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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report Maharashtra, India 2008-2011

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report

Maharashtra, India

2008-2011

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report Maharashtra, India 2008-2011
Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report Maharashtra, India 2008-2011

© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

How Jyoti empowered over 200 women to gain economic independence and secure vital family income

In 2010, Jyoti Chaudhari, a Quest Fellow, used the power of 15 self-help groups (SHGs) to increase female participation in rural Maharashtra’s local economy. She began by teaching the women self- employment. After training women from five villages in groups of 10-15, they went on to secure loans and grants to start vital economic ventures, including the production of dairy items and sanitary napkins to generate income.

Jyoti also launched two women’s assemblies and organised a conference on their constitutional rights, fuelling their interest in politics. She secured 50% house ownership for them and contributed to the election of a female local government representative.

In this Maharashtra community, women are mostly confined to their homes, rarely participate in village development and depend on male relatives to support them. With families struggling to make ends meet, extreme poverty fuels issues such as alcohol addiction amongst adults and teenage boys.

Before her fellowship, Jyoti belonged to various local groups and her aim was to help women gain a respected voice in political and communal life. At first, the women struggled to follow her, but as a fellow, Jyoti learned to understand the local context and how to mobilise the women effectively.

Through her work, Jyoti gained the trust of these local people, and increased the police and local government’s respect for them. As one of the locals says, “Initially we didn’t know if we could trust Jyoti but now, if we have any problem, we go to her for advice. She should keep up her work.”

A year after her fellowship, Jyoti’s confidence has increased and she has many useful contacts. She is now busy organising a new network of SHGs to increase female political participation and has taken part in a regional campaign, with other former fellows, on women’s rights. She is also determined to address the high level of alcohol addiction in the community. Local women are now planning their own action and are trying to enforce a liquor ban and create more SHGs to help poor families.

are now planning their own action and are trying to enforce a liquor ban and create
are now planning their own action and are trying to enforce a liquor ban and create
are now planning their own action and are trying to enforce a liquor ban and create

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Contents

Executive Summary

Overview of the Quest Fellowship Programme

How the Quest Fellowship Programme developed in Maharashtra What we are aiming to achieve Why we work with grassroots leaders How we identify Quest Fellows How the programme is structured

Context of our Work in Maharashtra

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Introduction to India and Maharashtra Profile of our target communities Profile of our fellows

Introduction to India and Maharashtra Profile of our target communities Profile of our fellows
Introduction to India and Maharashtra Profile of our target communities Profile of our fellows

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Purpose and Methodology of the Impact Assessment

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Purpose of the impact assessment Timeframe and team Participants Tools used for data collection Areas of assessment Limitations

of the impact assessment Timeframe and team Participants Tools used for data collection Areas of assessment
of the impact assessment Timeframe and team Participants Tools used for data collection Areas of assessment
of the impact assessment Timeframe and team Participants Tools used for data collection Areas of assessment
of the impact assessment Timeframe and team Participants Tools used for data collection Areas of assessment
of the impact assessment Timeframe and team Participants Tools used for data collection Areas of assessment

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Impact on Participants

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Impact on fellows

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Impact on mentors

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Impact on organisations

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Impact on Communities

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Combating violence against women

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Generating livelihoods

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Empowering women

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Ensuring food security

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Addressing health issues

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Improving access to education

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Securing land rights

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Accessing basic amenities

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Changes identified in communities

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Wider political impact

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Sustainability

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amenities 34 Changes identified in communities 34 Wider political impact 35 Sustainability 36 3
amenities 34 Changes identified in communities 34 Wider political impact 35 Sustainability 36 3

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Feedback on Programme Management and Design

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Recruitment and selection

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Training

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Mentoring

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Organisational support

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Financial support

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General feedback

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Challenges encountered

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Improvements suggested

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Feedback from external evaluator

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Key Achievements and Recommendations

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Key achievements

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Key learning and recommendations

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Case Studies

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Laxmi Bansode Deepak Mukane Sahadeo Shanaware

Laxmi Bansode Deepak Mukane Sahadeo Shanaware
Laxmi Bansode Deepak Mukane Sahadeo Shanaware

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References

58 Case Studies 5 0 Laxmi Bansode Deepak Mukane Sahadeo Shanaware 50 51 52 References 5
58 Case Studies 5 0 Laxmi Bansode Deepak Mukane Sahadeo Shanaware 50 51 52 References 5

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Executive Summary

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

The following report summarises findings from an evaluation of the first three years of the Quest Fellowship Programme in Maharashtra, India. The programme was established in 2008 as a collaboration between Leaders’ Quest and CORO, based in Mumbai, to realise the untapped leadership potential of individuals within marginalised communities to tackle local issues and ensure constitutional rights. It consists of a year-long structured programme of training, mentoring, support and community work. 302 fellows participated in the programme in the period 2008-11, which forms the basis of this impact assessment.

The impact assessment was conducted between January and March 2012, led by a team at CORO with the assistance of an external consultant. Basic data was gathered on all 302 fellows, and in- depth interviews and focus group discussions were carried out with a cross-section of 30 fellows, 29 mentors, 25 heads of local community-based organisations and 381 members of the fellows’ communities. This report was jointly compiled by CORO and Leaders’ Quest based on analysis of the evidence.

Objectives

The detailed objectives of the impact assessment were as follows:

Evaluate the impact of the programme at different levels individual level (fellows, mentors), community level, organisational level and wider political level.

Assess the longer-term changes and influence achieved by the programme.

Identify good practice, key learning and recommendations for improvements to the programme.

Identify constraints, challenges and opportunities generated by the programme.

Generate part of the documentation of our model for future programme development.

Summary of achievements

The programme is highly rated by participants and is seen to provide fellows with the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to work effectively in their communities.

Fellows are achieving concrete results through their community initiatives during the fellowship year. Members of 537 disadvantaged rural/tribal/urban slum communities have benefited from the work of the fellows.

Evidence of longer-term changes catalysed by the programme include changing gender attitudes, women reporting greater participation in community affairs, community members being more aware of their rights, and marginalised fellows reporting greater levels of respect and influence in their dealings with officials.

93% of fellows completed the programme, and 87% have continued to lead work in their communities on the issues identified during their fellowship.

programme, and 87% have continued to lead work in their communities on the issues identified during
programme, and 87% have continued to lead work in their communities on the issues identified during

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Fellows’ impact is being sustained through their continued involvement in the networks and collective action initiatives established by the programme. Second-tier leadership has also been successfully established by fellows in many of their communities.

Collaboration with local, community-based organisations has been an important factor in supporting and sustaining the fellows’ work and has enabled the organisations themselves to strengthen their capacity and networks.

A high-quality, effective programme management team has been built. The continuity and increasing expertise of this team has greatly benefited the programme.

Learning points and recommendations

Selection of fellows and issues

The most successful fellows are motivated by their personal experience to address particular community issues. This leads to a wide number of highly relevant issues being addressed, reflecting the multiple development needs of the communities where the fellows work. This approach, however, creates a challenge when aggregating the impact of the fellows’ work and building collective expertise in addressing specific issues. In 2012, we are selecting more fellows whose personal interests are aligned with those gaining traction across the programme through our collective experience, networks and campaigns.

Programme inputs

The design of the programme appears to be working well. However, key elements including training content and delivery, the role of mentors and level of financial support can be further improved to increase impact and efficiency. Improved selection and training of mentors has already been implemented in 2011-12 in order to address the variable quality of mentoring seen earlier.

Additional support

Many stakeholders have stated that one year is too short a period for the fellowship, and that longer-term support is necessary for the fellows’ projects to mature, become more entrenched in the community, and grow in visibility and influence. This is an important area for development, and is being addressed partly through the campaigning work introduced since 2011, which provides opportunities for both current and former fellows to continue to work together. In 2012, we are also starting an advanced fellowship programme in order to continue to support a smaller number of fellows identified as having the greatest potential to take their leadership further.

Collective action

Greater opportunities for collective action will both build our expertise in certain key issues and enable fellows to increase their influence at a policy level. This is already being addressed since 2011 through setting up campaign networks to address regional issues such as access to water, forest rights and female foeticide.

