POVU Poa Handwashing

  • POVU Poa (TM) Hand Washing
    Client: Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) & USAID
    Location: Kenya

    Objective: To design marketable, scalable, off-grid hand-washing equipment for home, school, and clinical use.

    Context: The lack of plumbing, the cost of soap, and the distance required to access water are just some of the reasons many in rural Western Kenya are not washing their hands correctly. IPA, an organization devoted to developing effective solutions to global poverty, engaged Catapult to explore solutions that address these barriers and encourage healthy handwashing behavior. 

    Process: Before Catapult began prototyping, we held town meetings, surveyed households, visited clinics, and engaged students in activities to glean insights. The team then conceptualized solutions that could adapt to three different settings--households, schools, and clinics. We prototyped and tested these concepts in-country and in-context, refined them, and tested again over several months. The team then lined up multiple tap and dispenser prototype options so we could efficiently determine user and stakeholder preferences. After this exploratory phase, we honed in on our product priorities-- soap security, affordability, and adaptability--and a dedicated-for-rinsing, water-frugal tap.

    Innovation & Impact: Catapult developed what is now branded as the POVU Poa (TM) or “cool foam” in Swahili. The core products consist of the water-frugal tap and the foaming soap dispenser. Both can be modularly applied to different systems. The swing tap allows for arm activation, customer control, and uses very little water. The accordion foamer transforms a teaspoon of powdered, liquid, or bar soap and 8oz of water into 100 foamy doses. Both can be locked into place to protect against theft and reduce everyday costs of handwashing by more than half compared to conventional off-grid systems.