SPRING 2022: GURUJAL BLOG POST

Gurujal is a nonprofit organization in India, dedicated to solving the water scarcity problem in Gurugram. Over the past few years, the organization has collaborated with different stakeholders to engage in water conservation. Today the organization shows successful results of collaboration with locals, the government, and other stakeholders in addressing the water scarcity problem of the city. In an effort to better communicate and report their impact, the organization reached out to Net Impact at Columbia University to get recommendations to update their sustainability communications strategy. Successful completion of the project required identifying gaps in the current communication strategy and communicating holistically with different stakeholder groups.

The team divided the success of the project into three main deliverables that would separately address different questions raised by Gurujal. The first deliverable provided new components on the impact report. The second deliverable followed the first one by providing new metrics to holistically portray its impact relative to a bigger problem in Gurugram. The third deliverable focused on providing new ways to engage with stakeholders to produce community engagement with all groups that benefit and engage with Gurujal’s work. The project group split into teams that performed landscape assessments of each components and conducted research to compare findings to current Gurujal’s approach. The process was concluded by recommendations that provided suggestions to overcome the gaps identified.

One of the main priorities of Gurujal was to strengthen its collaboration with its stakeholders by adjusting its strategy to each group. Because India had a different culture than the United States, it was important to provide recommendations tailored to India’s culture. Additionally, different stakeholders groups required specific attention, so providing one method for each group was not an option for the team. Therefore, each new communication strategy had to be specific to each of the groups to address different expectations. Despite these challenges, the team could overcome them through the clarity of expectations and the good communication of Gurujal’s team.

As a result, the team of consultants at Net Impact was able to understand the expectation and fill in gaps of information through regular communications through Gurujal’s point of contact. The amount of information provided on Gurujal’s website was one of the main drivers in understanding the Gurujal’s current strategy. Different meetings between the team of consultants, and other teams at Net Impact resulted in recommendations that were tailored to the Indian culture.

One of the things students retain from working in this project is the importance of collaboration. The regular check in with Gurujal allowed students to fill in gaps in information during the research process. Internal check ins within the team allowed to get updates on the progress of each tasks and to move forward to other priorities. The check ins with Net Impact allowed the team to receive feedback on their different findings and to also receive recommendations and new suggestions. As a result, the final output became the result of a collaborative effort within Net Impact, which strengthened the importance of communication in delivering a successful project.

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