Collaboration with organisations

Heads of the community-based organisations we work with are supportive of the programme and in many cases would like to be more involved. Working more closely with these organisations will have

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the programme and in many cases would like to be more involved. Working more closely with
the programme and in many cases would like to be more involved. Working more closely with

© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

the added benefit of improving ongoing local support to fellows’ initiatives. Where possible, we are selecting fellows from the same organisations over multiple years, in order to build critical mass and capacity within those organisations through the fellows. We have also started to involve these organisations more deeply in our campaign networks and, in 2012-13, we are planning a series of organisational capacity-building workshops.

Evaluating and documenting our impact

While we know that fellows are having an impact on the issues they are addressing in the communities, our monitoring and evaluation systems need to be improved in order to capture this information more effectively. We need to improve the way we measure outputs and align our impact assessment more closely with our overall vision for change. We also need to document our processes and model in order to assure the quality of the programme and build up a knowledge base which can be shared with others. Both these initiatives are being launched in late 2012.

and build up a knowledge base which can be shared with others. Both these initiatives are
and build up a knowledge base which can be shared with others. Both these initiatives are

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Overview of the Quest Fellowship Programme

How the Quest Fellowship Programme developed in Maharashtra

Leaders’ Quest established its Foundation in 2004 (registered charity no. 1104192) to realise the untapped leadership potential within marginalised communities to tackle tough issues. Working in partnership with local organisations in India and China, we designed our Quest Fellowship Programme, a year-long, structured programme of training, mentoring, support and community work to empower emerging grassroots leaders to build strong, self-reliant communities.

In Maharashtra, India, Leaders’ Quest and CORO for Literacy have been working together since 2004. CORO introduced LQ to emerging leaders whose potential to tackle some of the tough local problems they faced was tremendous, but who had little or no access to training, education or support. Over the next three years, CORO and LQ collaborated to provide small-scale funding and training for 87 individual leaders to enhance their capacity and influence in tackling local issues. Together, we built on this experience to create a model for grassroots leadership development, using a rights-based approach, which could be taken to scale.

In the period 2008-11, CORO and LQ provided year-long fellowships for 302 grassroots leaders. These fellows worked with 537 communities across Maharashtra state to address issues identified by them, including women’s empowerment, livelihoods, health, education and access to basic amenities. We created a process for selecting those grassroots leaders with the highest potential to achieve change, and developed a set of training modules and assignments to build their leadership skills and knowledge. We selected and trained 137 mentors to support the fellows as they researched community needs and designed and delivered projects to address them. We formed a network of 114 community-based organisations that recommended fellows to the programme and provided on-the- ground support to their work. We built our organisational systems and team to manage and monitor the progress of the fellows both during and after their fellowship year. In 2011, we started a pilot programme in Karnataka state, based on our existing model and in collaboration with a local partner, Basic Needs India.

Fel lows enrolled Fellows graduated 2010-2011 2009-2010 Mentor s 2008-2009 NGO Partners 0 50 100
Fel lows enrolled
Fellows graduated
2010-2011
2009-2010
Mentor s
2008-2009
NGO Partners
0
50
100
150
200

Figure 1: Growth in India, 2008-11

2010-2011 2009-2010 Mentor s 2008-2009 NGO Partners 0 50 100 150 200 Figure 1: Growth in
2010-2011 2009-2010 Mentor s 2008-2009 NGO Partners 0 50 100 150 200 Figure 1: Growth in

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

2012 Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011 Figure 2: Increase in demand, 2008-10 Demand for our

Figure 2: Increase in demand, 2008-10

Demand for our programme in India grew more than sevenfold between 2008 and 2010. Feedback gathered from stakeholders confirmed that our programme provides a unique opportunity for grassroots leaders to build their capacity and lead concrete actions for change in disadvantaged communities. In 2012, we carried out the first 3-year evaluation of our programme, with the help of an external consultant, in order to document the impact, learnings and feedback to date and gather recommendations for taking our work to the next stage.

What we are aiming to achieve

Through our work with emerging leaders in India, we aim to empower communities to secure their constitutional rights by strengthening individual and organisational capacity at the grassroots. We envisage a society where grassroots leaders, regardless of their background, are recognised, respected and invited to the table as powerful agents of positive social change. We believe that:

1. By empowering a meaningful number of grassroots leaders to tackle the social issues of their choice, and by creating an environment conducive to collective action (key outputs),

2. Grassroots leaders will be able to create positive, significant and sustained impact within and beyond their communities, which will in turn result in a robust body of evidence that proves to key influencers the power of these leaders’ work and approach (intermediate outcomes).

3. This will lead to grassroots leaders becoming a respected and influential voice within established systems and institutions, which will ultimately enable disadvantaged communities to fulfil their rights and potential (ultimate impact).

In Maharashtra, we are already building a movement of grassroots leaders across the state who have increased influence, confidence and skills to act as change agents at community and state levels. We will use our experience in Maharashtra to build similar movements in other states, creating a model for grassroots leadership development across India.

to build similar movements in other states, creating a model for grassroots leadership development across India.
to build similar movements in other states, creating a model for grassroots leadership development across India.

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

In order to achieve this change, we need to gather sufficient evidence of the power of grassroots leaders to make positive, significant and sustained impact within and beyond their communities. We need to know how our programme benefits the grassroots leaders themselves, what changes those leaders are catalysing through their participation in this programme, and how sustainable these changes are.

This evaluation is our first step in gathering this evidence, and will help us to focus our programme on those areas that are most likely to have the greatest impact in the future. In particular, given the age of the Quest Fellowship Programme, this impact report only looks at how the evidence that links our outputs (1, above) and our intermediate outcomes (2) is starting to build up. Over time, we expect to start seeing additional evidence of these intermediate outcomes (2) leading into our ultimate intended impact (3).

Why we work with grassroots leaders

Local grassroots leaders in disadvantaged areas have the untapped potential and ability to tackle local issues in a sustainable way.

They live and work in the community they serve.

They have a personal stake in the issue they are tackling.

They assume responsibility for the broader interests of the community including economic opportunity, justice, equity, fairness and inclusiveness.

They hold a vision for their community and a passion to make it a reality.

They involve local people in the creation, direction and organisation of projects.

However, training, further education, technology and support for these individuals are rare. Our fellowship programme bridges this gap by providing opportunities that would otherwise not exist to help them realise the change they want to create and sustain in their own communities. Using a bottom-up, participatory approach, we enable fellows to conduct their own needs assessments and decide which issues they would like to address. While equipping them with all the tools they require for their work to be significant, fellows are able to use the channels of intervention they think are most appropriate within the framework of a rights-based approach.

How we identify Quest Fellows

We work with a network of local partner organisations to identify grassroots leaders we can support through our fellowship programme. Working on the ground, these organisations are best placed to recommend individuals who are active within the communities they serve and have clear leadership potential.

Quest Fellows are selected based on their commitment to their community and their potential to develop their skills and impact as grassroots leaders. As such, there are no educational or literacy requirements to become a fellow.

skills and impact as grassroots leaders. As such, there are no educational or literacy requirements to
skills and impact as grassroots leaders. As such, there are no educational or literacy requirements to

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Criteria for fellow selection

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Experience of taking leadership on the issues they propose to work on

Motivation for taking their leadership further

How well they understand the issues they are working on

Personal experience of the issues they are addressing

Understanding of their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader

Commitment to lead for collective benefit rather than for their own advancement

Core values that promote collective leadership, gender equity and transparency

Ability to stand up for their beliefs when challenged

Ablility to work collaboratively with others

Vocal and effective in communicating with others

Familiarity with and use of a rights-based approach

Strength of their project proposal and clarity of their vision for taking this forward

Applicants are taken through a rigorous multi-stage selection process. This includes written applications where applicants are asked to share their relevant experience, motivation for the programme and a brief proposal for their project (help with writing provided for those who need it). Interviews are held for shortlisted candidates with a panel of programme staff, partners and external advisors.

