The story of the simple innovative and cost-effective handwashing stand

Eritrea promotes workplace safety, hygiene and safe re-opening of Government offices and businesses during COVID-19

September 24, 2020

Hand washstands are manufactured to be distributed at the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) in Asmara. © UNDP Eritrea/Modici

The National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) has introduced simple and effective handwashing stands. This ensures workplace safety and wellbeing whilst also promoting local innovation and job creation in Eritrea. This initiative, of  the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) in partnership with  UNDP  Eritrea, aims to provide support in the re-opening of different categories of businesses, ensuring workplace safety and well-being with the provision of adequate hand sanitation in line with the prevention of the spreading of the COVID19 and supporting livelihoods.

As the world and the Government of Eritrea gradually move towards easing the lockdown measures and preparing offices and businesses to reopen, UNDP in Eritrea is working closely with the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW), to put in place workplace safety measures that will protect lives and build back confidence for smooth  takeoff of businesses.

The ideation, design and manufacture of the handwashing stand has revitalized local innovation and creativity bolstering the country’s philosophy of “self-reliance”, with much expertise drawn from the local skilled workforce. The innovative, cost efficient and effective handwashing tanker stand operates exclusively on the pedal, in order to exclude the use of hands while using the handwashing stand thus reducing contamination.

This initiative also ensures the promotion of job creation and revitalizing of livelihoods empowerment, with 195 workers participating in the whole process from designing, building, and timely delivery of stands along with detergents and face masks. Strong commitment and flexibility were pursued by all those who were involved in the building of the stands as the work involved the fabrication of molds and modification of existing apparatus.

Eritrea remains one of the least affected countries in terms of infection rate and with zero COVID-19 related deaths thus far. It is remarkable to note that the recovery rate of coronavirus patients in Eritrea is 90% (330 out of 369 total positive cases have recovered to date). Since the early detection of the first coronavirus case in China in December 2019, and the subsequent outbreak in many countries, the Government of the State of Eritrea (GoSE) has been embarking on proactive progressive approaches as part of its overall prevention, preparedness and response strategy against COVID-19. An immediate response and preparedness strategy that among others includes precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic was strictly implemented by the Government of Eritrea.

As a contribution to the work already in place, UNDP in Eritrea renewed its Committment and solidarity to the people and Government of Eritrea and responded swiftly by extending both financial and technical support to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. James Wakiaga, underlines: “…..The manufacture of simple handwashing and sanitizing machine is one of initiatives developed in close coordination with the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) aimed to promote workplace safety, build trust and facilitate the re-opening of government offices, the private sector and  different categories of businesses in line with the prevention of the spreading of the COVID19 and supporting livelihoods. This intervention is not only about promoting workplace safety, hygiene and sanitation but it has also stimulated local level creativity and innovation as well as livelihood empowerment and job creation”

During the first phase of this initiative, NCEW placed 250 handwashing stands in key hospitals and communities as well as in public places including Schools, Administrations and Civil organizations. Approximately 195 jobs were created with the revamping of a local manufacturing outlet that designed and produced the handwash stands hence rebuilding livelihoods.

UNDP Eritrea will continue to support the efforts by the Government of State of Eritrea (GoSE) towards the COVID-19 response and recovery with the critical aim of safeguarding progress on the achievement of the SDGs to leave no one behind.


For media enquiry, please contact:

Monica Modici, Communications Analyst, UNDP Eritrea at