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.
Gurpreet - Data & Marketing Strategy
Gurpreet is responsible for Data & Marketing strategy at the Washing Machine Project. She is currently a Data Scientist at Microsoft. In this role, she is responsible for providing data solutions to both marketing and product teams. Gurpreet graduated from Brunel University in 2016 with a BSc in Mathematics. She also has Drama qualifications and is currently studying Machine Learning.
Throughout her career, she has developed a versatile skill set following roles in Financial Analysis, Product Management, Business Management and Data Science. She is adept at finding solutions to business problems using data.
Outside of her career, she is passionate about humanitarianism. She joined the Washing Machine project to lead any Data Analytics and Marketing efforts. Currently, she is working on collecting research through competitor analysis, social listening and creating/analysing surveys.
Orla - Team Member
Orla currently works in a non-profit communications and strategy agency. Her previous experience includes being a research assistant in the Global History department at the Freie Universität Berlin, where she also completed a masters with a focus on gender and decolonisation.
While in Germany she helped to run creative workshops for adults with learning disabilities with local organisation Dynamis e.V. In 2012 she also completed a
monitoring and evaluation internship with a student-led NGO in southern Rwanda, RVCP.
Orla joined the Washing Machine Project in early 2019 and was drawn to its people-centred ethos, putting the women who could most benefit from the project at the heart of the design process.
Oli - Strategy Analyst
Oliver contributes to the project as a Strategy Analyst, collectively bringing his expertise in strategy and innovation with a focus on human and sustainable development. He is currently an Analyst for a Consulting firm in Barcelona, Inveniam, specialising in technology and global development. As well as being an Analyst for an Impact Investment firm, Fundie Ventures, based in Madrid.
Previously, he has gained a multitude of experiences, including in non-profit organisations and Deloitte Consulting. He obtained a BA in History at Goldsmiths University and an MSc International Business from UPF in Barcelona. Fundamentally, Oliver joined the Washing Machine Project believing that its technology has the capability to ignite positive systemic development and improve the lives of millions.
Adiba - Team Member
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.