Nav Sawhney is the founder of The Washing Machine Project. Nav was born and brought up in London but his family are from unpartitioned India. During the 1947 Indian Independence, Nav’s father and his family fled their home from what now is Pakistan with only the clothes on their backs. This has always been the foundations of why he wants to help people fleeing conflict.
Whether it’s building lifesaving cookstoves in rural India, being a trustee of an international development charity, Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK), building clean water systems for an orphanage in Namibia or volunteering my time at a local homeless shelter for migrants in London. He has always been passionate about helping others, with a particular interest in International Development.
With over five years of professional engineering experience at global technology companies such as Dyson and Jaguar Land Rover behind him, now is the perfect moment to combine his desire to help people combined with his Engineering skills.
Alex - Design Engineer
Alex brings his engineering experience to the fore of the innovation and design aspect of the Project. For as long as Alex can remember he has loved anything to do with re-imagining, improving or just understanding the everyday objects we use.
Although his natural inclination is towards that of a mechanically focused design engineer, throughout his education he became increasingly fascinated about how people interact with the products we design. This lead to him studying and obtaining his MSc in Medical Design at Nottingham Trent University in 2012. Since then Alex followed a personal ambition which was to work at Dyson, contributing through both NPI and NPD on a range of Floorcare and Haircare products, often reviewing with James Dyson himself. Alex is passionate about design and has always had a huge number of interests and projects in and outside of work.
Maddy - Programme Manager
Madeleine is the WASH Programme Manager for the Washing Machine Project. Having volunteered for 8 years with local charities, primarily working with disabled and disadvantaged children, she is passionate about humanitarianism and providing a good quality of life for all. Madeleine brings her corporate experience in coordination and strategic planning to help keep our WASH projects running as smoothly as possible. This involves networking and collaborating with individuals and organisations within the WASH sector; gathering information, furthering public relations and researching innovative WASH programmes.
She is an MSc student studying Humanitarianism, Conflict and Development with a BA in Politics and Modern History.
Vishal - Head Of Engineering
Vishal leads the product development and manufacturing, developing ideas from conceptual hand sketches to functional prototypes, testing and iterating until they meet the end-users needs. He managed the engineering team to develop The Washing Machine Project’s first product and led a large team of volunteers to manufacture 50 of these machines for a trial with 50 families who live in an Internally Displaced Person Camp in Iraq.
Vishal is a qualified science teacher and engineer with experiences in several high tech industries as well as international development with Engineers without Borders UK and Selco Foundation in rural south India. He has a scientific and experimental approach to product design, identifying unknowns and assumptions, then developing knowledge through testing, research and collaboration.
Vishal studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London for four years, gaining a Masters (MEng) Degree and learned how to use creative methods for product design from tutors at the Royal College of Art. He has a strong interest in technology startups and innovation. He completed the Design London fellowship at Imperial College Business School and has won competitions in design and entrepreneurship.
Adiba - Design Engineer
Adiba is currently a third-year Biomedical Engineering student at Queen Mary University and is very enthusiastic about humanitarian engineering. She is the President of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) society at her university where she has led many innovative projects, charity fundraising events, outreach workshops and organised events.
Her role within the design engineering team is to research, design and carry out material selection for different parts of the machine. She is also helping to manufacture the machine.
Adiba is from Bangladesh and has seen people spending hours every day washing clothes. This inspired her to get involved with the washing machine project as she believes she can remove the burden of handwashing clothes for thousands of people in collaboration with the rest of the team.
Zac Ellis - Digital Marketing Manager
Zac is responsible for developing and delivering the social media strategy of The Washing Machine Project. He is a third-year Geography with Innovation MSc student studying at the University of Bristol. Having learnt about the vast inequalities present in the world, he is passionate about trying to do his part to help provide a good quality of life for all. He is enthusiastic about humanitarianism projects that use innovation to improve peoples everyday lives in simple but meaningful ways.
Zac's role within the team is to spread the message of The Washing Machine Project to as many people as possible using traditional and innovative marketing strategies. He manages content creation and distribution. He has previous experience in marketing from starting his own online business.