Connecting to the Idea of Impact – a report from the field

Connecting to the Idea of Impact – a report from the field

Hugh Lupson is from London and studies History and Geography at the University of Leeds in the UK. His recent university projects whetted his appetite for the social sector and he spent some time as an intern at Sattva. This was his first time in India.

Akshaya is currently pursuing M.Sc. (Hons) Economics at BITS Pilani. She has actively volunteered in the programmes of ‘Education’ and ‘Rural Women Empowerment’ undertaken by the Nirmaan Organization at BITS. Her inclination for community work led her to intern at Sattva where she hopes to learn more about how organisations specialise in social service and gain insight into social entrepreneurship.

As part of their internship Hugh and Akshaya visited a school for marginalised communities in Bangalore. Read about their experience here:

This Foundation’s vision is simple: to provide the poorest children from local slums with world-class opportunities, the key is education. However, this Foundation differs from other projects in providing what they call a ‘360-degree development model’, a more holistic approach to education. Besides lessons, the ‘360-degree development model’ focuses on healthcare, nutrition, emotional support and community development.

We visited them on 27th September to observe the model in action. We wanted to experience the influence that Sattva’s programmes have on their beneficiaries. The exploration into the lives of beneficiaries would also help us connect to the idea of impact and visualise it first-hand. The insights gained from this visit could even allow us to perceive the ways in which our new product, Shift 2.0 could give an enhanced picture of impact to all programmes undertaken by Sattva. We spent only a couple of hours at the Foundation, a 4-floor building with a multipurpose terrace. So while our analysis may be far from comprehensive, the visit gave us a valuable opportunity for a qualitative appraisal, shining a light in a way that statistics simply cannot and adding a human element to project evaluation.

Education is the primary pillar of the Foundation’s approach. Their school follows the I.C.S.E, an intense yet balanced secondary-schooling curriculum. We observed several lessons including English and Mathematics. In the Mathematics class the children were using blocks representing groups of ten to form number bonds to 100. Their numerical ability was impressive. Adapting to different styles of question, the children showed an understanding of the relationships between different numbers and functions rather than simply rote learning of the bonds. This speaks highly of the teaching style here. Unfortunately – as the school’s principal mentioned – the quality of the teachers here attracts the attention of fee-paying schools, who are able to lure some of them with higher wages each year.

In the English classes the students struggled slightly when not following memorised sentences. Nevertheless, they articulated to us their impressive ambitions and dreams; from becoming doctors and English teachers, to travelling the world. Through ideas like naming classrooms after planets and asteroids, it seemed to us that the Foundation’s ethos was to encourage the children not to put limits on themselves or the ways they think.

Their focus on emotional development was also clear to see. The happiness of the children is perhaps our most lasting impression of the visit. We were met in each classroom by beaming young faces, excited to speak to us and clearly proud of what they were learning. The school has a ‘friendship corner’ for any child who is feeling unhappy. The pupils are encouraged to sit in the ‘friendship corner’ whenever they are feeling unhappy and other pupils will join them to cheer them up. While we didn’t see this initiative in action, it suggests that developing empathy in children was important to the school.

Unfortunately, according to the school’s principal, the children’s happiness doesn’t always follow them home each day. Many children return home to difficult lives and carry a sizable emotional burden due to past or ongoing traumatic experiences. In response to this, the school has an in-house therapist who will see pupils on demand. However, acknowledging that a therapist will not be able to tackle this issue at its root, the school also invests in efforts to make sure children are happier at home. The community development programme aims to forge a stronger community for children through collaboration with other local schools, for example discussing a book the children had recently read via Skype. An initiative for fathers suffering with alcohol problems was also mentioned as well as teaching parents how to make soap using vegetable peel.

