In Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book The Tipping Point, he describes how little things can make a big difference, and he points to “connectors” – people who provide links to others – as a crucial element for bringing something to a head. In Blacksmith’s case, that connector seems to be Karti Sandilya. Over the last ten years, with his help, Blacksmith has brought the issue of pollution to a boiling point. Governments and funders are now starting to pay attention.
An expert in development policy and strategy, and a former country director for the Asian Development Bank, Karti’s connections in governments and international institutions are extraordinary. Through his efforts we have opened doors to the World Bank, the European Commission and governments all over the world to help in our efforts to eradicate toxic pollution in poor countries.
I recently got back from a trip with him to Tokyo, Honk Kong, Beijing, Manila, Sydney, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo seeking support for the World Bank’s Global Alliance for Legacy Pollution and Health initiative. Despite the grueling schedule of travel and back-to-back meetings, it was a delight to be around Karti and watch him work. He is one of the kindest and happiest men I have ever met, and his ability to make connections between people and projects has been invaluable.
I am writing about him today to reiterate Malcolm Gladwell’s point. That small things do make a big difference. That one person, can have a big impact. Not everyone can be Karti Sandilya, but working together, we can all make things happen. Thanks Karti.