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Helping Drinkwell bring safe water to people across South Asia

Drinkwell combines proprietary technology for clean water with novel service-delivery approaches to bring safe water to millions, with pro bono support from HL BaSE.

Imagine waking up at 3:00 a.m. to boil water so your family can have potable water to drink the next day. This is the household chore of millions of women and girls worldwide who live beyond the pipes that deliver safe water to homes, and it’s done at night in cities like Dhaka, Bangladesh, because that’s when gas pressure is high enough to boil water.

Established in 2013, the social enterprise Drinkwell is helping to solve the challenge of providing safe, affordable drinking water to rural and peri-urban communities. Today, Drinkwell provides systems-based solutions that include both the technology to treat water and a variety of service delivery models, including traditional utility companies, small community systems, and a network of innovative water ATMs.


Partnering with our pro bono client to deliver clean water solutions in Southeast Asia

To date, Drinkwell has helped improve the lives of more than 1.1 million people in Bangladesh and India. This good work is getting noticed. On December 9, Drinkwell was awarded the 2022 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

To reach these milestones, Drinkwell received help along the way from several partners, including Hogan Lovells. We first connected with Drinkwell in 2017 in Nepal, at a bootcamp put on by SPRING, an accelerator working with businesses such as Drinkwell seeking to foster socioeconomic empowerment for girls in East Africa and South Asia. Hogan Lovells was SPRING’s first corporate partner, and lawyers from HL BaSE, our international business and sustainable enterprise practice, were participating in the bootcamp. Drinkwell soon became a pro bono client, and over the years we’ve provided advice on general corporate matters, including with respect to Drinkwell’s capital raising activities, as well as commercial contract matters.


Reflecting on a six-year pro bono partnership

“It takes a lot more than just capital to build a business and I want to thank our legal counsel at Hogan Lovells for ensuring we maintain the highest standards of corporate governance in every decision we make," said Minhaj Chowdhury, Drinkwell’s CEO and co-founder during his acceptance speech for the Award for Corporate Excellence.

Drinkwell continues to develop new ways to grow its impact, including recently launching Decentralized Safe Water for Asia, with the goal of operating 2,000 pay-as-you-go water filtration systems across South and Southeast Asia by 2030. And as more households in the region gain access to affordable, clean water, more women and girls will be able to sleep through the night.

Outcome

6-year

pro bono partnership

1.1m

people in Bangladesh and India with new access to safe drinking water

2,000

water ATMs in South and Southeast Asia by 2030