How the programme is structured

The Quest Fellowship is a year-long structured programme of training, mentoring, support and community work specifically designed for emerging leaders living and working in marginalised communities. Quest Fellows undertake community-based research and receive relevant training and support to develop initiatives that address local issues. Fellows commit between 20 and 25 hours a week and receive project funding and a modest allowance for living costs.

Training (first 6 months)

Fellows receive 16 days of residential training to develop their soft and hard skills to lead community change. The training starts by developing the fellows’ self-awareness and understanding of their core values. This is reinforced by relevant skills and knowledge training, providing them with the tools they need to act on their growing sense of potential. Between each module, they complete practical assignments to cement their learning.

on their growing sense of potential. Between each module, they complete practical assignments to cement their
on their growing sense of potential. Between each module, they complete practical assignments to cement their

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Module 1 Personal development and understanding context

Module 2 Understanding community-based issues

Module 3 Skills for local development/project management

Module 4 Developing advocacy and networking skills

Expanding self- awareness and sense of one’s own potential Understanding one’s strengths and weaknesses Understanding context Rights-based approach, including legal tools available Gender sensitivity Policy context

Community dynamics Understanding local issues Exploring democratic spaces - Citizenship Participatory approaches Developing project proposals Research, interviewing and data analysis skills

Project management (planning, delivering, evaluating a project) Communication skills Mobilising financial and human resources for community work

Influencing stakeholders Delivering presentations Effective communication with the media Advocacy and campaigning Networking and alliance-building

Mentorship (needs based, weekly to monthly one-to-one sessions)

Fellows receive regular advice and guidance from a more experienced local leader throughout the fellowship year.

Mentorship process

Mentor profile

Mentor role

Each fellow is assigned a mentor. A mentor typically supports 2-4 fellows. Mentors are recommended by our partner organisations and selected according to criteria we have developed. They receive training on their role and responsibilities and in mentoring skills. Mentors and their fellows have weekly to monthly interactions, according to the fellows’ needs.

Mentors have more experience in community development and/or in the issue the fellow is focusing on for their project. They work for the local community-based organisations involved in the programme, in most cases the same organisation as the fellow

Provide support and advice, help fellows to develop their community projects and review progress. Play a key role in the programme, feeding into the overall programme review and reflection processes. Build their own skills, knowledge and leadership to support fellows effectively.

Research phase (first 3-4 months, minimum 15 days full-time)

Fellows focus on local issues that affect them and their communities. To gain a deeper understanding of the issue, fellows carry out a survey of 500 households (average) in the community. Through this research and analysis, fellows are able to isolate the issue that is most important to them and their community and the interventions that will most likely result in sustainable impact. Training and help from mentors equips them to conduct research on the issues, gather community members’ views on them, map resources available to tackle them and start to build networks and relationships with stakeholders, service-providers and decision-makers.

to tackle them and start to build networks and relationships with stakeholders, service-providers and decision-makers. 12
to tackle them and start to build networks and relationships with stakeholders, service-providers and decision-makers. 12

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Project design and delivery (final 6-8 months)

Fellows design and deliver a project or series of initiatives to tackle their chosen issue in their community.

Design process

Delivery

Following the assessment period, each fellow, with the help of their mentor and appropriate training, designs a project or series of initiatives to address a chosen community issue Project work is usually done individually, so that each fellow can tackle an issue that is close to them. Sometimes they link in with other fellows working in the same community.

Fellow delivers their project or series of initiatives over a period of 6-8 months. During the implementation period, the fellow is supported by their mentor to regularly review progress, learn from experience, take corrective action and further build on their initiatives. They commit between 20 and 25 hours a week to their fellowship.

Institutional support (ongoing)

Building institutional support to the programme through engaging a network of local NGOs or CBOs is an important part of embedding it in local communities, as it provides ongoing support to the fellows and broadens ownership of the programme to enable it to grow.

Organisations feed into the programme by supporting fellows in their work, providing mentors, contributing to training delivery, sitting on the programme steering group and contributing to programme evaluation

Fellows rely on local organisations for support and resourcing, while also adding to the capacity and service delivery of such organisations through their own initiatives

Our programme team at CORO also provide on-going support to fellows, mentors and partner organisations through training and a series of field visits/meetings throughout the year.

Financial support (ongoing)

Fellows and mentors receive financial support allowing them to focus on their roles.

Often from the marginalised communities they work in, fellows have the responsibility to support their own families. The stipend helps them support their living costs, allowing them to focus on their fellowship work.

The distribution of the stipend is tied into the fellows’ monthly reporting to mentors, which encourages continuing commitment to the programme

Each fellow receives funding to cover the costs of implementing their project including the purchase of materials and equipment.

Fellows may apply for small grants or leverage additional financial support from other organisations/local donors according to their need.

Mentors also receive financial support for their work.

other organisations/local donors according to their need.  Mentors also receive financial support for their work.
other organisations/local donors according to their need.  Mentors also receive financial support for their work.

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Context of our Work in Maharashtra

Introduction to India and Maharashtra

India is the world’s second-most populous country, and its most populous democracy, with over 1.2 billion citizens. 37% of the population continue to live below the poverty line i , 77% of rural Indians do not have access to proper sanitation facilities and 8% of the country’s population remain without any source of clean drinking water ii (see p.53 for references).

India’s Public Distribution System (PDS) is the largest food security network in the world. However, theft and corruption mean that 58% of the grain supplied to poor families does not reach its target group iii . These families are often forced to pay bribes to access these services, with more than Rs. 1500 million in bribes (GBP 19 million) paid by 10 million rural households in twelve states, according to a recent India Corruption Study (2010) iv .

India ranks low in gender equality compared to other countries, with only 10% of seats in the national parliament held by women v (women hold only 4% of the seats in the Maharashtra assembly vi ). Violence against women is prevalent; 70% of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 are victims of beating, rape or forced intercourse vii . High instances of rape, sexual harassment, burning brides over dowry disputes, kidnappings and molestations mean a crime against a woman is recorded every 3 minutes viii .

The caste system remains very entrenched across the country. High levels of social inequality, discrimination and marginalisation mean that 165 million Dalits (members of a Scheduled Caste) continue to face segregation in housing and schools, and do not have access to public services ix .

Maharashtra performs better that some states in India on a number of social and economic indicators, but high levels of poverty and gender inequality are still very prevalent.

Its unbalanced sex ratio (883 females per 1000 males x ) is a result of a long history of illegal abortions of female foetuses. The disparity in Maharashtra is amongst the worst in India: with a total population of 112 million, there will be 7 million more men than women in the near future.

The literacy rate amongst women is only 75.5%, compared to 89.8% for males. The difference is even starker in rural areas, where 32.62% of females and 13.61% of males remain illiterate xi .

Maharashtra also houses the largest slum population in India, with 18.1 million urban poor in the state xii . Though it has received Rs. 800 million from the national government to tackle this issue, 24.5% of the population live below the poverty line xiii . Of these, 48.6% are excluded from the Public Distribution System, making them unable to access vital food supplies xiv . Many people lack residency permits or land titles and live in unofficial slums which do not have basic amenities or access to public services. Only 47% of these slums have a hospital within 1km and 30.2% remain without sanitation facilities xv .

services. Only 47% of these slums have a hospital within 1km and 30.2% remain without sanitation
services. Only 47% of these slums have a hospital within 1km and 30.2% remain without sanitation

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Profile of our target communities

Over the years, Leaders’ Quest and CORO have targeted fellows from the most marginalised communities to work on issues that are relevant to their contexts. We recognise that every village, slum and society has its own set of needs and social issues to address. These issues are often ignored by top-down approaches that propose only short-term solutions to issues they perceive as important. Grassroots leaders who live and work in a particular community are best positioned to recognise the issues that matter most to their community and decide on the most effective modes of intervention to create sustainable changes and impact.

