(Images, courtesy FFE)
The study aimed to understand the achieved outcomes, identify strengths and challenges, and provide recommendations to scale and strengthen the programme.
India accounts for one-fifth of the world’s youth population, but only 26.3% i.e. 236 million youth are enrolled in higher education, indicating significantly low enrolment and participation in tertiary education. Furthermore, according to the India Skills Report 2021, the rate of unemployment among Indian youth stands at 54.1%. Declining education budgets and increasing costs to pursue higher education are a few of the barriers that prevent students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds from accessing and completing their higher education. To effectively leverage India’s demographic dividend, there’s a need to provide adequate education, skill training, and job opportunities for the youth.
Foundation for Excellence (FFE) is an NGO established in 1994, dedicated to empowering underprivileged youth through scholarships and holistic support in the field of education and skill training. Partnering with the client, Sattva undertook an impact evaluation study to assess the effectiveness and impact of their programme. The study aimed to understand the achieved outcomes, identify strengths and challenges, and provide recommendations to scale and strengthen the programme.
Sattva approached the study with a comprehensive mixed-method approach, combining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. A sample size of 326 recent scholars and 183 past scholars participated in surveys, and a subset in interviews, and focus group discussions. The study duration extended from September 2022 to February 2023, and an estimation of the Social Return on Investment (SROI) for the programme was also conducted. Led by Sattva’s experienced Impact Measurement & Advisory team, the project involved close collaboration with FFE’s programme team, mentors, facilitators, donors, and other stakeholders.
The study reported that by solving for the gap in availability and access to scholarships for professional courses, FFE ensures that each student is provided with end-to-end support through their course until they are placed. The impact evaluation revealed that the programme generated a 2.56x return on investment for each engineering scholar within three years of course completion. The programme led to increased income resulting in improved economic stability for the scholar and their family. 71.6% of scholars showed early signs of upward economic mobility on completion of their graduate studies and securing employment. Moreover, the Circle of Giving initiative allowed scholars to ‘pay it forward’ by supporting current scholars. The study found that of those who donate to FFE, 63.4% (78/123) report donating every year. The research also highlighted the critical role played by mentors and volunteers (2000+ countrywide), in shaping the career and guiding the students. Partnerships with other NGOs have also played a key to the programme’s success. The indirect impact on the families of these scholars included improved standard of living, education support for younger siblings, and access to savings, insurance, and other such benefits.
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