For our first Non-Profit Community Spotlight, we are learning more about Splash International - an organization whose primary mission is to supply children living in urban poverty with clean water. To get an inside look into the organization, we are interviewing Sabel Roizen, Marketing and Communications Manager from Splash International. They have recently joined the Splash team in November 2020 and have a lot of inspiring ideas to share on behalf of the organization.
Splash International is a non-profit social justice organization with a beautiful mission of providing children with access to clean water in eight countries across Asia and Africa. And although the Splash team refuses to accept any credit for their contribution to making the world a better place, their accomplishments speak for themselves. To this day, Splash has helped over half a million children, and they do not intend to stop anytime soon, confidently moving towards their goal of reaching one million children by year 2023.
Not only are they dedicated to ensuring children have access to clean water, but also to bringing water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to kids and their communities in a sustainable way. The organization installs water filtration systems, safe drinking water stations, water storage systems, safe and functioning toilets, water for flushing and so on.
Moreover, the non-profit is also deeply committed to their mission of educating children and their communities on the topic of health and hygiene. By cooperating with local schools and orphanages, Splash encourages mindful everyday hygiene practices and focuses on long-term behavioral change, establishing and providing hygiene clubs with interactive curriculum, hosting hygiene training for teachers, as well as child-to-child training and school-wide events. Splash offers a chance for everyone to help children and their communities in need, and by doing so, to make a meaningful impact on the world.
Cloutbird: What does Splash care about the most?
Sabel: Above anything else, our mission is to help people and provide clean water in a holistic sense. We view children as agents of change - they are the future. And many children belong to families and communities, so when you educate and benefit a child, they can hopefully bring that knowledge back to their home environment or other places that they frequent. They can also help and support each other - part of our program also consists in creating health and hygiene clubs, or adding our curriculum to the existing ones. Along with other priorities, we are working on encouraging positive peer pressure among children, and teaching them to be advocates for their own health, as well as for others. It is important for children to understand and be able to say to each other: “My health is dependent on your health, we are sharing the same space and I want you to be well because we are all part of the same community”.
CB: What in particular stands out about your non-profit organization?
Sabel: I think what sets us apart from other non-profits working with clean water supply, is the urban focus, and local ownership of solutions. This is at the core of everything we do, and it ensures that all the work we are doing is locally appropriate - no part of our work goes without tailoring it to the local community.
Also, in terms of our infrastructure work - it’s all very holistic. The thing is, it is possible to get clean water somewhere, but if the children are drinking that water out of dirty hands, then it doesn’t matter how clean the water is. That’s why we don’t just focus on the clean water supply, we also provide hand-washing stations, toilets, sanitation, and water storage. Part of our package includes assessing the local water supply and determining if we need storage on-site as well. We really focus on every aspect of water intersecting with health, in a school environment.
CB: What are the biggest challenges that Splash is currently facing?
Sabel: One of the biggest challenges we’re facing is conveying the actual impact of our program. Most of our individual donors are based in the United States, and we are lucky enough to not have to worry about clean water supply in most parts of the United States. We tend to take clean water for granted, to a point where it is sometimes hard to explain how different the situation is in other places. We are so used to the idea of having easy access to clean water, that the idea of contaminated water killing a significant amount of people every year is shocking to most of us. For that reason, it is sometimes hard to convey the importance of what we are doing to other people and potential donors.
CB: What is the most rewarding part of your work for you?
Sabel: I’m a huge fan of systems-level improvements, advocacy and making the world a better place in a way that is going to last. The fact that Splash is working at a systems level - advocating, building partnerships, creating legacy is important to me.
My favorite thing about Splash is our focus on lasting change that is locally owned and locally appropriate. Local partners usually already exist, service providers usually already exist as well, and it’s about bridging those gaps, but also really about empowering people who are already there, already wanting to do work or doing parts of work. It’s amazing to be an organization advocating for water, sanitation, hygiene and educating people on the ways water supports other aspects of staying healthy.
CB: If there was one thing you wanted the world to know about Splash, what would that be? Sabel: That is a good question. And the answer is - nothing. We don’t want to be known, we want the local communities and people to get all of the attention, because they are truly the stars of the program. They are the ones doing the hard work, they are the people who are going to remain in place and make sure that the operations are running smoothly. We do not want any recognition, but our local partners definitely deserve it.
CB: On behalf of Splash, what is one piece of advice you want to give to people?
Sabel: My biggest piece of advice is that it’s incredibly important to challenge the unchallenged. To check assumptions. It’s important to not automatically assume that everyone has it as good as we do. Don’t take an answer at its face value, question “why” and question how it can be better. Don’t limit yourself to what already exists, it’s incredibly boring and won’t lead to any change or progress. It is important to ask ourselves: “how do I completely reinvent the system for it to be actually equitable and updated to current times?”. We have created so much historically, much more than we realize, and we can change and improve anything we put our minds to.