Geographic profile

Geographically, historically and politically, Maharashtra has five main regions. Our fellows have been selected from across these regions, with an increasing focus on the more deprived areas, both across the state and within each district. For classification, the following 6 areas are used by the fellowship team to divide up the fellows’ work areas:

a. Vidarbha

b. Marathwada

c. Northern Maharashtra

d. Western Maharashtra

e. Konkan

f. Mumbai

Figure 3 shows the geographical distribution of fellows from 2008-11. Marathwada, Northern Maharashtra and Vidarbha regions have a greater proportion of people living in poverty, and are the regions of highest growth for the programme.

regions have a greater proportion of people living in poverty, and are the regions of highest
regions have a greater proportion of people living in poverty, and are the regions of highest

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

N. Maharashtra 2008-09: 0 fellows 2009-10: 0 fellows 2010-11: 13 fellows Vidarbha 2008-09: 0 fellows
N. Maharashtra
2008-09: 0 fellows
2009-10: 0 fellows
2010-11: 13 fellows
Vidarbha
2008-09: 0 fellows
2009-10: 21 fellows
2010-11: 36 fellows
Marathwada
2008-09: 2 fellows
2009-10: 26 fellows
2010-11: 38 fellows
Figure 3: Geographical
distribution of fellows
Konkan
2008-09: 0 fellows
2009-10: 0 fellows
2010-11: 24 fellows
W. Maharashtra
2008-09: 4 fellows
2009-10: 16 fellows
2010-11: 25 fellows
2008-09: 4 fellows 2009-10: 16 fellows 2010-11: 25 fellows Mumbai 2008-09: 35 fellows 2009-10: 39 fellows

Mumbai 2008-09: 35 fellows 2009-10: 39 fellows 2010-11: 23 fellows

Community profile

Even within each region, there are striking differences across districts and social groups in indicators such as poverty levels and educational attainment. Our fellows are targeting their work in those areas and communities that face the most deprivation, including an increasing focus on more rural communities (see figure 4). We work with villages and slum communities that have traditionally been excluded from the areas covered by Government schemes and other NGOs. We have also been increasing our work with tribal communities across the state, which face significant deprivation.

We have also been increasing our work with tribal communities across the state, which face significant
We have also been increasing our work with tribal communities across the state, which face significant

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

141 Figure 4: Community profile 136 47% Rural communities 91 45% Slum communities 8% Tribal
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Figure 4: Community profile
136
47% Rural communities
91
45% Slum communities
8% Tribal communities
50
48
47
39
23
16
7
2
0
2008 - 09
2009 - 10
2010 - 11
Total

The villages that we focus our work in are in remote areas and usually left under-developed. They are dependent on more urbanised areas for health facilities, education services and employment. Even as the cities grow, these villages lack basic amenities such as water, sanitation, transport facilities, educational establishments and hospitals. Common problems faced include a high dropout rate from schools, alcoholism, inadequate energy resources and, most importantly, poor implementation of government schemes. Influential people like village heads, members of village councils, money lenders, landlords and the elite have a vested interest in the status quo, and fellows work with less advantaged members of the community to challenge this. Most fellows come from the same communities they work in, which enables them to build trust and work with others more effectively.

The urban slum communities we work with consist of migrant workers and face problems of congestion and lack of basic amenities. Many fellows have been working in denotified slums, where residents could face eviction at any time and are unable to officially access their entitlements. They face exploitation and often perform demeaning work at low wages. The poor environment nurtures health problems, crime and violence. There are more cases of violence against women in urban communities than rural communities, as women face a double burden of earning livelihoods and catering for the family.

Tribal communities live in the most deprived and remote areas of Maharashtra. They lack any formal education, schools, health facilities and energy. Many face profound threats from starvation, disease and poverty. They are also denied their rights to land, natural resources and forests, as governments and corporations exploit their lack of information.

Most of the fellows working in urban communities during 2008-11 were from Mumbai and Western Maharashtra, while those working with tribal communities were from the Konkan and Vidarbha regions. Most rural fellows were from Marathwada.

working with tribal communities were from the Konkan and Vidarbha regions. Most rural fellows were from
working with tribal communities were from the Konkan and Vidarbha regions. Most rural fellows were from

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

As seen in figure 5, during the period covered by this evaluation our fellows worked with a total of 393 villages and 144 urban slums during their fellowship year alone. Twelve fellows worked primarily with students in academic institutions. The fellows’ work is spreading to more and more villages as their models and approaches are refined and improved these have not been included in the figures. Figure 5 also shows the growth in the number of villages and slums our fellows have worked in over the period.

Figure 5: Number and type of communities covered

243 Villages Slums Institutions 140 60 49 35 10 4 4 4 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
243
Villages
Slums
Institutions
140
60
49
35
10
4
4
4
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11

Issue profile

We carried out focus group discussions with members of 30 of our fellows’ communities as part of our impact evaluation. The following are the most commonly noted issues, all of which are being tackled in different ways by our fellows:

Lack of local schools (in rural areas)

Lack of local health facilities

Water scarcity

Lack of sanitation facilities, particularly in fast-growing urban slums

Difficulties with public distribution system (no access to ration cards, subsidised food unavailable at the ration store)

Lack or loss of land and forest rights for housing, farming and traditional livelihoods

Domestic violence, often linked to alcohol abuse

Lack of respect for women in the community, especially when separated or widowed

Local politicians not taking up issues on behalf of the community

Lack of awareness of government schemes

 Local politicians not taking up issues on behalf of the community  Lack of awareness
 Local politicians not taking up issues on behalf of the community  Lack of awareness

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Profile of our fellows

Our fellows are representative of the communities they come from and work in, in terms of socio- economic indicators. They come from a wide range of age and educational backgrounds, as these are not a factor in selection.

Social profile

Figure 6 shows the different social groups that our fellows are made up of. The majority come themselves from more marginalised groups as defined in the Indian constitution (Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Other Backward Classes).

Figure 6: Social profile of fellows

29% 36% 17% 10%
29%
36%
17%
10%

Scheduled CastesFigure 6: Social profile of fellows 29% 36% 17% 10% Scheduled or Nomadic Tribes Other Backward

Scheduled or Nomadic Tribesprofile of fellows 29% 36% 17% 10% Scheduled Castes Other Backward Classes Religious Minorities General Classes

Other Backward Classesprofile of fellows 29% 36% 17% 10% Scheduled Castes Scheduled or Nomadic Tribes Religious Minorities General

Religious Minoritiesof fellows 29% 36% 17% 10% Scheduled Castes Scheduled or Nomadic Tribes Other Backward Classes General

General Classesof fellows 29% 36% 17% 10% Scheduled Castes Scheduled or Nomadic Tribes Other Backward Classes Religious

9%

Gender profile

We promote the selection of women who meet our fellowship criteria, given the particular challenges faced by them in Maharashtra. In the period 2008-11, 70 % of the fellows selected were women (see figure 7).

Figure 7: Gender distribution of fellows

208

Men Women 96 94 83 63 29 19 12 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 Total
Men
Women
96
94
83
63
29
19
12
2008-09
2009-10
2010-11
Total
7: Gender distribution of fellows 208 Men Women 96 94 83 63 29 19 12 2008-09
7: Gender distribution of fellows 208 Men Women 96 94 83 63 29 19 12 2008-09

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Educational profile

Our fellows are selected based on their interest, enthusiasm and capacity to engage in working for the community. They come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, as show in figure 8. 68% of the fellows in 2008-11 had no higher education, and 7% were non-literate.

Figure 8: Educational qualifications

32%

6% 7%
6%
7%

25%

28%

Non-literateFigure 8: Educational qualifications 32% 6% 7% 25% 28% Primary Secondary Graduate / Postgraduate Other

PrimaryFigure 8: Educational qualifications 32% 6% 7% 25% 28% Non-literate Secondary Graduate / Postgraduate Other

SecondaryFigure 8: Educational qualifications 32% 6% 7% 25% 28% Non-literate Primary Graduate / Postgraduate Other

Graduate / PostgraduateFigure 8: Educational qualifications 32% 6% 7% 25% 28% Non-literate Primary Secondary Other

OtherFigure 8: Educational qualifications 32% 6% 7% 25% 28% Non-literate Primary Secondary Graduate / Postgraduate

Age profile

The programme works with adults (18+), but beyond this age is not a selection factor. Fellows range in age from 18 to 57, with the largest proportion in their 20s and 30s.

