Thursday, January 23, 2014

Swabhimaan NGO Education Society 
 We know who our customers and teammates are!!
 Eduardo from Mexico, Kazu from Japan and I will be working with the Swabhimaan Education NGO.

This blog entry is a little long, but will give you a lot of insight into what we will be doing in India and the group that we will be supporting.
 In 2008, a group of young engineers in Ludhiana decided to pay back to society and the country. They began by meeting social activists and learning the ropes from them in order to meet their goal of charity. The group decided to try to provide free, impactful, needs-based education in a proper classroom environment with proper chairs and desks, blackboards, a playground, toilet, fans, trained teachers, and modern technology and books. One of their proudest moments was in 2011 when their first school "Swami Vivekanand Saraswati Gurukul" got Government recognition from Punjab School Education Board up to Class 10th in 2011. This meant that students who studied at this school received valid report cards and could apply to other schools to pursue further education. Currently, 5 Swabhimaan NGO schools have Government recognition.
They started in 2008 with just one school in a small poor neighborhood called Haibowal.  This neighborhood is where many of the migrant workers, sweepers and gardeners families live. This school was a success and today they have 25 schools in Ludhiana teaching up to 4000 children irrespective of race, caste, color, creed or religion.  Most of these children are he 1st in their family to receive any formal education.

The cost of running a school for 100-150 students with 5 teachers is about USD 3000 per year. Swabhimaan NGO depends on donations from well-meaning individuals to run these schools, but does not have a sustained source of funding from any organizations. They also do not have a system for collecting donations online. They are planning to start an online initiative where they will sell textiles and handicrafts by buying it from the craftsmen directly. The profits made after paying the craftsmen will be used for running these schools. Another initiative that Swabhimaan NGO does is livelihood skills trainings for unemployed mothers of the students. They give training in tailoring and provide sewing machines so that it can become a home based livelihood activity. Swabhimaan NGO is looking to meet with private schools and urge them to place bulk orders for uniforms with Swabhimaan NGO that these women will then supply.
 Their main concerns are:
Swabhimaan NGO has grown to 25 schools mainly on the basis of interest and financial donations of well meaning individuals. Thus, there is a need to identify and expand sources of funding. Its impact is currently very local and limited to Ludhiana city only. Swabhimaan NGO aspires to increase its visibility beyond the city of Ludhiana and scale up and start similar Swabhimaan NGO schools in other cities of Punjab. Additionally, it would like to network with national and international organisations already existing in the field of education (such as Pratham, an education NGO with national reach) so that free, quality education can become accessible to every child. To accomplish all this they need the assistance of IBM volunteers to review their existing processes and develop a 5-year strategic plan for scaling up. 

Our objective over the 4 weeks in Ludhiana will be:
  1. Recommendations on the existing processes of Swabhimaan NGO
  2. Develop a 5-year strategic plan to achieve scaling-up and growth objectives of Swabhimaan NGO
  3. Recommendations on branding and sustainable funding sources
  4. Recommendations on possible partnerships with appropriate national and international organisations
   Activities that they have outlined for us to achieve this objective:

  1.  Hold initial meeting with management to review scope of work, understand mutual expectations, and determine assignment action plan
  2. Revise, if necessary, scope of work within one week based on in person meetings 
  3. Develop an understanding of organization’s programs and processes through interviews with staff and clients
  4. Visit Swabhimaan NGO schools to understand operations and to speak with teachers students, administration
  5. Talk to some families of children attending Swabhimaan NGO schools to understand their motivation for sending their children 
  6. Develop understanding of all aspects of Swabhimaan NGO school program processes, costs, policies
  7. Develop an understanding on how larger organizations like Pratham carry out their programs
  8. Research possibilities for affiliations, partnerships and networks to strengthen the program
  9. Identify possible new markets, funding resources, etc.
  10. Develop 5 year strategic plan to upscale and increase the number of Swabhimaan NGO schools in Punjab
  11.  Provide regularly updated briefings with the organization’s management and/or working group on assignment progress, including final summary presentation on assignment results and recommended next steps
And our final deliverables will be:

  1. A revised scope of work, if necessary, after one week based on the current situation and discussions with organization’s management
  2.  Brief PowerPoint presentation describing outcomes, methodology and next steps
  3.  Written report highlighting activities undertaken and recommendations for implementation
  4.  Train staff on how to implement new strategy or solution
  5. A sustainability plan for the project – what resources will be needed for continued success?
  6. Final report to include 5 year strategic plan to upscale Swabhimaan NGO that includes:     

a.      recommendations on systems and processes

b.     sustainable sources of funding

c.      branding strategy

d.      partnerships with national and international organizations


1 comment:

  1. Wow ... sounds exciting and challenging at the same time. I read your post and looked at the website and immediately felt like donating but to your point, that is not possible ... for now. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a lasting impact on an organization that simply wants to provide basic education for kids. We, in the west, consider education a right, but for many kids in India, it is a only a dream and only for the privileged lucky ones. I know your passion and dedication will shine bright on this great journey!