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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article24 April 20203 min read

Meet Abdikadir Adan, a man using simple innovations in the fight against COVID-19 in Somalia

Abdikadir Adan in the process of making a handwashing station. Dollow, Somalia. April 2020.
Abdiwali | BORESHA

By Abdiwali Muhamed | BORESHA Project

Abdikadir Adan aged 39 and a father of 9 children, lives in Dolow, Somalia. He is the owner of Horseed Garage, winner of an award in 2019 under the Grant Fund Facility of BORESHA under the Grow Your Business category. Established in 2016, Horseed Garage is currently the main auto mechanics business in Dollow District specializing in the maintenance and repair of all types of vehicles, air conditioners and diesel generators for both electricity generation and farm irrigation.

Thanks to the BORESHA Business grant, Abdikadir’s Horseed Garage is now able to repair up to 300 cars per month. In addition, he is now offering 30 other services including a new hand-free washing facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Funded by the European Union Trust Fund for Africa, the Building Opportunities for Resilience in the Horn of Africa (BORESHA) project’s promotes economic development and greater resilience among vulnerable groups in the Cross Border area between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

Aside of the garage services, Abdikadir also designs and fabricates tools and small machines using locally available materials and his welding machine. In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Abdikadir has designed hands-free hand washing equipment which is activated by foot pedals. This is how it works: by pressing one of the pedals, the machine releases soap and by pressing the other, water flows out of the tap! The pressure on the pedal controls the quantity of the liquid soap and the flow of water. It is simple and easy to use and currently in great demand not only with the local households and businesses but also NGOs and donors operating in Somalia. Its sales are increasing awareness of the community about safe hand washing while at the same time generating income for the business.

Explaining his innovation, Abdikadir says “The idea of innovation has been always on my mind. As a mechanic and technician, I always think about new ideas to improve the work I am doing. The new hand washing facility which can be used without using hands came to my mind after COVID-19 hit our country, Somalia. I realized we needed a different technology other than normal hand washing facility in order to ensure safe hand washing to prevent the disease.’’

Abdikadir is a great advocate of technical skills. He advises: “If you are serious about being successful in life then you can do nothing better than getting yourself a skill.” Abdikadir’s inspiration for the new technology emerged from his understanding of the potential impact of COVID-19. It will be disastrous once community transmission starts. Somalia does not have strong institutions which can provide the required support to the community to reduce the effect of the virus.

This new technology will help reduce the effect of the disease since it is easy to use. It is not difficult to develop or operate. The parts are all locally made and this makes it easy to repair. Many organizations and businesses are now ordering it, this will help to reduce the spread of the virus in public places, homes and businesses.

Abdikadir adds: “When I was designing the hand washing facility I wanted to ensure the quality, sustainability and suitability of the material and that the washing technique is appropriate for our people. It is so easy to use. What you need to do is to press the left pedal for the hand washing soap and press the right pedal using your leg to release the water. The most important thing is it is 100% safe to use it. After I tested the first sample a week ago, many people started coming to my place and ordering this equipment for their offices, businesses and households. I am now planning to produce more than20 pieces per week. If the demand increases, I have also the capacity to produce more.’’

To support this expanded business, and thanks to the BORESHA business grant, he has employed three additional technicians, attended business skill development training offered at the BORESHA Business Development Support Centre which also regularly offers advisory services as needed. The BORESHA grant has also enabled Abdikadir to purchase much needed equipment: hydraulic machines, mechanical apron, mechanical tools and the complete tool set for car maintenance. Abdikadir sums up the grant support “I have increased my income and have great confidence in the direction that my business is taking”.

Abdikadir Adan in the process of making a handwashing station. Dollow, Somalia. April 2020.
Abdiwali | BORESHA
Abdikadir has designed hands-free hand washing equipment which is activated by foot pedals.
Abdiwali | BORESHA


Publication date
24 April 2020
Region and Country
  • Somalia
  • Strengthening resilience of communities
  • Danish Refugee Council

Programmes in the region