Government in support of innovative SME

The Government of Namibia has been in support of innovative SMEs that bring about change in the nation. One such is the Mobile Hand washing Basin Project run by Joseph Auala. 

The project that was established in 2008 did not struggle acquiring equipment as the Ministry of Trade and Industry provided with relevant equipment. 

“I am happy to say the Ministry of Trade and Industry provided me with equipment as I registered my project and the SME bank looks promising as well after they see the progress of the project. The new Government is doing great as well because it supports upcoming businesses,” says Auala. 

The Mobile Hand Washing Basin is a practical tool that promotes a hygienic lifestyle. It is built with metal and is indestructible, thereby giving it a long usage life. The basin is made up of a metal stand, a water container, a tap with handle, a cleansing bowl, soap holder and a rack to hold a tissue-roll or a hand towel. 

According to Auala, it can also be wheeled around and positioned anywhere. According to Auala the basin holds water and can be used by up to 30 people before it needs to be refilled or emptied. It is ideal for the home, big events, weddings, crèches and clinics. It comes in three different sizes ranging from small buckets of 12 to 13 litres, medium 20 litres and large buckets of 25 litres. 

Throughout the day people accumulate germs on their hands from a variety of sources, such as direct contact with people, contaminated surfaces, foods, animals and animal waste. When people do not wash their hands enough they can infect themselves with these germs by touching their eyes nose or mouth. 

These can spread through direct contact between people or surfaces germs to others by touching them or by touching surfaces for example doorknobs. This increases the spread of diseases that are commonly exchanged through hand-to-hand contact. These include the common cold, flu and several other gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea. 

The small business which used to operate at a backyard has since transformed into a stall and the owner employed someone to help out in producing the metal stands. “My employee started this year in April though I started operating from a convenient place last year,” he says. 

Auala adds that his business contributes to the development of Namibia’s economy as he managed to get his handyman from the streets and is now earning a salary which helps him and his family. 

“The more I get requests from people who want the basins, the more the number of workers will increase for the good of this nation,” he adds. 

“There is also a request from the Ministry of Agriculture for me to help them with 600 basins so they can go and teach people in the rural areas how to clean their hands and this is already a sign that people are interested,” he says. 

Auala has also approached the Ministry of Health and Social Services which is willing to send some of these basins to clinics in rural areas. He says some clinics do not have taps and as a result patients use one basin to wash their hands. “I will try to support all clinics in rural areas throughout Namibia there are clinics and clinics are there forever that is why the mobile hand washing basin will be here forever,” he says. 

He also explains that it is a new era of for Namibia to export home made products. One Canadian woman even saw his products online and requested for two basins. 

He however says before getting space to rent at the Incubator he faced so many challenges working from his backyard. “I was working at home and it would rain and sometimes it would be windy and I could not work because electricity cannot mix with water, so I always had to take a day off when it was raining but now I have space to operate from and I can work at anytime,” he explains. 

Auala also emphasises that the process of assembling the stands is not a walk in the park. It requires hard work. “It depends on how hard and fast the person is working, as I became used to making the stands I could do two or three at a time, but my handyman can make four in a day as he is working full time,” he says. 

He says he ensures satisfaction for all his customers by repairing or fixing what needs to be fixed and shows them how to clean the metal so that it always shines.