As a safe water enterprise responding to the COVID-19 outbreak across Sub-Saharan Africa, we were challenged to rethink handwashing facilities in our communities. Our local technicians quickly facilitated the introduction of the Maji Bucket: A Zero-Touch Handwashing station; a truly Ghanaian invention made only using locally available materials.
Project Maji’s COVID-19 response has been primarily focused on the promotion of hand hygiene as a frontline preventative measure against the virus. Thanks to our generous supporters, we have been running a handwashing and soap distribution campaign in rural Ghana. As a result, we have trained thousands of people on proper hand hygiene practices and distributed bars of soap across Maji communities.
However, a handwashing station must be safe to use, ensuring the solution itself does not ignite greater spread of the virus. Therefore, we complemented increased awareness around proper handwashing techniques with safe handwashing facilities that do not become a source of contagion themselves. Our engineers accepted this challenge, put their innovation caps on and invented the ‘Maji bucket’. A no-touch, foot-operated safe handwashing station.
What is the Maji Bucket?
The Maji bucket is a simple low-tech Ghanaian invention developed with a vision to ensure safe handwashing practices among rural communities. First off, the handwashing station is foot-operated, eliminates the need for touch and successfully curbs the spread of bacteria. In addition, not only is it highly affordable, it is made of locally available products that allow for its easy replication and bulk production. See a brief overview of the Maji Bucket here.
As a safe water enterprise, we believe in outsourcing technology for social good. Therefore, we encourage communities to assemble their own Maji buckets. Our enthusiastic field teams are ready to train key community members in assembly and operation of the buckets. The trained individuals are expected to pass on their learnings to the wider community, so that Maji buckets can be as widely replicated as possible to curb virus transmission. Here is a glimpse of a pilot assembly training from one of Maji communities:
Please watch this one-minute assembly video for a quick teaser of the entire process:
Maji Bucket in Action
This Global Handwashing Day, Project Maji has tied shoelaces with ultra-runner Mina Guli to raise awareness around the importance of handwashing, under a campaign called #Sweat4Soap. For every 100 km logged by runners around the globe, 1 bucket will be donated to a community we serve, as a result of the generous support of Aqua for all. Register now and get your race bib at sweat4soap.com.
For the campaign, 150 Maji Buckets will be proudly produced by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD), with whom we have signed an MoU. GFD, is a national umbrella organization that works with the vision to ensure inclusive employment and Project Maji wants to contribute to this mission. Our technical team will provide a step by step training of the production of the bucket, creating local inclusive employment opportunities.
In addition, in Ghana, the Red Cross has taken note of our initiative and we have presented the Maji Bucket during a demo session. Ghana Red Cross has praised the initiative and we are jointly exploring the implementation thereof.