Waterloo-based Engineers for Hope (EFH), a not-for-profit organization that aims to provide sustainable clean water and proper sanitation facilities to the underprivileged, has been accepted into the Accelerator Centre, a Waterloo-based incubator for early-stage startups.
EFH completed its first project in Khukshia, Bangladesh between September 2016 to December 2016, where the organization installed eight hand pumps in order to give the rural village’s residents access to clean water.
While EFH began as a student group made up of six people at the University of Waterloo, the not-for-profit organization’s co-founders Nirbhay Singh and Rumman Rahman, have officially moved into the Accelerator Centre to work on their project full-time.
“This feeling is better than having a job,” Rahman says. “It’s the satisfaction that you can make a difference. Now that we have a platform to do so, we want to take full advantage of it.”
While EFH is currently in the process of becoming a registered Canadian not-for-profit, Singh says the organization has already started planning its next project, which will be implemented in India.
“Our next project will be happening in India on the same concept of water and sanitation,” said Singh. “Along with water and sanitation, we are also thinking of incorporating energy issues like clean energy, with a focus on primary education of kids in the rural communities in India.”
Singh added that while EFH plans to execute its project in India fully independently, it hopes to work with non-governmental organizations on the ground to ensure the sustainability of its projects.
“We want to make sure that whatever we do in the rural community, it’s sustainable.”
“We want to make sure that whatever we do in the rural community, it’s sustainable,” said Singh. “If we build any infrastructure or if we do anything out there, we don’t just want to be like okay, foreigners coming to a country, building something, and then going back and then there’s no one else to take care of it. Our infrastructure is built by locals and maintained by locals”
At the Accelerator Centre, EFH is gaining access to mentorship from AC’s network of entrepreneurs, investors, and nonprofit organizations.
“It’s been really great in terms of connecting with people, networking with people, and getting the mentorship,” said Singh. “They know what they are doing and they are experts in providing guidance.”
Singh said they launched EFH because the issue of access to clean water, education, and energy hits close to home. While many people start organizations and initiatives after backpacking and “voluntouring” in developing countries, Singh says he didn’t need to backpack to start a meaningful organization as he’s witnessed poverty, hunger, and lack of access to clean water in India for nearly 18 years.
“Let’s work together for the betterment of these people, for our own people,” said Singh. “Why don’t we utilize our energy to create something useful so that they’re life can be improved?”