Geographic Focus: Kolkata
Project Focus: schools, orphanages
Historically, Splash has launched new country operations in this way: International staff conduct short-term visits to find and link up with key in-country partners (whether that's within the government and through existing NGOs. It's a strategy that has served us well in places like China, where approval from a highly centralized government allows us incredible scope and reach. But India, as one could imagine, is a whole new ball game. Massive in scale, fraught with complexities and obstacles as well as incredible opportunities (and terrible water quality)--India has challenged Splash to create a new approach to launching operations.
We are spending 2012 working with, and learning from, groups serving the poorest kids in the densest cities without clean water- with a focus on who is doing it, how is it being done effectively, if at all, and how do we fit into that larger ecosystem without damaging or undercutting existing work by others? We're starting out in Kolkata. There is just so much to learn and absorb, which is why we've dubbed year one, “Look for the Best and Learn from the Best.” We're spending the bulk of our time talking to, observing, and learning from the best organizations working in urban areas with water or kids. We're taking nothing for granted. Just because Splash’s model has proved successful in other countries doesn't mean it will work in in India; humility and an open mind are the tools of our trade right now.
2013 will focus on building out our local capacity (if in fact we determine our work is needed). Our work will depend upon finding strong local leadership--staff with the expertise and local know-how necessary to grow our India program as well as our overall model. If all goes well, we will establish a central office in India and be legally accredited in 2013, led by a dynamic team of people committed to seeing children in India reach their full potential with clean water.