Entrepreneur Profile: Jasmine Burton, Wish for WASH

Profile Summary:

  • Entrepreneur Name: Jasmine Burton
  • Venture Name: Wish for WASH
  • Impact Focus Area(s): Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Global Health; Health Equity; Health Education
  • Business Stage (Ideation, Startup, Early, Later, Mature): Startup
  • Year Venture Established: 2014
  • Business Type: Our growing mission is to bring more diverse minds, talent, and innovation to the problems of global heath and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in our world through the lens of research, design and education because #everybodypoops
  • About: Wish for WASH Thinks, Inc is a USA-based, Georgia-filed and internationally-operating nonprofit organization with pending 501(3)c status. Its sister company Wish for WASH, LLC Holdings, houses the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)-related intellectual property and funding to carry out the work of Wish for WASH Thinks, Inc. Together, the two organizations are collectively referred to as the Wish for WASH Collective.
  • Model: We are increasing the pipeline of diverse representation in the WASH sector with a gender equity and meaningful youth engagement approach while also advocating, educating, and performing innovative WASH-related research in-line with design thinking.


The Issue

Social entrepreneurship is about solving problems. Tell us about the challenge you are focused on addressing and why it is critical that we make progress.

Over two billion people in the world today lack access to improved sanitation and over four billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation. People often resort to using unimproved pit latrines or holes in the ground that they share with their neighboring community members that are often overflowing, poorly maintained and or far from home. These unimproved pits are also susceptible to collapsing during inclement weather and can result in spreading the fecal waste into both the ground and surface water sources. Often times, people that live in densely populated communities without sanitation facilities resort to open defecation, which leads to a host of both mental and physical health problems. The lack of toilets in schools makes it incredibly challenging for young, pubescent girls to safely manage their menstruation; this frequently results in girls missing school during their period every month, which often time leads to them dropping out of school completely. Beyond toilets alone, work in the Sanitation Economy and in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector includes preventative global health work that is particularly important during this COVID-19 era.  The societal inequities such as access to clean water, hand-washing facilities and soap, and menstrual health products (evidenced by the Periods Don’t Stop for Pandemic movement) and public toilets has been highlighted as a result of the pandemic which further underscores the urgency for innovative and inclusive progress in the global WASH sector.


Your Journey

Entrepreneurship is a journey that requires connections and support from a wide array of stakeholders across the ecosystem to help successfully identify, start, and grow a social enterprise.

I am a design thinking, global health consulting, impact accelerating, and social enterprise founding hybrid-professional hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology’s (GT) School of Design with a BSc in Product Design. Prior to graduation, I founded Wish for WASH, a social impact collective intended to bring innovation to sanitation after my senior design team was the first all-female team to win the GT InVenture Prize Competition for our invention of the SafiChoo toilet. I have since led Wish for WASH in conducting iterative toilet innovation pilots and research in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, Ethiopia and in the USA (Atlanta) all with a human-centered design and social inclusion lens. I continued to pursue my passion for equitable and sustainable sanitation as a Rotary Global Grant Scholar (sponsored by the Dunwoody, Georgia Club) and MSc in Public Health graduate student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Wish for WASH has demonstrated our commitment to our mission by creating a multiplier effect whereby we recruit, equip, train, empower and meaningfully engage 100+ people under the age of 30 (who are mostly undergraduate, graduate and alumni from Atlanta-based universities) to lead and empower other youth work in reaching ~170+ people directly with innovative sanitation pilots globally. We have reached 25,000+ people by participating in 110+ events and talks, producing 13 learning reports, facilitating 10+ workshops and being featured in 50+ press/media features over the past 6 years. According to an Impact Analysis conducted by a One Young World Consultant, Wish for WASH has a 1:3 Social Return on Investment ratio.

In 2019, I founded of the Hybrid Hype, a certified woman-owned global consulting firm, following a decade of conducting diverse independent consulting work with various impact organizations with scopes that span the United Nations’ 3rd, 5th and 6th Sustainable Development Goal targets. Some of examples of my work as the Founder and Principal of the Hybrid Hype include: supporting strategic health communications and data visualization projects at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) based in Atlanta; founding the world’s first Women in the Sanitation Economy accelerator program at the Toilet Board Coalition; and supporting the product and marketing strategy  for the disruptive gender equality startup Equilo.

Additionally, as of May 2020, I am the cofounder of Period Futures – an early-stage venture focused on sparking curiosity, conversation and commitment to designing positive period futures, and have been serving as the Equity and Inclusion Lead for the Atlanta Global Shapers Hub.

With 7+ years of various water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), global health, and social inclusion experiences across 10 countries in research, communications, and management roles within the public, private, and social enterprise sectors, I identify as a social impact designer and storyteller who seeks to couple design thinking and business acumen with evidence-based science to accelerate access to universal health and sanitation for all because #everybodypoops. As a native Atlantan, my serial social entrepreneur and hybrid-professional journey has been deeply rooted in my Georgia-based communities of support who continue to support, enable, challenge and inspire me for both my local and global endeavors.


Why Georgia’s Social Impact Ecosystem Matters

Being an entrepreneur is hard and it’s even more challenging when you are a social entrepreneur as your business model and / or structure doesn’t follow the same path as traditional start-ups.

Working in a sector where the supply chains, business models, sustainable funding and markets are nascent or developing is definitely challenging. However, in order to effectively, sustainably and holistically create a world that mitigates or even eliminates some of the global grand challenges of today, we need makers. We need creators, and people with vision who are resilient in the rollercoaster ride that is the Impact Economy. With degrees in Design and Public Health, I am acutely aware of the diverse lived and learnt talent that this city and state boasts. Beyond the booming Atlanta tech scene, the social impact ecosystem of Atlanta is rooted in institutions and movements that have had global influence. The multi-sectoral and innovative work that is happening in this state not only drives the economic development of Georgia, but it also catalyzes global movements and markets. While many people may doubt the prowess of south, we not only have something to say but we really know what it means to effectively operate at the intersection of money and meaning.


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