The Washing Machine Project, a grassroots organisation that provides off-grid manual washing machines to people on low income and displaced communities, is embarking on a new collaboration with the Whirlpool Foundation to deliver 10,000 manual washing machines across the world over the next five years.

The new partnership will enable The Washing Machine Project, led by University of Bath graduate Nav Sawhney, to install the Divya manual machines in India, Mexico, Brazil, Republic of Congo, Uganda and Sudan, impacting 150,000 people.

In its first five years, the collaboration will help unlock approximately 17 million hours for women and girls to improve quality of life and halve overall water usage, bringing efficient and sustainable washing solutions where they are needed most. Nav Sawhney, who completed a masters in Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development at the University of Bath, said: “We are honoured to partner with the Whirlpool Foundation. This collaboration is a testament to what can be achieved when compassion meets technology.

“Together we are set to revolutionize laundry practices globally, paving the way for a more equitable and prosperous future for hundreds of thousands of people.”

According to the World Health Organization, 70% of households worldwide depend on women and girls for water collection and laundry. The Project estimates that people spend up to 20 hours each week hand washing clothes in underserved communities globally.

The collaboration will help save time and create opportunities for learning, income-generating activities and more time with family.

The world's first flat-packable manual washing machine allows users to wash their clothes without electricity or a connected water source. Its simple design reduces the prolonged physical effort usually required to hand wash clothes, replacing it instead with a simple manual machine that can be used frequently and safely, saving the user up to 76% of the time compared to hand washing clothes.

“We greatly admire the mission and work of The Washing Machine Project and see an opportunity to help impact more lives collectively than either of us could individually," said Pam Klyn, Whirlpool Corporation executive vice president, corporate relations and sustainability.

Before embarking on The Washing Machine Project, Nav was an engineer at Dyson. He studied at Bath to understand more about humanitarianism and build connections in the field.

Dr Oliver Walton, Director of Studies for the MSc in Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development, said: “My most lasting memory of Nav is his incredible commitment. On our field trip to Jordan, he spent all his time networking with humanitarian agencies. He’s a coordinator, a motivator, and a ’super rep’ for the course.”

During his time at Bath, Nav received a £12,000 grant from The University of Bath Alumni Innovation Award to help him realise his project, including a virtual membership at SETSquared, Bath’s award-winning business incubator.

He said: “The University has been integral to our growth and has fuelled our innovation. Whenever we've had a problem, the University has been there.”