The Peer Water Exchange Family
PWX is the first social entrepreneurship project that requires changes across the philanthropic value chain: from the funding (foundations and donors) to the grantee (implementers) end. Rajesh conceived PWX in 2003 when given the task of overseeing the funding and managing of water projects for Blue Planet Run Foundation. Rajesh immediately saw the problem of scale: how to deliver thousands of small projects and verify their impact?
He designed PWX to solve the project selection, funding, and monitoring problem facing the foundation. Rajesh got Sapient to develop the first release and has been building on that foundation for five years: designing new features, continually enhancing the platform, developing the partner network, and coordinating all activity on PWX. Managing all of BPR's program activity means being a user of the system and process too.
In Bangalore, he has designed his home to be water efficient and energy efficient, trying to be self-sufficient for water and energy. He also is involved in designing, managing, deploying, and redesigning water, sewage, treatment, and water reuse projects in his community. The technology and the people issues are both challenging and fascinating for him.
His work as a management consultant to companies and non-profits on using internet and e-commerce technologies to change culture, operating models, and market strategies helped in trying a new approach to solve the scale problem in managing thousands of grassroots water projects. His early career spanned 10 years at Bell Laboratories, experiencing all facets of product cycles. After receiving his MBA, Rajesh became a management consultant at CSC Index and also had stints in three start-ups. He moved to the NGO sector, starting by consulting with the Tides Foundation and eGrants' DonateNow and EmailNow services. He served as CTO/CFO at The Natural Step and Redefining Progress. Rajesh helped develop TNS' sustainability advisory services and corporate footprints and global warming mitigation opportunities at RP.
Extremely interested in sustainability and social equity, Rajesh teaches and writes on various issues facing humanity, and is now immersed in the world of water.
Rajesh did his undergraduate studies in engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Lafayette College, and received an MS and MBA from the University of California.
Sweta helps peers in PWX from around the world with their technical issues and loves an opportunity for training. Since 2018, she also helps test the platform and mobile app, and with administration, accounts, and taxes.
Originally from Rajasthan, Sweta considers herself a naturalized Kannadiga, and takes keen interest in water and water projects after seeing several lakes of Bengaluru doing the disappearing act. Having worked in an IT company for 12+ years, she has wide range of experience working in cross functional teams - accounts, marketing, product management, sales operations. A professional yoga therapist, she is a long time vipassana meditator too.
Software developer by profession but Vikas is best described as a nomad - traversing India and neighboring countries in his car / bike, sometimes solo, sometimes with family. He has been steering the PWX platform for 5 years to maintain the web and mobile platform and build new features. Mention of cryptocurrency will get you his full attention.
Ajaya was the lead architect of PWX at Sapient and now is the software guru of PWX. He is very interested in technology and constantly pushes PWX into Web 2.0 space. Other tech experiences for Ajaya include Cisco, APL, and Capital One.
Being raised in Orissa, India, Ajaya is very interested in water issues and solving problems in a big, scalable, results-oriented way.
As the senior manager at Sapient, Vallari provided the strategic roadmap and oversaw the release of PWX.
She continues to be involved refining the strategy and marketing pitches and overseeing technology extensions.
Vallari has been in the software development and client management world for over two decades. As a director at Sapient, she sold and delivered large-scale IT projects, managing international teams. She started her career in India by starting a company to serve small businesses with IT solutions. Later, she moved to NY and worked at S&P before moving to California where she worked for GE before joining Sapient. She has also taught IT at inner city schools. Now, she spends the majority of her time on her other interests including dance, running a dance company, gardening, meditation, travel, and sustainability - especially in community gardening.
Network and Volunteers
It is the decentralized network model that allows PWX to operate so efficiently! The PWX network is the Team!
Volunteers do make all the difference and we have been lucky.
Current volunteers with our urban work include: Avinash, Dheepak, Dheeraj, Karthik, Naveen, Madhu, Meha, Sriram, Surendra, and Uma.
Currently a data analyst in Minneapolis,
Larrie helped refine the PWX strategy especially on the technology front.
He helped assess the marketplace, defining technical requirements,
analyzing the impacts of a rapidly growing database on performance,
planning the introduction of KPIs into PWX,
implementing audits and data integrity checks, and
designing component management within projects.
After 35 years in the software industry in USA, Larrie spent nearly three years in Bangalore, dabbling with virtual systems, mapping and GIS. He has worked both in small company situations, as well as large ones such as ConAgra, John Deere, and Cenex/Land O'Lakes. He was also a major player in the creation of MnHIE within Minnesota, where he was in the EA, Operations, and Privacy groups and chaired the Data group.
A young artist and techie, Tarang helps create new videos and graphics for PWX's urban work.
The creator of award winning short movies, such as Life with an Oxygen Mask, helps create and edit videos for PWX, strengthen surveys, and other UI and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) help. He is also a budding developer and designer who has a few popular sites to his credit.
A mobile technology specialist, Seema joined the PWX team in 2011 to help build mobile extensions to PWX. She is responsible for the android app.
Seema brings experience in solution design, having exposure to various industry verticals like oil and gas, banking, retail and solutions for self help groups in rural India. She was a product architect at the Software Engineering and Technology Labs at Infosys, responsible for product design, delivery and go-to-market of the mobile part of the Infosys Mobile Platform. She also freelanced with a startup, providing inputs to their mobile solution.
