Ghana, a country the size of Utah but with 31 million inhabitants, is benefitting from good old-fashion ingenuity in its fight against COVID-19.
In Kumasi, the cultural capital of the country located in the Ashanti region, a 2-week lockdown to control the spread inspired a man to a wonderful invention.
In less than 48 hours, 32-year old shoemaker Richard Kwarteng and his brother Jude Osei managed to gather all the necessary supplies to turn an old recycled metal barrel into a solar-powered hand-washing basin to encourage sanitation habits among the neighborhood.
Set to run on a 25-second timer, in correspondence with the CDC guidelines for handwashing duration, it would need not only elements of plumbing, but also electrical engineering like sensors, alarms, and a motherboard, yet be able to work like a normal hands-free sink.
Fortunately the street markets of Ghanaian cities carry every component under the sun, and with the help of a friend who worked as an electrician and was able to handle the computer element, Kwarteng finished his invention in just five days.
Osei recorded a video of Kwarteng demonstrating how to use the device and posted it on social media. It immediately went viral. “It was amazing to see the shares and likes,” Kwarteng told CNN. “We started getting calls left and right. We were so proud of ourselves,” he added.
Just two days after the video went viral, Ghanaian government workers contacted the brothers to see if more machines could be constructed for placement around cities throughout the country.
“I pray this pandemic will go away and there are better days ahead,” he said. “We hope this will help people to practice normal hand-washing etiquette and we are very grateful for everyone’s support.”