News Release: Students in Somalia Invent Handwashing Machines to Combat COVID-19 Health Crisis

(SOMALIA) JULY 21, 2020 – The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has forced public health officials to come up with practical and innovative solutions to end the global health crisis.

Students from Kismayo Technical Institute, a technical vocational school in Somalia, which has been supported by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) since 2015, saw an opportunity to make innovative handwash facilities where individuals avoid direct contact with the tap and soap as water and soap is dispensed through pedaling.

Representatives from Iftin school in Kismayo inspect the handwash machines made by welding students from Kismayo Technical Institute (Photo courtesy: ADRA in Somalia)

“When I heard how the coronavirus spreads and how we need to wash our hands all the time, I tried to find out a way that we can build an innovative device where one can wash their hands without touching the soap dispenser or water tap,” says Mohamud Mohamed, the initiator of the handwash facility and a welding graduate from the institute.

“As washing hands is recommended during this time, so is the need to have a sustainable innovation that is adopted to improve the functioning of an existing product,” says Kaibe Makasoma, ADRA’s project manager.

The students from the institute were able to make 50 innovative handwash facilities through the NORAD-funded Strengthening Equity, Access and Quality in Education (SEAQE) Project.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Somalia, the handwash facilities were distributed in MCHs, schools, government institutions and ministries, learning centers, hotels and restaurants and the seaport in Kismayo District.

The handwash facilities being assembled for distribution in government ministries in Kismayo (Photo courtesy: ADRA in Somalia)

“These activities complement previous COVID-19 prevention works that the Ministry of Health and ADRA have done that include radio awareness messages, erecting infographic billboards, community health awareness and distribution of information, education and communication (IEC) materials,” says Kaibe.

The three-month COVID-19 response, that started in May is supported by the SEAQE Project and funded by NORAD. The response is expected to reach over 17,000 beneficiaries in Jubbaland and Banadir Regional Administration.

ADRA in Somalia implements emergency relief and development interventions in livelihoods and economic development, education, renewable energy, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and emergency management. ADRA’s work is anchored on a programming approach that recognizes the essence of the communities taking leadership in their own development.

ADRA through NORAD and ADRA in Norway have been supporting Kismayo Technical Institute since 2015. Cumulatively, 1,758 (1,142 male and 616 female) youth and vulnerable women have been trained in vocational skills (TVET). The institute currently has 300 students and offers six technical and vocation courses which include electricity, welding, carpentry, auto mechanics and computer studies, and garment making.

For more information about ADRA’s response in Somalia, visit

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The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended. For more information, visit

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