In the month of Dec’21 and Jan’22, SoulAce, a leading research and advisory firm operating in the CSR & Development Sector space in South Asia, has conducted an extensive impact assessment of our one of flagship and need-of-the-hour project Mukti Support School (MSS). I am delighted to share the result of this assessment with you all. We thank to each and everyone who have been part of this impactful project and helped those needy students of West Bengal.
First I want to tell you why the assessment has been necessary?
Mukti established the Mukti Support School (MSS) to help children in the Sundarban area who are deprived of basic educational services. At present Mukti is operating, 19 MSS centers across South 24 Parganas district. SoulAce Consulting Pvt. Ltd. conducted the Impact Assessment Study to evaluate the social impact of the MSS on these students, parents and society. The entire study has been conducted through physical visits to the NGO office and eleven centers out of nineteen centers across South 24 Parganas. This assessment has to make Mukti understand whether students are get benefitted from these schools or whether there is any need for it in the future.
How it has been done?
They have done a 360-degree evaluation with different levels of stakeholders including the governing body and the project management staff of Mukti, Students (over 12 years), teachers, parents of MSS even with the
people not associated with MSS. In doing so, they have set up a framework, tools, question answers and direct interview sessions. The entire study was conducted through physical visits to the NGO office and eleven centers out of nineteen centers across South 24 Parganas including Raidighi, Pathar Pratima and Basanti bocks and considerable numbers of students are interviewed. The assessment process continued for one and a half months.
Organizational assessment – The research team interacted closely with the Mukti team on the different aspects of the organization’s policy, activities, funding, and future planning regarding the MSS centers. The research team also enquired about the organization’s policy and activities as a whole. The entire organization had been conducted on the basis of the following parameters – Management capability, NGO team capacity, NGO governance, NGO internal M& E framework, subject matter understanding, geographic understanding and proof of concept.
The research team while analyzing the strength of the organization have mentioned that Mukti has a strong understanding of the community projects which means that Mukti can manage the 100 centers in the future, a lean infrastructure model for MSS centers, which leads to minimizing overhead costs, strong team field expertise, structured HR policy, The staff retention policy is quite steady, The founder, president and secretary are actively engaged in each project – They monitor every project thoroughly, most of the trustee members have a strong understanding of IT so they are sufficiently skilled to develop different online monitoring tools for the upcoming CSS project, The management of Mukti maintains close links with various governments and local levels, Mukti has multiple donor agencies so they have the experience of managing different corporate, national and international agencies.
Intervention assessment (OECD framework) – The research team has visited 13 centers out of 19 centers to analyze the total number of enrollment of last year, present – last year status and total numbers of teachers in the centers. Along with the new centers, they have visited the 15-16 years old centers. They interacted with the teachers to find out their qualifications and skill. The research team conducted an in-depth analysis of the infrastructure status of the centers.
They also conduct analysis on the location of the schools, maintenance, status of the furniture and power supply, learning materials in the central service offered to the students, frequency of the centers, student and teachers ratio, curriculum followed by MSS, documents available in the centers, fees structure, financial status of each center, areas of financial support by Mukti, attendance ratio in the centers, monitoring and coordination with the Mukti City office, assessment criteria in Mukti Support school centers and overall performance of the students.
Parents – While interacting with the parents they emphasize some points – Socio- economic background of the beneficiary, parents’ occupation and education level of the parents, Parents’ interaction with the teacher, education Qualification, (Students’ inclination towards studies, declined early marriage of the girls, better performance of the children, the school like environment developed, further continuation of their children’s education,).
Students – The research team has interacted with 40 students across 7th, 8th, and 9th standard students randomly and independently regarding understanding lessons, willingness to attend the centers and if the students would like to refer their respective MSS to their siblings or other students.
Teachers – The present salary of the MSS teachers has been comprised of their old salary by the research team. Teachers are asked whether they are willing to continue MSS.
Finally, center wise key observations are conducted by SoulAce
What is the observation –
The centers’ strengths, opportunities along with weaknesses and threads are found by the team. They have found that the project is unique in its kind; benefits rural students and extends teacher employability. Moreover, all the centers are earning revenue and running successfully. Therefore, existing centers should be continued with a revised strategy to ensure smooth operation. In addition, they need little encouragement, revised salary, or better infrastructure support for the smooth functioning of the centers.
Similarly, the expansion of the 100 centers will benefit rural children. In addition, it will contribute to the creation of jobs for young educated unemployed people through strategic planning, a robust monitoring system, and good coordination by Mukti management.
The OECD framework has been evaluated through 4 criteria- relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability. Out of 5 ratings, MSS has given 5 out of 5 in relevance, coherence, impact and sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency have been given 4 points.
Relevance – It has been conducted to know whether the CSR Project meets the needs of the beneficiaries? It has been found that the initiative is capable of addressing the education gap of rural children and increasing the scope of employability of the educated unemployed rural youths.
Coherence – Mukti MSS initiative is in line with the different government schools. The project is meeting the sustainable development goals. 1. No Poverty; 4. Quality education, 5. Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Effectiveness – A visible improvement among children has been observed over the period of time in respect o academic performance, reduced dropout rate. On the other hand, Mukti is providing enhanced earnings for the teachers.
Efficiency – The program is carried out to facilitate the beneficiaries, at their best in spite of various difficulties and logistical support. The project meets all the requirements envisaged during the planning process.
Impact – The program has created multiple impacts. It supports to fulfill the basic gap of education, better academic performance of the students, decreased dropout rate, a continuation of the studies during prolonged school closure, enhancement of income of the teachers, and most importantly to make the center self–sustainable.
Sustainability – The program is sustainable in the sense that it runs majorly from the collection of the community fund.
The assessment has shown the need for the MSS and Mukti will inaugurate 100 new centers across WB.