The children also face challenges when they graduate from the school. The strong community spirit at the Foundation’s schools contrast with normal life as a young adult. We heard that not all graduates have been able to make the necessary emotional adjustments. One solution to this issue has been to extend the school’s structured mentoring system to include alumni. Access to this wider network of the Foundation’s alumni serves as a useful tool for pupils striving to achieve their career goals.

Some areas of the 360-degree model were harder to gain an appreciation of during our visit. We narrowly missed the children’s lunch, which they had clearly been eagerly anticipating. We had little opportunity to observe the school’s nutrition programme. However, the children spoke about their food with enthusiasm, especially the eggs they get twice weekly. At the risk of making an inference, it would be hard to imagine hungry children being as happy and animated as the ones we met.

Healthcare and extra-curricular activities were also difficult to gain an understanding of during our visit. While some older children had an inter school arts competition, there was a noticeable lack of outdoor space for the children to play sports and little mention was made of activities outside of lessons. With regards to healthcare, we were given only a brief look at the infirmary, which two children were using to revise for a test. The teachers didn’t mention the healthcare programme. However, we noticed that the children’s ID cards were lacking basic details such as their blood group. As such, for the next visit: nutrition, extra-curricular activities and healthcare should be prioritised for a deeper understanding of the Foundation and its impact.

In its 16th year, the Foundation and its pupils seem to be thriving. The school has received several awards for innovation from institutions including the British Council and Tata Communications. Going forward, the principal mentioned that a key objective for them will be to secure a more reliable funding system. Currently, with funding only being guaranteed for one year at a time, it is difficult for the school to plan for future growth. Perhaps with a 5-year funding guarantee, the Foundation could scale-up and reach its true potential.
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Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

CSR Amendments – a step forward for CSR-Nonprofit relationships

CSR Amendments – A step forward for CSR-Nonprofit relationships

– by Nishkarsh Swarnkar

The Indian parliament recently passed a slew of changes with the Companies (Amendment) Act 2019, including its section 135 which is typically known as the “CSR law”. There has been a lot written about the direct implication of these changes on CSR. For a quick reference, you may want to read my colleague Mohana Rajan’s article. In this piece, we will talk about something that has not been discussed as much – the implications of these changes on nonprofits. And the news is not just good, it’s great! The changes to CSR law bring about a number of unique opportunities for nonprofits that have not been possible earlier.

We see three important trends that CSRs are likely to exhibit post the change:

1. Optimise spends – The law has now made CSR spending mandatory for all qualifying companies. This means not only will there be a greater pool of CSR money flowing into the ecosystem, but also that there will be a greater sense of urgency in utilising the funds. Any funds that remain unspent and are not related to an ongoing CSR programme will essentially be lost from a strategic investment perspective. CSRs, thus, will be looking for full utilisation in avenues that fulfill their key social objectives or align with their broader strategic interests. Nonprofit leaders can capitalise on this in the following ways:

○ Create sound projections and spending schedules, minimising underutilisation
○ Understand and align with core focus areas of the corporate’s social interests and investments
○ Keep alternate spending options ready in case underutilisation of funds becomes a challenge, especially towards the end of the financial year

2. Leverage longer-term partnerships – The typical relationship between a nonprofit and a CSR has often been short-term and transactional. However, with the introduction of the 3-year spending horizon in the law, this is now set to change. The CSR funds can now be used to finance long-term projects that aim to achieve large-scale outcomes. The longer spending horizon allows corporates to formally plan and use provisions for multi-year engagements with nonprofits, thus working towards interventions on engendering systemic change. At their end, nonprofits can take the following measures:

○ Establish shared value proposition with corporates by aligning with their social and environmental sustainability goals
○ Shift perspective from ‘donor management’ to ‘strategic relationship management’, and build a team that is equally adept at discussing financials and social impact
○ Think about flagship programmes aiming for highest impact, and create a multi-year plan and robust M&E
○ Include an ongoing dialogue on impact created on the ground, including walking CSRs through the outcomes of the social change

