October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness around the importance of proper handwashing as an effective way to prevent disease. Now more than ever, we are committed to developing new business solutions to address important global issues, including safe water and sanitation.
Enter: the I-Prize. Part of our innovation incubator known as Innovation for Good® , the I-Prize competition invites all35,000+ Kohler associates around the world to propose revolutionary innovations that have a social purpose
As part of our inaugural I-Prize competition, Kohler Mira project engineer James Bourne pitched his idea for a low-tech handwashing solution. He was inspired after traveling to Indonesia and witnessing the lack of adequate hygiene in the city of Ende on Flores Island. James observed that in the summer months, village water supplies dry up and families have to walk long distances to gather water from wells and streams several miles away. In addition to a need for changing the basic infrastructure, he recognized that the children and adults alike would benefit from increasing their handwashing frequency to reduce the spread and devastating effects of waterborne illnesses.
Ultimately, James’ passion, determination and ingenuity to be part of the solution helped his team win incubation funding at the I-Prize—kicking off support for the development of his idea. Field work was performed, this time in Nepal, to explore the culture, behaviors, patterns and barriers to handwashing in developing regions.
Thanks to the I-Prize, James had a platform to pitch this simple, hygienic handwashing innovation for communities around the world that lack reliable handwashing facilities while also conserving water.
In the midst of a global pandemic and an increasing need for hygiene awareness and education, our Kohler Innovation for Good teams are dedicated to doing our part for the greater good.