Bold innovations to improve water and sanitation for all:
The WASH Innovation Challenge
YY Ventures had partnered with Aqua for All, Bopinc and GSMA
to launch the WASH Innovation Challenge in April, 2021, with the collective mission to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 - Clean water and sanitation for all, by empowering the most promising WASH entrepreneurs working on improving the water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions of underserved communities in Bangladesh.
After an intensive selection process, 12 teams were selected to participate in the WASH Innovation Challenge, who had the opportunity of attending 3-day long boot camps, and received tailored mentoring from seasoned WASH experts. By the end of this program, Uttaran was named the winner of the WASH Innovation Challenge for their work on providing low-cost drinking water for the most marginalized communities and was rewarded with a cash prize of €2.500 for their initiative to provide affordable safe water in hard-to-reach areas of southwest Bangladesh.
Aqua for All supports local entrepreneurs on their scaling pathway and is continuing to support four enterprises that participated in this WASH Innovation Challenge - Shapla, Wreetu, Tetra, and Dreamwater, to enable them to test their models from April-October 2022 before they launch as full-scaled businesses. Each team of entrepreneurs will receive a seed funding of €10.500 from Aqua for All, undergo training and receive piloting support from Bopinc. Read along to learn more about each of these enterprises trying to bring bold innovations in the WASH sector in Bangladesh:
Tetra is working to improve the lives of rural people who are affected by salinity in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. To combat the issue of salinity, they aim to install innovative water purifiers called Solar Still which can simultaneously desalinate and purify water by using sunlight. A single device can purify 10 liters of drinking water in 24 hours to support the needs of a family of four to five members in low-income and marginalized communities. Tetra will receive support from Bopinc with their marketing strategy to develop and scale their business idea. Want to learn more about Tetra? Click here
Dreamwater aims to convert polluted flood water into pure drinking water by using a mechanical portable filter. Surface water is processed by the filter and then sold to rural households through micro entrepreneurs. Dreamwater will receive support to develop 30 portable filters, and establish partnerships with 30 local entrepreneurs and shops across two sub-districts in Faridpur. Learn more about Dreamwater here
Wreetu is working on transforming existing public toilets in Bangladesh into women and period-friendly toilets, with separate chambers equipped with menstrual facilities and accessibility features for menstruators with disabilities in urban slums. Wreetu will receive support to promote their facilities in local communities to assess the market demand for their initiative, in addition to monitoring and evaluation of their output. Learn more about Wreetu here
Shapla has created Bangladesh’s first and only cashless sanitary vending machine which can dispense sanitary pads using a mobile application. The mobile application can also help raise hygiene and sanitation-based awareness, and help with menstrual health management. Shapla will receive support with enhancing their customer reach, and strategizing their development and scaleup opportunities. Learn more about Shapla here
When asked about the experience of receiving the seed funding and support from Aqua for All and Bopinc, the Co-founder of Shapla Bushra E Anjum said, "Through this partnership, we are being able to actualize our broader scope of work with Shapla. Our aim, at any given minute of the day, is to facilitate more young women with their menstrual hygiene through the Shapla ecosystem. This can now be implemented even further through Aqua for All's contribution to our work. In addition, we would also like to thank YY Ventures, Bopinc, and GSMA for providing us immense support during the WASH Innovation Challenge."
Aqua for All
Aqua for All is a not-for-profit organisation. For over two decades, we have worked towards catalysing an innovative, sustainable and inclusive water and sanitation economy worldwide. Aqua for All operates in Africa and Asia supporting innovations and scaling up enterprises until they are investment ready. In addition, we use our funds to mobilise private and public capital to increase investments in water and sanitation. For more information, please visit their website
Bopinc helps organisations to design and deliver commercially and socially viable business models. Their expertise lays in supporting companies to bring quality products and services to low-income consumers. For more information, please visit their website
GSMA represents the interest of mobile operators worldwide. GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. For more information, please visit their website
YY Ventures is an incubation and investment Social Business founded in partnership with 'Yunus Centre', the global think tank for Social Business created by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus to advance the growth of social businesses. YY Ventures believes that a more equitable and just world is possible if we foster ‘Social Business’ while leveraging young people’s talents and ideas. For more information, please visit their website
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