3. Focus on research and innovation – The government has now broadened the scope of CSR activities to include grants to incubators, thus supporting start-ups and initiatives working towards the SDGs. This is a new opportunity for nonprofits that are looking to conduct scientific research, innovate on solutions or test product prototypes. Nonprofits can now set-up their own R&D labs or product development units under government-sponsored incubators, or tie-up with universities, research institutes and existing start-ups. To the incubatees, the ability of nonprofits to bring their topical knowledge, field experience and on-ground insights to the table can prove a great value-add. This tie-up opportunity across varied actors is in itself a rare phenomenon, and has the potential of bringing a multiplier effect to the outcomes of the ecosystem – proliferating platforms akin to ‘Tech for Impact’ across diverse sectors.

To conclude, the changes to the CSR law open several new opportunities for nonprofits to engage in long-term, strategic partnerships with corporates built on shared value. An increase in the pool of available resources will favour nonprofits who fully utilise their grants and track outcomes. And last but not the least, the grounds are most fertile for nonprofits aiming for large-scale, systemic impact through long-term projects, research and innovation.

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Nishkarsh Swarnkar is part of our Transformation Advisory team and based in our Bangalore office. His current work focuses on large-scale transformations in public education. Before Sattva, Nishkarsh has worked with ZS Associates as a management consultant in the healthcare industry. He is a graduate of National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal.

Sattva has been working with various nonprofits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

● Talk to us: impact@sattva.co.in

Giving Tuesday India

Giving Tuesday India: Insights into how India gave during Giving Tuesday 2018

#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement that was brought to India in 2017 by GuideStar India, as a celebration during DaanUtsav. In the span of a year, the amount raised through #GivingTuesdayIndia grew seven times to INR 9.03 crore.

The global #GivingTuesday team, GuideStar India, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy (CSIP) at Ashoka University, and Sattva Research have collaborated to create data-driven insights on the nature and patterns of giving during #GivingTuesdayIndia.
Sattva_GivingTuesdayIndia
The effort sought:

  • To derive actionable, data-driven insights on the nature of participation during #GivingTuesdayIndia
  • To understand the impact of data collection and sharing on boosting the #GivingTuesdayIndia movement in the country
  • To compare #GivingTuesdayIndia’s data collection and sharing capabilities with those of #GivingTuesdayUSA to recommend ways forward for India
  • Click on the DOWNLOAD link on the left for the full report.

    To explore and better understand the behaviours of India’s givers, contact us today at impact@sattva.co.in.

    Urmi Patil

    Urmi is a part of our Consulting Services team in Mumbai, supporting the design and implementation of CSR projects.

    Before Sattva, she worked in southern Gujarat assisting Ph.D. scholars with their primary research and learning different participatory tools of engagement. She has worked in Government Primary Schools in Uttarakhand for two years where she was able to support schools on processes that improved the learning outcomes of children and enhanced participation of the community members. She has also worked with Mahila Mangal Dals, Yuvak Mangal Dals and Self Help Groups for their capacity building through community-based stakeholder mapping.

    Urmi has a Bachelor of Arts, with Economics Honours from Christ University.

    Shrutee Ganguly

    Shrutee is part of the Consulting Services team, Delhi, and leads engagements with corporate and strategic account clients. She manages a team that works with various implementation partners and NGOs to create long term sustainable impact. Her role demands her to manage customer experience, define strategy and create valuable outcomes in the ecosystem.

    Before Sattva she has had 16+ years in diverse corporate domains – banking, product management and consulting. Her key areas of expertise are Operational Excellence; Process Re-engineering, Programme Management, Coaching, Relationship Management & training. She has worked with senior leaders and operations staff to understand cultural dynamics, manage expectations, streamline processes and deliver results. It is her belief that the social sector needs some of these skills to streamline and structure their efforts to create impact and value. At Sattva, Shrutee has worked with the largest education non-profit in India to co-create models to recognise needs of middle management govt officials who are responsible for the policy and implementation at schools. She also worked closely with the client’s programme team to run pilots and gather relevant inputs from teachers and community on teaching practices, child engagement, good practices and challenges.