Figure 9: Age of fellows

4% 2% 15% 42%
4%
2%
15%
42%

36%

18-19 yearsFigure 9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 20-29 years 30-39 years 40-49 years

20-29 yearsFigure 9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 18-19 years 30-39 years 40-49 years

30-39 yearsFigure 9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 18-19 years 20-29 years 40-49 years

40-49 yearsFigure 9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 18-19 years 20-29 years 30-39 years

50+ yearsFigure 9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 18-19 years 20-29 years 30-39 years

9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 18-19 years 20-29 years 30-39 years 40-49
9: Age of fellows 4% 2% 15% 42% 36% 18-19 years 20-29 years 30-39 years 40-49

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Purpose and Methodology of the Impact Assessment

Purpose of the impact assessment

The impact assessment summarised in this report examines the evolution and impact of the Quest Fellowship Programme in Maharashtra, India, from 2008 to 2011. It provides evidence of impact to date, together with an overview of key learning and recommendations to share with our stakeholders and help shape the future direction of our work.

The detailed objectives are as follows:

a. Evaluate the impact of the programme at different levels individual level (fellows, mentors), community level, organisational level and wider political level

b. Assess the longer-term changes and influence achieved by the programme

c. Identify good practice, key learning and recommendations for improvements to the programme

d. Identify constraints, challenges and opportunities generated by the programme

e. Generate part of the documentation of our model for future programme development

Timeframe and team

The impact assessment was carried out by Leaders’ Quest and CORO, with the help of an external evaluation consultant, Revathy Rugmini. The consultant helped develop the impact assessment methodology and tools, and trained a team from CORO to carry out the data collection. Six teams of two carried out in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with a sample group of 30 fellows, 29 mentors, 25 heads of local community-based organisations and 381 community members. The data was gathered between January and March 2012 and analysed by a team from both CORO and LQ before being compiled into this report.

Participants

Fellows, mentors and heads of CBOs

Basic data was gathered about all 302 fellows who took part in the programme in its first three years, starting in 2008. Of these, 94% (285) completed the fellowship year. Data gathered and analysed included the location and profile of each fellow, the issue they addressed, basic information about the impact and beneficiaries of their work, and a record of fellows’ progression since completing the programme.

10% of fellows from each of the 3 programme years was then selected for in-depth analysis. The sample group consisted of 30 fellows, their mentors (29), heads of their local CBOS (25) and members of their communities (381 individuals).

The sample group of fellows was selected in consultation with the CORO team to ensure it was representative of the whole (while not being statistically signficant). The selection was based on the following parameters:

of the whole (while not being statistically signficant). The selection was based on the following parameters:
of the whole (while not being statistically signficant). The selection was based on the following parameters:

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Geographical spread

Gender ratio

Area of work Rural/Urban/Tribal communities

Issue of focus (eg education, livelihoods, health)

Variety of fellows’ pathways since completing the programme

Fellows, mentors and heads of CBOs were all interviewed in depth to gather feedback on their experience of the programme, the impact it had had on themselves and on their community, how sustainable they thought this was and how they have progressed since completing the programme.

Community members

Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted in all of the sample fellows’ communities. The aim of these sessions was to collect feedback directly from the local beneficiaries to understand the local context and issues, how these issues were addressed by the fellows, and to record changes in the fellows and in the community from the locals’ perspective.

In total, 30 FGDs were organised one for each community the sample fellows worked with. 381 people took part in 25 of the FDGs (the number of participants in the other 5 was not recorded).

Approx. 351 of these participants were people who live in the community and benefit from the fellows’ work, including members of self-help groups, committees and other community groups.

Other attendees were facilitators, mentors, observers and members of the CORO team. Fellows were present in 8 of the FGDs.

Influential community members were reported present for 7 FGDs including village heads, presidents of committees, members of Gramsabhas (village political institutions) and other social groups, social workers, an ex-police chief and a teacher.

12 FGDs recorded the gender ratio of participants, with 115 women and 60 men present (an average of 2:1). Five FGDs involved women-only groups, 1 involved only men.

Participants were from all age groups and included children, adults, adolescents and elders. The profile of participants varied according to the fellow’s target beneficiaries.

Tools used for data collection

The following tools and processes were used (copies of the questionnaires and guidelines are available on request):

Database: Regular monitoring documents were used to populate a database on all fellows since 2008. This was supplemented by data on fellows’ post-fellowship activities gathered by Regional Coordinators through individual conversations.

Surveys: A series of questionnaires were used to interview each sample fellow, mentor and organisation head. A combination of both closed-ended questions (tick box format) and open-ended questions provided both quantitative and qualitative data for analysis.

Focus group discussions: These were conducted with community members in the form of open discussions, 1 to 2 hours long. They were facilitated by the field team using a checklist to help guide the discussion, collect relevant feedback and enable all those present to

field team using a checklist to help guide the discussion, collect relevant feedback and enable all
field team using a checklist to help guide the discussion, collect relevant feedback and enable all

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

participate actively. The FGDs took place in a range of locations, including community members’ homes, local schools and outside.

Areas of assessment

Information was collected and analysed in the following areas:

a. Growth: How the fellow has developed as a leader

b. Intervention: What the fellow has done to address identified issues

c. Impact: Changes brought about as a result of the fellows’ leadership and action

d. Sustainability: Post-fellowship developments at the individual (fellow) and community levels

e. Learning: Feedback and suggestions to improve programme content and management

Limitations

The analysis contains both statistical information and summaries of qualitative feedback. While analysing the content, a number of limitations were noted, which may have a bearing on the accuracy and completeness of the findings:

a. Some statistical data was incomplete. The analysis was done on all the data available.

b. Some of the qualitative responses lacked sufficient detail, while other answers were irrelevant or incoherent, possibly due to the questions being misunderstood. As the team gains experience in interviewing and carrying out evaluations, we will be able to gather higher quality data.

c. The questionnaires were felt to be repetitive. While this helped to validate the answers, it was felt that shorter surveys could be developed in future and would be welcomed by interviewees.

d. The presence of fellows during 8 of the FGDs may have influenced the participants’ answers. In general, participation in the FGDs was reported to be good, with only a couple of incidences of

interruptions and difficulties to engage with all the participants.

e. No baseline data had been gathered for either the fellows or their communities, so it was not possible to verify the changes reported against earlier data. This is being addressed as we develop our impact frameworks.

Despite these shortcomings, the consistency, coherence and logic/relevance of the responses overall, as well as the trusting relationships that exist between interviewers and interviewees, make us confident of the robustness of our conclusions.

All in-depth analysis in this report is based on the sample group of 30 fellows, 29 mentors, 25 organisation heads and their communities. Any analysis based on the total number of fellows from 2008 to 2011 is clearly noted otherwise.

and their communities. Any analysis based on the total number of fellows from 2008 to 2011
and their communities. Any analysis based on the total number of fellows from 2008 to 2011

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Impact on Participants

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

The following section describes the reported benefits of the programme for those participating directly in it: individual fellows, their mentors and heads of community-based organisations.

Impact on fellows

Starting point of fellows

All of the fellows in the sample group had relevant experience before starting the programme. In particular:

93% (28) were working with NGOs or CBOs prior to their fellowship.

All of them were active members of one or more local groups, including:

o

Women’s groups

o

Caste-based groups

o

Welfare associations

o

Cooperatives

o

Political parties

When asked the reasons why they thought they were selected for the programme:

87% (26) mentioned their capacity, knowledge and skills for working at the grassroots level (mentioning in particular communication, mobilisation and coordination skills as being important)

73% (22) thought their previous experience was a key reason for selection

63% (19) thought they were selected based in part on their commitment to the issue

Fellows’ motivation

40% (12) of the fellows began to work for the community because of their own experiences, including personal experience of harassment, suffering or denial of justice by the authorities. 80% (24) had some exposure to the issues through similar programmes, their peers and families. 20% (6) had a general interest to work with the community.

