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Provide the rural poor in Africa with portable wash stations to be manufactured in their respective villages as a cottage industry.

Photo of Tony Livoti
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As the world reacts to the Coronavirus pandemic’s scourge to our society, the most vulnerable people who are ill, the disenfranchised and the homeless are the most vulnerable people in the world to COVID-10. Africa’s current programs to stem the onlaught of the COVID-19 virus is challenged with the ‘informal economy’ of some of the Arican communities making nationwide and citywide lockdowns, quarintines, and ‘shelter-in-place’ practices harder to implement than other developed countries. Also, these rural poor people are currently more concerned about how to feed and shelter their familes for the next week than to worry about a spreading virus they know little about.

Africa is also battling other diseases such as malaria, cholera and HIV that further comprimes the rural poor’s immune systems with other inflictions and malnutrition. Most of Africa’s rural poor live in difficult-to-reach areas that don’t have access to the 24/7 media deluge of how to prevent and treat the most contagious virus in modern man’s history as their neighbors are experiencing in the more developed regions of their country

Immediate action needs to be taken now to deploy a model program that informs Africa’s rural poor of how to change their cultural patterns of close physical contact and start to practice the sanitation, ‘social distancing’ and ‘shelter-in-place’ practices combined with basic health care services.

Rwanda, the 2nd smallest country on the African continent sometimes called ‘the heart of Africa’, has been a shining model of leadership in the African continent launching many new 21st-century technologies and progressive programs.

APESEK which is a leading youth and health care NGO in the Rutsiro District in western Rwanda and strategic partner to IDEA, is launching a solution and model program for the African continent that addresses this pandemic challenge.

 Rural Medical Services (RMS) Model Program

  • Installation of Handwash Stations for 2,500 Poor Families in Rutsiro District
  • Rwanda Training program for 180 nurses working in 17 health            centers and the Murunda   
  •             hospital
  •       Distribution of 15,000 COVID-19 Message Leaflets
  •       Broadcast COVID-19 Radio Messaging that reach the rural poor with only simple cell     
  •            phones and radios

What is the need are you focusing on?

The rural poor of Africa need to have portable wash stations in their homes because the majority of them do not have running water.  We need to get the families a simple wash station as described and shown above as soon as possible.  We have a strategic partner, APESEK, a NGO in Rutsiro, Rwanda that will create a cottage industry in their villages by manufacturing and then distributing these wash stations as shown in the above video..

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

The image of the wash station submitted above is a cottage industry to manufacturing wash stations as an immediate answer to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the very vulnerable rural poor of Africa who have already have immune systems inflicted with HIV and malaria. This effort is a basic 'grass roots' effort. We also see the need for Wash Stations that are portable, easily transported and can be assembled quickly for the new post 'COVID-19' world where portable wash stations will be needed everywhere where people congregate. The homeless of Los Angeles is another example of whee they will be needed.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

The world has a new scenario of how to deal with very contagious viruses such as COVID-19. Sanitation and social contact will be minimized for the immediate future but washing your hands wherever you might be will be come the new norm for living in the post COVID-19 world and this effort will save many lives.

What is the name of your business or organization?

IDEA - International Development Exchange Association

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

We are planning to build 21st-century infrastructure Eco-Lab-Villages (ElV) in Native America and rural Rwanda. These ELVs will be the model for learning how to exist in harmony with Mother Nature rather than change her to exist, and provide tried and proven solutions on how to stop the oncoming surge of Climate Change.

What is your profession?

Founder and President of the Monterey Bay International Trade Assocation (MBITA), a leader in trade promotion services in California for over 25 years

Where are you located (country)?

United State

Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Business/Consulting

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 0-10

How old is your business/company?

  • 10 or more years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Social Enterprise

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Funding- Investment
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Government
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Civil Society Groups
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Grassroots/Community Groups

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • No

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

We are prepared and ready to implement the RMS project but need funding.

If you are currently working on a pivot, what have you learned so far?

We have learned that a solution to an immediate crisis can also be an opportunity to create jobs, in this case a cottage industry manufacturing business. Also, to take the grass roots effort of RMS and support the effort to create a potable, inexpensive and easy to assemble was station for the masses.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

No, we are not.

Website URL

Attachments (1)


This is a one page summary of the Rural Medical Services (RMS) program to provide simple wash stations that can be a cottage manufacturing business as a model for the rural poor in African. RMS will start with a model in the Rutsiro District of Rwanda. Also, an aggressive information campaign of leaflets and radio ads will be provided to the rural villages of Rutsiro on COVID-19 social and hygiene practices.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Koldun Victor

Good idea!

Photo of Tony Livoti

Thank you Koldum. How can we proceed with our application for possible financial support through your offering? Tony Livoti Mobile: 831-334-2218

Photo of Koldun Victor

I am only a contestant in this competition.

I just liked your approach to solving the problem - it is practical and understandable how to implement it. Most of the projects in this competition are beautiful music in the fog ;-) . But you are a very pleasant exception.

Photo of Mohini Aghor

This is really innovative!