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SAATH
October 20, 2009

Saath's work represents a crucial piece of the solution to India's slum problem. Poverty is a systemic problem that requires holistic solutions, and Saath has achieved considerable success in generating societal and economic wealth with its progressive approach to slum development. Speak to slum residents in the areas Saath has worked in, and you are invariably told what a great positive impact Saath has had on their lives. I worked first hand with Saath staff, and I found them to be professional, motivated, and capable in working with the community. The organization has strong second-line leadership in place that will lead the organization well in coming years. The founder, Rajendra Joshi is extremely humble and down-to-earth for a man of his accomplishments. Rajubhai's work with Saath is nothing short of path-breaking, and should be an excellent mentor to up and coming social entrepreneurs. His insight into the policy solutions for slum development should be seriously considered on a national level. Its market-based approach to slum development and the Urban Resource Centers represents the future of Bottom of the Pyramid thinking. Saath has done great work, but there is still so much to be done in terms of slum development, even within Saath's home city of Ahmedabad! Saath needs financial and human capital to build its capacity, and locally-grounded individuals across India to help replicate its model. If you have capital, talent, or resources you want to channel to improving the lives of the less fortunate, Saath is a proven and innovative model to invest in. I strongly urge you to find out more about the organization.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the progressive, market-oriented approach to slum development. It has demonstrated that slum residents have dignity, and are not looking for government handouts. They can improve their material conditions, but need to be given the right opportunities.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Genuine, down to earth, humble, and capable. Everyone treated me so well even though I was a foreigner. They are people who I will want to keep as friends and see every time I return to India.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Create thousands of more jobs through its livelihood programs, increase access to microfinance. Connect slum residents with the world through the URCs. This organization has the potential to change India.

Ways to make it better...

better systems had been in place. the organization needs more trained professionals to invest their time to build capacity. Also, staff could have been more punctual, but that criticism applies to many other organizations.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Scaling up the work across India. Working with government can be difficult, and locally-based solutions do not always replicate themselves easily in other cities.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Just go there and experience Saath and the slums for yourself. It is sobering (the sheer scale of the problem), yet inspiring because it shows us that progress has been made in battling this goliath of a problem. Saath needs your help, don't wait.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & Designed a public-private partnership together with Saath and a leading Indian company.