand washing. Adding a handwashing option to a shelter product (priced between USD $200-400) is a negligible increase to the total cost. But the real problem is that the number of customers who can afford a shelter is limited, and financing sanitation products remains a challenge.