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By: Cyndie Berg, Liz Flores-Marcus, Kaitlynn Lagman, Laura Mapp, & Molly Parus

Like so many other nonprofits this year, Splash pivoted our gala to a virtual event as a result of COVID-19. While we were thrilled to exceed our fundraising goal, we also learned some important lessons along the way. Whether you work for a nonprofit organization or support one through volunteering or donating, we hope you find this article helpful as you consider how best to gather virtually, fundraise and engage digitally, and capture the energy and generosity sparked by in-person fundraising galas.

Learn from the best

When we made the decision to go digital, we immediately sought advice from those who had gone before us. We were fortunate to speak with Upaya Social Ventures’ wonderful fundraising team and learn about the structure of their virtual gala, as they were one of the first Seattle-based organizations to host one. We also connected with our Board members, donors, and other Seattle business leaders to diversify our perspective and ensure that our virtual gala ideas translated well for guests. These early conversations helped to guide our decision-making process and find harmony between our revenue goals and the overall guest experience. …

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Written by Emily Davis

“I thought I was going to lose my life at any moment because it was really scary to start bleeding from down there. I thought I was going to die.” — Adolescent girl, participating in focus group discussion [i]

Women and girls all over the world, especially in low-resource countries, continue to face a broad set of challenges that negatively influence their health, empowerment, and well-being. One of these critical challenges is inadequate access to menstrual health management (MHM) solutions. We have seen, time and time again, that girls do not have consistent access to education around puberty, menstrual health (MH), and reproductive health. Therefore, too many girls experience their first menstrual period with feelings of fear, shame, and confusion. …

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As we commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8th, Splash is a firm believer that now, more than ever, we must push for progress on gender equity globally. While Splash focuses on water, sanitation, and hygiene for all children, we recognize that women and men, as well as boys and girls contribute to the success of our programs. …

Over 90,000 of China’s Most Vulnerable Children Now Have Access to Clean Water

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Splash Founder and Executive Director, Eric Stowe enjoying clean water with a child in a Chinese orphanage

Splash, a Seattle-based, nonprofit organization providing water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions to children in urban Asia and Africa, today announced that 100 percent of orphanages in China have ultrafiltration systems to provide clean water — a huge milestone ten years in the making.

After a decade of hard work and close collaboration with the Chinese government and local non-government organizations (NGOs), over 190,000 vulnerable children, elderly adults, and staff at over 1,100 orphanages have consistent access to clean, safe water.

These orphanages span 32 provinces, across China’s 3.7 million square miles, from Shanghai to Xinjiang and Tibet to Inner Mongolia. …

Contributed by Ayatam Simeneh, Partner Support Manager, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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India Partner Support Coordinator, Dipika Banerjee and myself visiting Nehru Vidyatan Primary School

In September, I travelled to Splash’s office in Kolkata, India to be part of the Program Quality Summit with Splash staff from the U.S., Nepal, India, and Ethiopia.

The purpose of the Summit was to connect colleagues from across the globe, align around the importance of data quality and standardized methods for collecting and using data to improve Splash’s programs, and to create program quality champions within each country office.

As part of the summit, we each had the opportunity to visit Splash schools across Kolkata to see what is different from and similar to our own programmatic contexts. …

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For over a decade, Splash has been incorporating innovative design into our drinking and handwashing stations. One of the main drivers for this work is the difference in price per tap. Yet the cost savings do not begin to touch upon the many other benefits of materials, like plastic, that we are thrilled about.

From prototyping and testing multiple versions of stations in the field (everything from brick and mortar, concrete and tile, glass stone, commercially available products, custom stainless-steel models, and our current fiberglass molds), to designing stations for institutions accommodating a wide range of children (from schools of 5,000, to feeding centers of 1,500, to pediatric hospitals of 100), we have rich experience with what works and what doesn’t. …

In 2007, Splash began our work in China to reach over 1,100 orphanages spread across a country that spans 3.7 million square miles. Ten years later, Splash is set to reach our goal of providing safe water to every single orphanage in China, benefiting over 120,000 children. As we approach this milestone, a new challenge has emerged — how to ensure the long-term service and maintenance of the water filtration systems across the vast distances that we operate, in the most cost-efficient way possible.

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Splash’s reach in China, as shown above, spans over 1,100 orphanages across the country

Splash uses commercial grade water filtration systems to ensure the highest quality standards for purification. The systems, while incredibly durable and cost-effective, do require annual servicing, and occasionally things go wrong. For example, at one site in 2016, the heat unexpectedly went off during the winter break, causing all the water pipes to freeze, which shut the water system down entirely. While some orphanages have staff comfortable handling minor to major problems, many sites are simply not equipped to do so. …

Splash Gets an Early Report Card from Ethiopia

On October 12th, 2016, Splash received the following email from Dawit Alemishet, Splash Director of Ethiopia:

“Dear all,

I would love to share the inspiration of my day while visiting our partner site, the Edget Besira Primary School. I just cannot sleep without telling you of this testimonial I received from the school’s principal.

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Water Day Celebrations begin at Edget Besira Primary School.

The Edget Besira Primary School is located near the largest open market of Merkato in Teklhaymanot area. In this new academic year, more than 1,250 students have already enrolled in the school. Most of the school children are coming from the very poor families living in slum houses. One of the biggest challenges of the school was that most of the children are involved in the street vending labor to cover their lunch and other personal expenses. Therefore, they were missing the afternoon class often. …

By Kara Cherniga Uhl

Why does Splash focus on urban areas? When I joined the Splash team two years ago, this question was at the forefront of many external conversations. It’s been encouraging to hear these conversations gradually evolve. Earlier last month I attended World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden, where I heard water experts from around the world ask the inverse of these questions: Why aren’t we talking more about urban needs and realities? What about cities?

by Katelyn Galloway

Experts say the most productive people don’t look at their phones first thing in the morning. You shouldn’t do it, they say. But on July 27th, as I swiped open my email and wiped the sleep from my eyes, I was glad I did.

The first subject line in my inbox read: Cholera Outbreak in Lalitpur. My heart sank. People in Nepal have faced enough recently: catastrophic earthquakes, freezing winter temperatures, floods, political crises and gas and food shortages. And now this?

The email claimed 17 cases of cholera had been reported. As the Health & Hygiene Manager of Splash Nepal, I immediately forwarded the alert to my colleagues. …



Clean water for kids | Collaborative approach | Radical transparency

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