    Shrutee is a post graduate in computer applications from Madras University and an IBM certified Lean coach.

    Bobbymon George

    Bobbymon heads Assessments in Sattva and is based in our Bangalore office.

    He has delivered evaluation assignments across sectors and with key CSR accounts such as ABG, JPMorgan, ACC, Philips, L&T Infotech, L&T Financial Services, Dell and Fidelity. He comes with over 13 years of experience in the development sector, across programme design, implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation. He has led Programme Delivery, Curriculum Development, setting up Monitoring & Evaluation frame works and tools in non-profits.

    He is also a master facilitator/trainer in Life Skills.

    Garima Goel

    Garima is part of the Transformative Advisory team in Delhi, working with Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) on the District Transformation Product for 25 districts.

    Before Sattva she co-founded a sanitation enterprise called “Project Raahat” which is working in the field of urban sanitation in partnership with the government and is currently operational in 3 states. She represented India and Raahat in London and become ‘Enactus World Champion 2017’, chosen among 36 countries. She has also worked with MPs under the MPLAD programme and ran projects in their adopted villages regarding menstrual hygiene and community development. At Sattva she has worked with Central Square Foundation in landscaping the EdTech industry on a programme to drive efficacy and advocacy for country wide implementation by the government. She is committed to inculcating a bottom up method in development solutions to make them community driven.

    Garima did her Bachelors of Management Studies from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, with a major in Finance.

    Atul Sukumar

    Atul helps design, build and implement consulting projects as part of the Consulting Services team in Delhi.

    Previously, his experience includes extensive research and analysis on problems of economic policy, education, healthcare, and energy. He has worked as a Data Analyst with the McKinsey Center for Government, a global hub for research, collaboration and innovation in government productivity and performance. He has also worked in consulting organisations, publishing companies, law firms and election campaigns. He is committed to bringing best practices from the private sector to impact public efficiency and effectiveness.

    Atul is a liberal arts graduate of the University of Miami.

    Parnika Madar

    Parnika is a part of the Consulting Services team in Delhi. She has 2 years of experience in the social impact consulting sector- engaging with corporates, foundations and NGOs focusing on research, implementation, programme management, and monitoring and evaluation. She also co-founded her own philanthropic venture which won accolades from an international inter-governmental organisation.

    At Sattva, she has been involved in establishing and managing an entrepreneur-led apparel micro enterprise in rural Uttar Pradesh for an international foundation, and has also worked with a key non-profit client in designing and executing a lean pilot for micro enterprise and entrepreneurship development in UP. Apart from livelihoods, she has also worked in other sectors and functional areas such as CSR portfolio management, Education and EdTech, and Skill Development, for varied clients such as a global beverage-manufacturing company, global tech and healthcare enterprise, non-profit philanthropic foundation, and a leading national financial services and investments firm.

    Parnika has both her Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and Master’s in Development Policy from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, where she had been a part of multiple field studies, spending time in rural Maharashtra with local communities.

    Atul Kotnala

    Atul is with the Consulting Services (Implementation) team, heading project teams and working with key clients in the Delhi region.

    He has over eight years of experience in the social sector, working across the spectrum – as a Gandhi Fellow for Kaivalya Education Foundation in Rajasthan, as a recruiter for the Fellowship in South India, a Project Manager at Piramal Foundation, leading a cohort of 1000 beneficiaries for a livelihood program in Uttarakhand, and as a part of the Uttarakhand District Disaster Management Team to build a Livelihood Action Plan for the district. At Sattva he has led multiple projects working on CSR strategy formulation, organisational development, mobilisation, programme management, implementation of a livelihood programme, social audits, partner due diligence and assessments.

    Atul has a Bachelors in Commerce from the University of Delhi.