The next year
WaterHarvest’s Chair, Neil Mehta, looks to the year ahead
With the end of the fiscal year in March, Spring is always a time when, at WaterHarvest, we look to the year ahead. This is always an exciting time – where we take our heads out of the spreadsheets and look at the bigger picture. Where do we want to be in one year’s time? In five year’s time? In ten year’s time? We continually think about the people we are trying to help, how things are changing for them and how we can best help as many of them as possible.
We are delighted that Nicola Floyd has become WaterHarvest’s new CEO. Nicola has been a trustee since March 2016 and, for the last year, she has been volunteering as interim CEO. As of April 1st this year, she resigned as a trustee and is now CEO. Her background was previously in investment banking – living and working in London, Hong Kong, Bangkok and New York. More recently, she worked for a maternal health charity. She will be working with the UK team in the Winchester office and travelling out to India a couple of times a year. We are fortunate to have a strong and active board of trustees in the UK and are hoping to appoint three new trustees this year.
How should our programme portfolio change over the next ten years?
We are looking at how our programmes will need to change over the next ten years to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. Our mix of programmes has been constantly changing over the last thirty years. We have worked on areas such as drought mitigation, water and livelihood, sanitation and water use efficiency. It is very important that we are continually thinking about this so that we can ensure we help as many people in the most effective way possible.
Right now, we have a rotating funds programme which lends farmers the money to buy a drip irrigation system. Once their incomes rise (as a result of higher crop yields due to the improved irrigation) they have to begin to pay back the funds they were lent. In addition, they receive training and lectures on the use of drip irrigation. We will continue to explore rotating funds whilst continuing with our grant making programmes.
We hope that you have noticed our digital efforts. We are now active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin. These platforms provide a great way for us to communicate to the general public and our regular donors about our work, updating them on our projects with images and videos in a very effective manner. Our partners on the ground in India send us photos and videos of the projects which we upload – often that day – to our social media accounts to be shared with all our supporters. Some of these are more technical photos of drip irrigation systems and some are heartening stories of the impact these programmes have had on beneficiaries. On the social media side, we are lucky to be helped by three students, Beckie Flach, Molly Joyce and Robert Tucker. Please do follow us, like, comment and share! It’s a really important tool for small charities and helps us to reach new people.
Strong team in India
As hopefully many of you will have seen in our recent blog, Om Prakash Sharma has now spent 18 years heading up the India office. He continues to be supported by Dinesh Sharma as Finance Manager and Somendra Sharma as Programme Manager. As our work expands they have recently been joined by Divya Kalia. Our sister entity, Water Wisdom Foundation, is now almost eighteen months old and is currently working on designing a very innovative project helping disabled people get access to water. We feel this is a great example of how Water Wisdom Foundation can use its skills and experience to help those vulnerable people still falling through the cracks.
The next year
We are excited about the year ahead. We have set our ourselves ambitious targets and will strive to meet them! This includes an increase in the number of projects, a wider range of projects and also an increased fundraising target. WaterHarvest is very much aligned to the UN Water Action Decade 2018-2028 (A lot can change in ten years) – “Achieving access to safer drinking water means addressing the unfinished business of getting water to 844 million people who still lack even a basic water supply, accessible on the premises and available when needed.”
We will keep you updated on our progress. We hugely value your continued support.
This week’s blog was written by Neil Mehta on 3rd May 2019.