Meet the Ghanaian shoemaker fighting coronavirus with science (VIDEO)

He calls himself a shoe manufacturer who majors in the production of different shoes, locally made, for mass consumption. He is passionate about what he does but beyond that, he is a problem solver, who looks around for an opportunity to help in whatever situation wherever he finds himself.

It was such an occasion that motivated Richard Kwarteng to produce what has now become known as the automated handwashing machine in Ghana.

It’s almost like a Veronica Bucket, only better. Just like the first manufacturer of the handwashing equipment, his motivation he says, was stemmed from the desire to help Ghanaians maintain the hygienic habit.

Interestingly, Richard’s only background in science is from what he gained during his studies in Secondary school.

He told Kofi TV in an interview, that the idea was birthed after the President’s lockdown announcement and some friends; Boakye and Kofi Edem, who shared his dream, joined him make it a reality.

Narrating how it all folded out, he said,

“I’m the brain behind the idea but I had some help from a few friends with the execution. I’m a graduate of the Christian Service University with the marketing option but I did some science at the secondary level at T.I Ahmadiyya.

I’m someone who tries to find solutions to problems. I’m a shoemaker and we are creative. I went to town to purchase a few items after the President announced the lockdown, having realised how people were rushing.


It was then I noticed the Veronica buckets and then I asked what else can be done to improve on that invention to make it attractive and motivative enough for people to practice handwashing.

So I introduced this.”

How the automatic handwashing machine works:

It is made up of a tank, a tap, a solar panel and battery compartment, and a tank. To use the machine which uses a sensor to operate, Mr. Kwarteng explained that this had to be done;

“You take your palms close and it drops some amount of liquid soap into your palms. From that point, an alarm beeps for 25 seconds during which you can thoroughly wash your hands according to the World Health Organisation standard. Water flows after that automatically for rinsing and stops after some time.

The clean water for rinsing in the container is 80 liters and can cater for a total of 150 persons. It is powered by the solar to make it available at all locations. There are also batteries available that can power it for about 48 hours when the solar power runs out.”

Richard explained that his colleagues, Boakye and Edem Kofi had various roles.

Boakye, who specialises in electronics installed the solar system and Richard Edem Kofi worked on the body works.