There are strong indications that those fellows who were already exposed to the issues through personal experience or the experiences of those close to them are the most highly motivated to succeed in the programme. It is therefore not surprising that such a high percentage of those selected had had this experience.

How fellows benefited from the programme

97% (29) of the fellows said that the fellowship helped them personally in the following ways:

Improved understanding of themselves

Improved understanding of the issues they are working on

Enhanced leadership skills

Expanded networks and capacities

Improved relations and roles within the family

Enhanced leadership skills  Expanded networks and capacities  Improved relations and roles within the family
Enhanced leadership skills  Expanded networks and capacities  Improved relations and roles within the family

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Reduced personal gender prejudices

Increased motivation and concentration

When asked specifically to report any major changes which happened in themselves as a result of the fellowship, the most common responses were:

Increased self-confidence

Improved communication skills

Improved capacity to deal with government officials

Deeper understanding of their own identity and purpose

Members of the fellows’ communities who took part in our FGDs also reported similar changes in the fellows personally and improvements in their ability to deal with problems and campaign for local issues:

“Jyoti (fellow) has become smarter and more confident now. She calls meetings and shares a lot of information with us. When Jyoti speaks to the authorities, she is very firm and assertive. And no, they don’t get annoyed.” (Member of fellow Jyoti Bhangare’s community, Chembur, Mumbai).

“Hamida (fellow) never used to speak much earlier, but since she started being involved in the Mahila Mandal Federation (partner organisation), she has become our source of information.” (Member of fellow Hamida Shaikh’s community, Mumbai, 1st March 2012)

100% (25) of the heads of CBOs interviewed asserted that the fellows connected to their organisations benefited from the fellowship in the following ways:

Deeper intellectual awareness of the issues facing the communities and the possible solutions

Development of confidence

Improved communication skills

In giving feedback on the training element of the programme, 100% (30) of the fellows felt that, to some or a great extent, it deepened their knowledge, confidence and understanding in all of the areas it was intended to cover (see figure 10):

Understanding themselves and their potential

Understanding the context they are working in

Improved skills for working effectively with others

Understanding the issues they are tackling

Understanding gender concepts

Developing skills for community action (communication, mobilisation, advocacy etc)

Improved social status, recognition and acceptance as a result of new skills and knowledge

advocacy etc)  Improved social status, recognition and acceptance as a result of new skills and
advocacy etc)  Improved social status, recognition and acceptance as a result of new skills and

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Figure 10: Fellows - to what extent did the training deepen your understanding in the
Figure 10: Fellows - to what extent did the training
deepen your understanding in the following areas?
27
27
27
23
23
33
33
Some extent
Great extent
73
73
73
77
77
67
67
Self
Context
Others
Issues
Gender
Skills
Social Status

Mentors also rated the impact of the training on the fellows’ leadership development (see figure 11). Again, responses were very positive, with mentors stating that fellows had benefited to some extent in nearly all the different areas of training.

Figure 11: Mentors - to what extent did the training contribute to the fellows' growth?
Figure 11: Mentors - to what extent did the training
contribute to the fellows' growth?
27
37
30
20
30
50
50
Don't know
None
Some extent
73
67
70
Great extent
63
63
50
47
Self
Context
Others
Issues
Gender
Skills
Social Status

In giving feedback about the mentoring element of the programme, 96% of fellows felt that it had deepened their understanding, at least to some extent, in the same areas as the training. Their responses can be seen in figure 12. The mentoring was assessed to be slightly less effective in developing fellows’ leadership than the training.

12. The mentoring was assessed to be slightly less effective in developing fellows’ leadership than t
12. The mentoring was assessed to be slightly less effective in developing fellows’ leadership than t

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Figure 12: Fellows - to what extent did the mentoring deepen your understanding in the following areas?

43 30 30 40 27 Don't know 47 27 None Some extent Great extent 57
43
30
30
40
27
Don't know
47
27
None
Some extent
Great extent
57
60
60
53
53
53
43
Self
Context
Others
Issues
Gender
Skills
Social
Status
Overall, 87% (26) of the fellows stated that the fellowship had fully met their expectations in the
following ways:

Increased their knowledge on specific issues

Developed their leadership skills

Provided financial assistance for their work

Enabled them to expand their impact in the community

Enabled them to mobilise the community effectively

Helped them increase people’s knowledge of issues and rights

The sample group were asked in their interviews to describe ways in which the fellowship had helped them take their work to a higher level. Their most common answers were:

Helped them to create new networks

Helped raise awareness about their work in new locations

Helped them expand their work to reach more beneficiaries

Helped them to involve stakeholders at a state or national level

Impact on fellows’ families

When asked how their participation in the programme had impacted on their families, 83% of fellows said family members had started looking more positively towards their work. Mentors also reported that their families had become more understanding and supportive of their work.

Both male and female fellows and mentors stated that the fellowship had led to more gender equality in their families, with men pitching in with the housework and women more involved in the decision-making process.

in their families, with men pitching in with the housework and women more involved in the
in their families, with men pitching in with the housework and women more involved in the

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Impact on mentors

Mentors also receive training as part of the programme, as well as an honorarium for their time spent working with fellows. 87% (26) of the mentors in the sample group were working with NGOs before becoming mentors. 10% (3) were fellows from the previous year.

97% (28) of the mentors said they had benefited personally from the programme, in the following ways:

Improved understanding of issues facing their communities

Increased self-awareness

Greater confidence

Financial support

Networking opportunities

Enhanced recognition in the community

Elimination of their own gender prejudices

100% (29) of the mentors said that the fellowship had helped them in their work, in the following ways:

Greater understanding and conceptual clarity on the issues (13)

Building their capacity to carry out their work (10)

Expanding their work (9)

Strengthening their links to the community (7)

Organisation heads reported that the mentors had benefited from developing the skills required to guide the fellows successfully, and also through the opportunities provided for self-reflection. They were able to effectively utilise the financial support provided and learn from the process.

100% of mentors found the training useful for their development: 64% to a great extent, 36% to some extent.

Mentors were also asked to describe ways in which the programme had helped them take their work to a higher level. Their most common answers were:

Expanding the reach or scope of their work

Advocating at a higher level

Networking with more people

Acting as a resource centre for others

Accessing resource persons for their own work

Allowing for continuity of their work through the work of the fellow

Accessing resource persons for their own work  Allowing for continuity of their work through the
Accessing resource persons for their own work  Allowing for continuity of their work through the

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Impact on organisations

Local community-based organisations play a key role in supporting fellows in their work and sustaining their initiatives beyond the fellowship year. We asked fellows, mentors and organisation heads how involvement in the programme had impacted on their organisations.

Fellows reported that the organisations had increased their membership and reach, developed their structures, and changed their attitudes towards social issues.

Mentors stated that the organisations had expanded their spheres of work to tackle more issues (especially gender equality and labour rights), increased their membership and gained wider recognition for their work. Many reported improvements in their working ethos and efficiency due to more resources and training material available.

Organisation heads added that the local organisations also gained new networking opportunities and developed new professional relationships.

that the local organisations also gained new networking opportunities and developed new professional relationships. 29
that the local organisations also gained new networking opportunities and developed new professional relationships. 29

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Impact on Communities

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

As part of their fellowship, all 302 fellows across the three years of the programme led initiatives to address issues identified as being of major concern in their communities. The following section provides an overview of the issues addressed, activities led by fellows and results achieved. It also looks at changes identified on a wider scale, and how sustainable the changes are thought to be.

Combating violence against women

76 fellows addressed violence against women using the Protection of Women from Domestic

Violence Act. Working with both genders through workshops and legal training, these fellows helped abused women to file official complaints with the police and liaised with the authorities to raise levels of reporting and prosecution in cases of violence against women. They worked with local

women to create self-help groups to support each other in cases of abuse and to raise awareness of women’s rights among their peers. For example:

Fellow Karuna Savle created 45 groups of women to spread information about legal implications of the Domestic Violence Act and how women can report mistreatment in their slum community near Pune.

