Rainwater Handwashing Station to Stop COVID-19

We have an opportunity to save lives right now:

We know what we should be doing to protect ourselves and our families during the COVID-19 pandemic: practice social distancing, wear a mask, and regularly wash your hands with soap or sanitizer for at least 20 seconds. But what if you don’t have access to running water — let alone soap? Globally 3 billion people live without access to running water. Help us reduce that number for an at-risk community in Savar, Bangladesh during this pandemic.

COVID-19 continues to affect millions of lives and the disease is spreading in vulnerable communities around the world. In Bangladesh, this crisis has exacerbated already fragile conditions among poor families and communities. In just the last 2 months, the pandemic has destroyed access to wages, crippled supply chains for food and medicine, and left families without the means to support themselves.

In this difficult time we have been working with our local partners in Bangladesh to develop and deliver an inexpensive and scalable solution to combat the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. Together, we are prototyping a handwashing station that harvests and stores the rain from the heavy monsoon season for use by the community.

The logic is simple. Hand washing saves lives by combating the spread of diseases. Our design funnels the daily summer rainfall into tanks that store water for community members to use for handwashing. Paired with community training on handwashing this simple solution can save thousands of lives.

Here’s the scientific rationale:

The human coronavirus was first identified in the mid-1960s. This group of viruses have been responsible for a number of recent epidemics: SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and 2019-nCoV aka COVID-19.

COVID-19 is believed to  spread from person to person through direct contact or via aerosols and is highly contagious. Data indicates that COVID-19 is 5 times deadlier than the common flu and can lead to a multitude of dangerous complications in certain patients. The young and the old are affected and without access to proper medical care, severe cases tend to lead to death.

Here’s where handwashing becomes critically important in places without access to proper medical care. A person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. Hands play a crucial role in the transmission of COVID-19 and handwashing is the key preventative factor from being infected by the virus. Help us stop the spread of COVID-19.

This is the looming crisis we want to tackle in Savar, Bangladesh:

According to the latest estimates by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, three billion people don’t have soap and water at home. In Bangladesh, almost 23 million people live with limited handwashing facilities without soap and water and about 8 million have no access to handwashing facility at all (WHO/UNICEF JMP, 2017).

We are fundraising to prototype and deploy a handwashing station model that utilizes harvest rainwater within the next 30 days. The design is simple and sustainable. Once we test the prototype stations the local community can replicate and scale the station easily.

We have been working in the Savar region of Bangladesh since 2014 implementing our award winning Mud to Mortar project replacing dirt floors with a new flooring assembly to combat diarrheal diseases. We want to use the fact that Bangladesh has an annual rainfall up to 11 inches during the monsoon months from April to October to stop the spread of COVID-19.
48319492_1590673784655813_r.jpeg(Community handwashing training, Fall 2019.)

(Community members waiting to receive emergency food supplies, Spring 2020.)

Design specs:

500 Liter tank filled by monsoon rainwater filtered through a simple fired clay filter

+ Foot pedal operated spout

+ 5 Liter foot pedal operated hand soap dispenser

(Technical training by ARCHIVE and partners in Bangladesh, Fall 2018.)

But that’s not all we are doing in this emergency:

In addition to delivering a sustainable handwashing station, here’s what else we are going to do with your support:

+ We will continue to deliver community health training around proper handwashing and ways to stop the spread of COVID-19.

+ We will purchase PPE for our local partner organizations so that they can protect their teams as they work to help families in Savar, Bangladesh.

+We will deliver emergency food supplies for families in critical need - a supply of grains, vegetables, and cooking oil that sustains a family of 4-5 people for 7 days.
(Local partner distributing emergency food supplies to community, Spring 2020.)

Project Budget

Emergency food supplies for 1,700+ family members              $2,000.00 USD

Building and testing handwashing stations                                      $1,500.00 USD

Community hand washing training and soap                                   $   600.00 USD

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)                                                 $   500.00 USD

Admin Support                                                                                                   $   400.00 USD
48319492_1590674159973786_r.jpeg(Handwashing training used for hygiene training, 2018.)


Who we are:

ARCHIVE Global (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments) harnesses the power of the built environment to improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities around the world. We design, implement, and evaluate purposeful, human-centric projects that create healthy homes, increase health literacy and safe behavioral practices among beneficiary communities.

ARCHIVE works with vulnerable communities worldwide to improve living conditions and health outcomes through cost-effective and scalable design interventions to the built environment. We focus on a three-pronged approach of research, design/construction, and advocacy. 

+ Our preliminary research helps us better understand the community's health needs and its housing stock. Every project begins with household surveys to establish a baseline understanding of the built environment’s potential impact on health. Post implementation we continue to monitor and evaluate these interventions, and iteratively improve them based on our communities’ needs and data.

+ Based on our initial assessment of the community, the public health concern(s) at hand, and locally available materials, we design and construct targeted and replicable interventions to existing homes in collaboration with local tradesmen.

+ We deliver comprehensive education and training to improve behavioral practices for beneficiary families and community members. We use this opportunity to train local tradesmen in construction methodologies and provide capacity building for our local implementing partners.  

At our core, we use one basic right – housing – to deliver one basic need – health.

The Association of Development for Economic & Social Help (ADESH) is a nationally registered Bangladeshi non-governmental organization. ADESH’s mission is to build an equitable society by focusing on poverty alleviation, women’s development and rights, health, water, & sanitation, human rights development education, and environment & climate change. ADESH was established in 1988, delivers programs in Dhaka & Manikganj districts, and indirectly works with like minded partner organizations in 5 different Districts. ADESH has 30 years of experience working in communities on issues such as women’s empowerment, vaccination campaigns, and general social and economic development of indigent and vulnerable women and families. Its mission is to build an equitable society and to ensure people’s participation towards a just and gender balanced society.


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Hinrik Kolos 
New York, NY
ARCHIVE Global (ARCHIVE Global) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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