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

PRALAY CHAKRABARTI

Pralay is a Principal with Sattva’s Transformation Advisory and Portfolio Services. He has 15+ years of management consulting and corporate strategy experience across multiple sectors. He has led multi-country complex transformation initiatives. These have been across impacting organisation strategy, process, people, and culture that needed strategy formulation and deep change management expertise.

Pralay holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode.

Parvathy Ramanathan

Parvathy leads the Transformation Advisory Services portfolio at Sattva, where we focus on enabling ambitious organisations achieve their highest impact. In addition, she also leads Sattva’s technology CSR Programme Management product – SHIFT.

Parvathy has worked extensively in both the US and India at the intersection of systemic transformation and technology, in sectors including Government, Healthcare and Education.

Parvathy is an entrepreneurial leader, now focused on solving urgent problems in the development sector, leveraging over 18 years of global experiences in strategy, marketing, product innovation, services delivery and business development. She has launched, generated and managed global revenue streams across products and services. Her leadership roles range from Accel-Partners funded Big Data Analytics start- up to Fortune-500 firms like Amazon, IQVIA and McGraw-Hill. Her experience spans sectors including Government, Healthcare, Financial Services, Education and Retail.

Parvathy has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelors in Engineering from RAIT, Mumbai University.

Rahul Shah

Rahul is part the Consulting Services team in Mumbai, with experience working on organisational development with both small and large NGOs, CSR design and implementation, development impact bonds, fundraising and impact assessment.

His diverse experience in the development sector has evolved from his time working at the grassroots level in Ahmedabad, India, to community organising in his hometown of Washington, DC, consulting with social organisations across domains and managing multi-year development projects. Prior to joining Sattva, Rahul worked with TechnoServe India where he managed a CSR funded accelerator programme for women-led social enterprises and NGOs, and a USAID funded project transferring frugal agricultural innovations from India to Africa. In addition to his development sector work, he has five years of progressive experience in corporate finance with industry leading, Fortune 500 corporations in the United States.

Rahul has an MBA and an MS Finance from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Georgetown University.

Chaitanya Pathak

Chaitanya is a part of the Consulting Services (Implementation) team in Mumbai, working on design and implementation of CSR projects.

Before Sattva he has worked in the IT services industry with a business intelligence firm. He went on to a Gandhi Fellowship with Kaivalya Education Foundation, working with government systems and stakeholders in rural Rajasthan. Through all these years he continued to volunteer at Make A Difference (MAD), an organisation that works in improving life outcomes for underprivileged children. He is committed to using his knowledge and skills to make lives better, while being a catalyst for social change.

Chaitanya is a Gandhi Fellow and has a B.E. in Computer Technology from Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur.

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.