A rally driver and an avid Rails enthusiast, Subbu spares a few hours a week from his startup to mentor as we tweak the platform.
Starting in 2004, for nearly three years, Annette was a core member of the PWX team. Fluent in French and Spanish, and of course, English, Annette worked with PWX partners and helped with the testing of the PWX platform.
Megan worked with our partners training them on the PWX process and helping synchronize data. Megan began by interning with the Blue Planet Run Youth Board for two years, working with talented and motivated young people to increase awareness about the water and sanitation crisis in the US and around the world.
We were lucky to find a few good volunteers who made significant contributions to PWX. In 2006 Alejo Lopez in 2006 helped with testing, marketing, and did the original Spanish translations. Madan Kumar helped in all non-tech ways from strategy to marketing.
Abhishek Parolkar spent a year with PWX developing PWX AnalytiX, and now resides in Singapore. Kristian contributed his skills in 2011-12. Madhu and Arpan steered the technology and the UI for a year in 2013 introducing MetriX and new layout. Erich supported PWX from Kansas City helping with a difficult software upgrade. Seema Albal, Pankaj, Shakeeb Ahmed, Vamsee Kanakala, Santu Mahapatra, and Sai Prashanth were part of the software development team
Sophia Pan volunteered for PWX in 2009 helping correlate and audit the different data streams in PWX. In 2009, Minakshi Arora of Water Community in New Delhi translated the Hindi pages and Neil Parmeswar helped set up a process to get project data from partners into PWX. In 2010, Sathyan of Hexolabs helped with designing PWX AnalytiX screens.
We want to acknowledge three PWX members - El Porvenir (Carole Harper and Rob Bell), Kairos (Martin Strele), and Safer Future (Idriss Kamara) - whose support helped drive the design and deployment of PWX at its beginning in 2005-06.
From 2015 to 2017, Altair supported PWX's urban efforts in sewage tracking and management. Members of their team also provide strategic and tactical direction, understanding the challenges of moving urban citizens. Their support has led to a new version of our mobile app and to growing mappable STP database.
Operations and Marketing Support
CodeTheory is a close partner of PWX, especially in technology development. They generously host all the PWX websites and open their Bangalore office for use by the PWX team. We are especially grateful to Ajaya, Libin, Sreekanth, and Sushil.
S & T GroupS & T Group started helping BPR in 2004 with the shooting of the movie - arranging for the logistics in India. Now they generously provide their office in Bangalore for use by the PWX team. The entire team, from management down, is very supportive, especially Juliet D'Souza, Anil Kumar, and Anita Joshi.
Euklid Brand SolutionsThe posters and cards, depicting Bangalore's sewage horror and the PWX solution, created by the team at Euklid Brand Solutions, comprising of Dheeraj, Shilpa, Deepika, and Sonia, have been vital in opening up a desperately needed conversation.
The Parent — Blue Planet Run (Blue Planet Network)
The idea of creating a run around the planet hit Jin Zidell in 2001 and he founded Blue Planet Run. BPR soon realized that without solving the scale problem, increased funds for water were not going to be used effectively. So BPR was paused until Rajesh came up with the idea of PWX. BPR's support helped create the platform.
An industrialist, philanthropist, and environmentalist, Jin has been a principal in a number of businesses, incluing scrap metal processing, steel forging/fabrication, film and television production, fish farming, real estate development, and software development and marketing.
Jin has served on the board and staff of numerous nonprofits over the past 35 years including The Natural Step, the Predator Conservation Alliance, and the Earth Trust Foundation. Since 1979, Jin has been affiliated with Dia Rosatsu Zendo Kongo-Ji, a Zen Buddhist Monastery in upstate New York. In 1991, Jin and his wife Linda, established a donor advised philanthropic fund at the Marin Community Foundation that focuses on environmental issues.
Mark is responsible for PWX's logo and icons and helped with the visual and creative needs of PWX. He has spent 15 years in print and digital media, but considers himself a musician, artist, wilderness athlete, and entrepreneur.
Other BPN Contributors
PWX received support from BPN team-members thru its life, Irina Balytsky, an intern in 2007, helped test and refine all the new features developed that year.
The Igniter — Sapient
Development Team for the Initial Release - 2005
Sapient, a business innovator, turned the vision of PWX into reality by combining its expertise in program management and technology with a passion for helping clients succeed.
The core team that helped define and build PWX in record time and pro bono too: Ajaya Agrawalla, Ruchika Chhotani, Ramit Dembi, Deepti Goel, Raymond Peng, Kamar Rizwan, Vallari Shah, Srinath Sura, Elise Urbanek, and Pankaj Kumar Vijaywargiya. Support from: Surya Chikkala, Saro Iskendarian, Jennifer Snow, Puneet Udasi, Matia Wagabaza, and Jason Welsh.
Thanks to their passion and dedication PWX was released at the Mexico World Water Forum in February 2006.
Technology and Tools
We are very grateful to the open-source community for providing us powerful tools which we use heavily; PWX has also contributed back in a little way to the open source community.
In 2011 we began using Balsamiq Mockups for designing new PWX features.
GitHub granted us a free repository for all our code in 2011, for which we are extremely grateful.
Atlassian granted their powerful suite of software development tools; we have been using Jira, Capture, and Confluence since 2012.
Amigos at Typeform upgraded us to the PRO version of their awesome survey product in 2015, providing great benefit to our urban effort.