“Looking back through numbers”

The work of bringing in any kind of change is a humungous task. Whether at an individual level, communal level or a global level. Not only do we need a lot of actionable ideas but also a lot of support to make those ideas come true. This cannot happen without the relentless support from the volunteers. Dharohar trains 1200 volunteers who go to 40 different schools to run 10 different programmes with kids. Out of those 1200 around 120 volunteers are given the responsibility to not let a single experience go without analysis. Bit of a tedious math to keep a track of programme success and impact, isnt it? If you want to lose weight and decide to work out every day, wouldnt it be to have a nice little chart help you to track how much weight you have lost and how much you need to do to reach the desired goal? Monitoring & Evaluation, as the name suggests, is a set of cool tools to look back and evaluate our work for all Dharohar activities. Logistical arrangements for using these tools was a challenge. One of the interns working at Dharohar, created a smiley box. Its a box to capture the emotion of a kid right after the session with Dharohar. Both for volunteers and for kids. The number of boxes was falling short as compared to the number visits. What do we do? Secure volunteers were very quick to react to this problem and solved it by creating an application that can be used on mobile phones, instead of carrying the smiley box each time before the visit. M&E was created 2 years back and has had to evolve itself to adapt to the changing shape of Dharohar programmes. This year Dharohar team did a workshop with Aparna Bhasin Consultancy and learnt many new tools for M&E. These tools are not merely numerical but also useful for qualitative analysis. We added these new facets and tools &E like focused group discussions with kids, feedback forms from the volunteers etc. Volunteers learnt these tools and went to schools. We keep these tools varying from one on-one discussion to the smiley app so that it does not remain a general routine and keeps it honest to the purpose. Monitoring and evaluation gives Dharohar an opportunity to make the best of their resources and programmes. Numbers help us get clarity and perspective about the present conditions. Although, M&E is not just confined to numbers; we try to interpret the data in different ways. Learning these tools and using them in schools is a skill; these tools allow us to reach the core of their experiences with Dharohar programmes. This year we focused on getting in touch with all volunteers and school kids about how they feel about the programmes in Dharohar.