Fellow Sheela Pawar ran a poster campaign in her Mumbai community, and trained women on the Domestic Violence Act. This led to an increase in registered cases of violence against women and improved relations with the local police.

“Women submitted a collective statement regarding sexual harassment to the collector (head ofdistrict administration). They were complaining about the police. Women were scared to take help from the police. We need to decrease the problem of sexual harassment of women.” (Member of fellow Sarika Tamshetty’s community, 19th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“She convinced us that our daughters or daughters-in-law should live in dignity.” (Member of fellow Hamida Shaikh’s community, 1st March 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Generating livelihoods

71 fellows ran projects to improve the livelihoods of marginalised communities. They provided

training and created self-help groups for women to obtain grants and loans to start their own small

businesses. The fellows also taught people about the government’s Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and secured waged work for adults in rural households. For example:

Two fellows used the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to secure work for 40 families in

2010-11.

Eight fellows helped local people to secure bank loans or government grants to start their own small businesses.

Fellow Sahadeo Shanaware in Vidarbha held rallies, training sessions and secured job cards for 56 labourers, enabling them to obtain employment (see also case study on p.52).

sessions and secured job cards for 56 labourers, enabling them to obtain employment (see also case
sessions and secured job cards for 56 labourers, enabling them to obtain employment (see also case

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Fellow Sayyad Bismilla in Marathwada helped 18 women obtain a Rs 300,000(£4300) loan to generate income by raising livestock.

Fellow Nutan Kadam in Konkan created self-help groups for local people to pool their resources and start savings schemes which empowered local women.

“We get the loan on low interest rates when needed, so we can fulfil our small needs, for that there is no need to go to banks… we can save with little fast. Initially we stayed back at the house only, now through the self-help group we came together. We get knowledge and information because of interaction with other women.” (Member of Nutan Kadam’s community, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“With the money we are saving and are able to borrow, we purchased some goats, built a well, connected taps in the villages and purchased equipment to start businesses.” “Because of her work we have started saving our money in the proper way. People get money when they need it.” (Members of fellow Nagini Survase’s community, 2 nd January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

We started saving money through the self-help group. It has helped us economically and to gain more respect from society.” (Member of fellow Jyoti Chaudhari’s community, 4 th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Empowering women

57 fellows focused on empowering women socially and politically. They increased female participation in local government, raised awareness of quotas that exist for women in local assemblies and helped women to become organised and increase their representation. The fellows also enabled women to have their names included on land titles, which have traditionally been held by men alone. For example:

39 fellows held meetings for women about governance and participation in village assemblies.

29 fellows increased women’s representation in local government within their communities.

Fellow Amol More held a conference on single women’s rights and secured government benefits for 500 widows, divorced women and pensioners in Northern Maharashtra.

“Initially our thinking was women should look after the kitchen only. Now we have also changed our minds. I support my wife’s participation in the self-help group. She is a member of the Panchayat Samiti (local government). Women are able to do bank transactions. Women come out from the home. Women attend Gramsabha (village assemblies).” (Man in fellow Shivaji Tayde’s village, 5th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“My husband used to say which candidate I should vote for, but now we give our vote to our chosen candidate.” (Woman in fellow Surekha Sonkamble’s village, 6th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“We were working in the home only, now we are also involved in work other than domestic work.” (Woman in fellow Sheela Pawar’s community, responding during a focus group discussion.)

other than domestic work.” (Woman in fellow Sheela Pawar’s community, responding during a focus group discussion.)
other than domestic work.” (Woman in fellow Sheela Pawar’s community, responding during a focus group discussion.)

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“Because of unity of women, and united efforts, women are able to create pressure on government systems.” (Member of fellow Vidya Tawade’s community, 19th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Ensuring food security

33 fellows focused on food rights, including educating people about the Public Distribution System,

the government-run food security network. The fellows formed self-help groups to encourage people living below the poverty line to apply for ration cards entitling them to subsidised food, and to challenge corrupt ration store owners. For example:

11 fellows effected improvements in the ration distribution system for local communities and 4 fellows secured ration cards for 130 people in 2010-11.

Fellow Sandip Jagtap issued 3000 ration cards to homeless people in Mumbai.

Fellow Kuldip Rathod helped establish a ration store within his tribal community in Vidarbha.

Our main problem was regarding rations: there is no ration shop in the village. We made applications, sent letters, held protest meetings, and she told thelocal news channel about our problems. Now, a shop will open.” (Member of fellow Shubhangi Lahudkar’s community, 4th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Addressing health issues

30 fellows focused on health issues including HIV & AIDS, polio, disabled groups and mental health.

The majority of these fellows concentrated on women’s health and conducted workshops on public health, formed women’s community groups, and facilitated medical check-ups for adolescent girls. They also tackled the issue of female foeticide. For example:

Two fellows, Gudasure Anuradha and Nivedita Patil, organised meetings and health camps to provide medical check-ups for 60 girls from two rural villages in Marathwada.

To tackle female foeticide, fellow Asha Karve raised awareness of the problem and convinced her village council in Western Maharashtra to stop illegal sex selection scans.

“We attended health training, where we got to know about our rights and the facilities and services provided by the government.” (Member of fellow Ashok Dubale’s community, 6th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Improving acces s to education

17 fellows concentrated on education during their fellowship year. These fellows promoted the

Right to Education Act, which entitles schoolchildren aged between 6 and 14 to a free education. Their work included forming youth groups, providing career guidance, organising rallies and holding

teachers more accountable. They also arranged parents’ meetings to encourage them to support their children’s education, particularly in the case of daughers. For example:

meetings to encourage them to support their children’s education, particularly in the case of daughers. For
meetings to encourage them to support their children’s education, particularly in the case of daughers. For

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Two fellows helped 34 children return to formal schooling during 2010-11.

Three fellows formed youth groups with a total of 95 members to provide peer support and promote the value of education.

Fellow Deepak Mukane secured scholarships for 100 children from the marginalised Katkari tribe in Western Maharashtra.

Fellow Nadira Malik helped 55 children back to school in a Mumbai slum community, and obtained scholarships for 30 girls to enter nursing college.

“My children started to go to school because of Nadira.” “She makes available different courses like tailoring, laptop repairing, mobile repairing, nursing. Through this course, 150 young girls and boys will get employment.” (Members of Nadira Malik’s community, 20th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“I realised the importance of education.” “We are also able to provide a mobile teacher in school and have made various efforts for the physically challenged students.” (Members of fellow Somnath Dahale’s community, 6th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Securing land rights

12 fellows focused on land rights. They worked to inform rural communities about the Forest Rights Act and how they can make territorial claims to forest lands within their village boundaries in order to sell timber and other products for local sustainable livelihoods. Other fellows worked on initiatives related to common use of grazing land and to protect villages affected by a dam project. For example:

Eight fellows helped communities submit claims under the Forest Rights Act in rural areas.

Fellow Vasudeo Usendi helped 26 villages to submit collective Forest Rights claims in a tribal region of Vidarbha, enabling them to legally access forest resources that are vital for their livelihoods.

Fellow Jayashri Dhanawade organised community meetings and rallies in rural Konkan that led to the government cancelling a dam project that would have adversely affected three nearby villages. The fellow created an environment where local people are now aware of their rights and able to conduct effective campaigns.

“Finally the dam was shifted to another place and the protestors won the struggle. Henceforth, the protest committee would work for other issues being felt by the village.” (Member of Jayashri Dhanawade’s community, 24th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“Sahadeo started work with these people. He made them aware regarding their forest rights. And people started to get 1,500 bamboos per year. People live with dignity. These people were known as thieves initially. But now they work with dignity, other people also respect them. Now they earn 100 to 150 rupees daily by selling things made by bamboo. Men and women both are working together in this business.” (Member of fellow Sahadeo Shanaware’s community, 7th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion. See also case study on p. 52.)

Shanaware’s community, 7th January 2012, res ponding during a focus group discussion. See also case study
Shanaware’s community, 7th January 2012, res ponding during a focus group discussion. See also case study

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Accessing basic amenities

7 fellows addressed the issue of access to basic amenities, such as provision of water and sanitation in villages and slum communities. They held exhibitions, training sessions, and filed Right to Information requests to research funds available to improve slum infrastructure. For example:

Fellow Jyoti Bhangare ran a water and sanitation public awareness campaign in her Mumbai slum community of 10,000, and lobbied local authorities for toilets, tap water and street cleaning.

