A Conversation with SOIL Board Member: Tanvi Nagpal

Compost Tanvi

Desirée Daniels recently had the pleasure of meeting with Tanvi, a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in public service delivery, to discuss her background and her desire to be involved with organizations like SOIL.

Tanvi's journey into the world of NGO boards began with an introduction to SOIL through colleagues. She expressed a desire to contribute to the board of a small NGO, leading to her eventual appointment to SOIL’s board. With her extensive experience at the World Bank, in environmental services, and as a consultant, Tanvi brings a unique perspective to SOIL’s team of board members.

Central to Tanvi's work and passion is understanding the intricacies of equitable service delivery. From her teaching experiences to her research pursuits, she delves into the complex interplay of factors such as space, income, and race, particularly evident in contexts like Haiti.

Tanvi emphasized her passion for understanding equitable service delivery and the underlying factors contributing to disparities. "I've worked on aspects of public service delivery, especially water and sanitation, for a long time," she remarked. "I am passionate about understanding why some people are denied access to safe and affordable services when others around them have these services. More importantly, I try to work on policies and programs that can get to the root of this inequity."

Drawing from her experience in managing community-based environmental investments, Tanvi emphasized the significance of understanding social norms and respecting the agency of communities, particularly in impoverished urban areas. "You have to respect their choices, their decisions, their privacy, their humanity," Tanvi says. "SOIL just instinctively gets this... They really respect their customers, they don’t think of them as beneficiaries."

During the conversation Tanvi highlighted SOIL's unique position in providing safe sanitation services in Haiti, emphasizing its role as both a development and humanitarian organization. "SOIL is one of those organizations that is essentially providing services both in crisis and in  non-crisis situations," Tanvi explained. "[SOIL is] one solution, not the only solution… [SOIL]  as a development organization, EkoLakay is a circular economy solution in a country that could really benefit from it; but in the midst of the current humanitarian crisis,  SOIL services are also protecting customers from cholera and other diseases."

Reflecting on SOIL's impact, Tanvi notes its multifaceted approach to providing sanitation services. She praises SOIL's commitment to working alongside government structures and its unwavering dedication to serving communities despite challenging conditions.

Looking ahead, Tanvi remains hopeful about Haiti's future, acknowledging the complexities and challenges ahead, particularly in the realm of security and governance. 

Tanvi's insights shed light on the intricacies of sustainable development, equitable service delivery, and the vital role of grassroots organizations like SOIL in addressing the urgent needs of communities in Haiti and beyond.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Tanvi for generously sharing her invaluable insights and expertise. Her dedication to understanding and addressing the complexities of equitable service delivery has been instrumental in guiding SOIL's mission and our organization's efforts to provide safe sanitation services and foster sustainable development in Haiti. We are grateful for her continued support and look forward to her ongoing contributions as we strive to create positive change and empower communities for years to come.

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