RS Group launches the ‘Big Step Challenge' at electronica

18th November 2022
Beth Floyd

RS Group launched the ‘Big Step Challenge’ at electronica 2022 to help create awareness about The Washing Machine Project and to involve visitors at the show, who can participate in the challenge – simply by walking.

RS can be found at electronica 2022 in Hall C2, Stand 179.

RS Group is an official partner of The Washing Machine Project Foundation, which is a charity committed to finding innovative engineering solutions to help refugees. The charity’s invention is the ‘Divya’ – an off-grid washing machine that aims to alleviate the backbreaking task of handwashing clothes, which can take up to 20 hours a week and disproportionately affects the livelihood and wellbeing of women and children. The Divya washing machine typically saves 50% of the water used, as well as 75% of the time taken in handwashing clothes.

Big Step Challenge

There are approximately 27.1 million refugees worldwide and the goal of RS Group’s ‘Big Step Challenge’ is to ask electronica 2022 attendees to collectively walk 27.1 million steps – approximately 19,500km – to represent every man, woman and child that has been forced to flee their homes and find safety in a foreign land. And, as most visitors planning to attend the show will already know, electronica is an exhibition on a huge scale, covering 160,000 square metres.

All visitors need to do is to download the official electronica app, which will anonymously count – for those who agree to participate in the challenge – the total number of steps taken by attendees across the four days of the show. If visitors wish to help more and further support the cause, they can also donate at

“The mission of The Washing Machine Project resonates greatly with RS in its ambition of helping to inspire a more sustainable world through education and innovative engineering solutions that can improve lives,” said Isabella Mascarenhas, VP, Grass Roots Education & Social Impact at RS Group. “We hope the ‘Big Step Challenge’ at this year’s electronica show will further build up awareness both of this important project, more widely the huge challenges faced by refugees worldwide and how we can help.”

The Washing Machine Project

In 2021, the RS Group partnered with The Washing Machine Project Foundation, which is dedicated to innovating solutions for low-income and displaced persons around the world. The project was set up in 2018 by British engineer Nav Sawhney, who developed the Divya affordable off-grid manual-crank washing machine, which is the only machine of its kind to be developed for humanitarian purposes and requires no electricity for operation. Designed to be made from reusable off-the-shelf components and to be easily maintainable, the Divya can be operated and fixed anywhere. Following trials, 150 machines are now deployed in Iraq and Jordan, and by 2023 the plan is to have at least 7,500 machines available to disadvantaged families and communities around the world, improving the lives of approximately 100,000 people.

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