Electrocomponents partners with The Washing Machine Project to improve the lives of 100,000 people worldwide

April 21, 2021

Three-year fundraising commitment will secure development and deployment of innovative off-grid washing machine for humanitarian use.

Electrocomponents, a global omni-channel solutions partner for industrial customers and suppliers, and the parent company of Allied Electronics & Automation has chosen The Washing Machine Project Foundation as its first global charity partner, pledging to support the project for three years. Support will extend to encouraging the Group’s employees, customers and suppliers to contribute through fundraising and volunteering activities.

The Washing Machine Project was set up in 2018 by British engineer Nav Sawhney following a sabbatical in South India, where he witnessed women and children enduring many backbreaking hours washing clothes by hand. He discovered that 70% of the world’s population do not have access to an electric washing machine and for many washing clothes in rivers, lakes and buckets is the only solution. Handwashing clothes is recognised as being a major barrier to education for low-income and displaced people around the world. This repetitive, demanding task, which can take upwards of 20 hours per week, often also leads to chronic back and joint pain.

This experience led Nav to develop a prototype for an affordable off-grid manual crank washing machine, the Divya. It is the only machine of its kind to be developed for humanitarian purposes and requires no electricity to operate. It uses a flywheel mechanism with drum-in-drum technology and combines washing and spin-dry functionality. Designed to be made from reusable off-the-shelf components and easily maintainable, it can be operated and fixed anywhere, by anyone. Using the Divya reduces the time spent handwashing clothes by 75% and requires 50% less water. It can handle loads up to 5 kg, despite weighing just 12 kg.

Nav and his team at The Washing Machine Project are working to further improve the design and to broaden its humanitarian, sustainable and educational impact. With multiple modes of activation, such as push, pull and foot, the Divya Two will be easier to use by people with disabilities. It has also been modified to be used while seated, to reduce muscle and joint strain and promote better posture.

Following trials last year, 50 Divyas are now in use in the Jeddah 5 refugee camp in Mosul, Iraq. By 2023, the plan is to have at least 7,500 machines available to disadvantaged families and communities in 10 countries, providing relief to around 100,000 people.

To continue its work the project requires essential funding. The three-year partnership with Electrocomponents will enable the charity to alleviate the burden of washing clothes for thousands of hard-hit families and communities. With an innovative engineering solution at its heart, the mission of The Washing Machine Project resonated with Electrocomponents’ own, as both organizations share the ambition of creating a more sustainable world.

“Electrocomponents’ support will provide critical funding and components to develop our future machine and build the capacity of our organization so that we can reach many more people in need,” commented Nav Sawhney, Founder, The Washing Machine Project.

“At Electrocomponents we are committed to inspiring a more sustainable world through education and innovative solutions that improve lives,” said Lindsley Ruth, Electrocomponents CEO. “That’s why we’ve chosen the Washing Machine Project Foundation as our first global charity partner and will mobilise our people, customers and suppliers in support of this fantastic cause.”

Support The Washing Machine Project
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