Fellow Sangeeta Bhosale found out about funds for slum development, lobbied the local authorities and led meetings to inform people of their rights in the Thakare slum in western Maharashtra.

“The water problem is the main problem. We started to solve the water problem with the help of Jayprakash (fellow). We gave an application to the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) office. We also met politicians regarding the water issue. We organised meetings with community people regarding this water issue. Now we have a good group. We come together and try to solve any problem in the community.” (Member of Jayprakash Jaiswar’s community, 19th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“We gave an application to the BMC office for the construction of a drainage line and kept constant follow-up with the officers and now the community has become more hygienic.” (Member of fellow Hamida Shaikh’s community, 1st March 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

Changes identified in communities

We asked our sample group to tell us about changes they had identified in the communities as a result of the fellows’ initiatives.

Fellows gave the following answers:

Communities became more willing to take ownership of their problems

Community members participated more actively in the work of the fellow and the wider community

Women became more engaged, vocal and concerned with girls’ education

Women increased their participation in meetings and started to take action on local issues

Women gained greater respect from men in the community.

Mentors reported the following:

More people participated in the activities they led

Membership of self-help groups increased

Communities became more united, with a stronger sense of solidarity and self-reliance

Communities became more active in discussing and campaigning for their rights

People had improved knowledge of their rights and enhanced ability to file complaints with the government

rights  People had improved knowledge of their rights and enhanced ability to file complaints with
rights  People had improved knowledge of their rights and enhanced ability to file complaints with

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Organisation heads reported the following:

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Communities contributed and collaborated more with them

Community members had gained a greater understanding of their rights and duties

Community members told us:

Women are now more engaged in community affairs and are actively addressing gender inequality

They have noticed more respect for women and girls from the male population

There is a growing concern for girls’ education

People come together to tackle issues and appeal to the government

They have an increased knowledge of legal tools and social activities that can aid their development

Community members take their own initiatives and deal with the authorities independent of the fellows’ help

They feel an increased sense of pride and confidence in their identity as a social group

Wider political impact

We asked our sample group what changes they had noticed in relation to the authorities and the political arena as a result of fellows’ work in the communities. Their responses were as follows:

Increased recognition and acceptance

79% (20) of the mentors reported that fellows received recognition and acceptance of their work and their positions as social activists from the police, local political leaders and teachers. The police and local authorities in their communities had become more attentive and responsive to enquiries and provided required information. They noted a lot of support and socially committed activism from stakeholders in positions of influence in the community. Also, they had seen women increase their participation in village assemblies.

Changes in power relationships

86% (21) of the organisation heads reported positive changes in power relationships. Women were becoming empowered and were taking up positions of influence in politics and within their societies. Women were being given more consideration as equal participants. Decision-making processes were being transformed to be more deliberative and inclusive.

Changes in governance systems

Mentors reported that government officials participated in the projects as a result of effective pressure from the self-help groups set up by the fellows. Organisation heads reported that, as a result of their participation in the programme, they had more influence on government bodies and were able to secure greater collaboration with the political systems.

they had more influence on government bodies and were able to secure greater collaboration with the
they had more influence on government bodies and were able to secure greater collaboration with the

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Community members who took part in our focus group discussions reported that:

They use their voting power to put pressure on local politicians, forcing them to address local issues

Community members have earned the attention and respect of the authorities

Police and judicial authorities now take community members seriously and process their complaints in accordance with the law

Local women are actively engaged in grassroots politics and are influencing local government

Higher caste groups have become more respectful of lower caste groups and there is more social interaction between different social groups

Sustainability

Our sample group was asked whether they believed the changes triggered by the programme are sustainable.

A majority of mentors believed this to be the case, for the following reasons:

Second-line leadership was being developed by the fellows

There is increased awareness of rights and entitlements within the community

Activists are increasingly collaborating with each other

However, several noted that sustainability will depend on the post-fellowship support from local organisations and the fellowship team at CORO, as well as the fellows’ motivation to continue their work.

Mentors have also taken efforts to sustain the impact of the fellow’s work, including helping them to expand the reach of their initiatives, setting up regular meetings with stakeholders, community leadership and organisations, and recruiting other activists as secondary leadership.

96% (26) of the fellows thought the changes triggered by the programme are sustainable. One fellow felt that the changes would only be sustainable with regular monitoring.

Feedback from members of fellows’ communities shows that their work has enabled local people to create their own initiatives and sustain their impact without the need for continued guidance from the fellow.

“We work well even though Jyoti (fellow) or Minakshi (mentor) is not available. We are planning to form a self-help group of only BPL (below poverty line) members. And start a small business with the help of the Women and Child Department.” (Member of fellow Jyoti Chaudhari’s community, 4 th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“She (the fellow) has empowered us and today we can deal with a few issues on our own. We have gained in confidence. Now we can talk in front of the MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) also. Our thinking has become positive.” (Member of fellow Jyoti Bhangare’s community, Chembur, Mumbai, responding during a focus group discussion.)

(Member of fellow Jyoti Bhangare’s community, Chembur, Mumbai, responding during a focus group discussion.) 36
(Member of fellow Jyoti Bhangare’s community, Chembur, Mumbai, responding during a focus group discussion.) 36

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“We have started to implement a unique programme called Free Child Labour Campaign with the help of other organisations, journalists, police system, block authority.” (Member of fellow Somnath Dahale’s community, 6 th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

“Sunita Waghmare, Jyoti Bansode, Kanta Sone (community members) are the leaders of initiatives which were started by Laxmi Bansode (fellow) and this second-line leadership is visible because of the fellows’ efforts.” (Member of fellow Laxmi Bansode’s community, 18 th January 2012, responding during a focus group discussion.)

The strongest evidence of sustainability is provided by the actual number of fellows who’ve persisted in their efforts beyond their fellowship year. Within our sample group:

93% (28) of the fellows continue to work on the same theme or in the same area. The main efforts undertaken to sustain the impact of their work are as follows:

Regular meetings with stakeholders

Expanding the reach of their work

Training and ongoing support for stakeholders

Recruiting secondary leadership

Networking with senior activists and government officials

Organising protests, rallies and campaigns to raise awareness and promote their causes. This includes involvement in the regional campaigns organised through our programme since 2011.

77% (23) of the fellows have extended their work to issues beyond those they worked on during their fellowship. The new issues most commonly taken up are related to gender equality, women’s empowerment and domestic violence.

Evidence of fellows’ sustained community leadership is further supported by data gathered on all fellows in the programme from 2008 to 2011:

87% have taken their fellowship work further since completing the programme (249)

73% have expanded the geographical reach of their work (208)

58% have taken up additional responsibilities within their organisation (164)

20% are working for the fellowship programme as a Regional Coordinator or mentor (58)

34% are members of statutory commissions (96)

14% have set up their own organisation (39)

13% have entered politics (38)

94% of all 302 fellows who participated in the programme over the 3 years completed it. Only 17 fellows dropped out, all for personal reasons.

who participated in the programme over the 3 years completed it. Only 17 fellows dropped out,
who participated in the programme over the 3 years completed it. Only 17 fellows dropped out,

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Feedback on Programme Management and Design

Recruitment and selection

Selection of fellows

Fellows were asked to give feedback on the selection process. The elements they found positive were as follows:

Interview questions were easy to understand

Visits by the team to their organisation were helpful

The application form was detailed

Timely and clear communication during the selection process

Efforts to understand the applicant’s context and friendly atmosphere

The elements they listed as needing improvement were:

Too many repetitive questions

Logistical arrangements need improving (had to queue, no seats)

Selection of mentors

In the early years of the programme, mentors were nominated by local CBOs and did not have to undergo any specific selection process. This changed in 2011 (after the period covered by the evaluation), when selection criteria were developed in order to improve the quality and commitment of mentors.

The 29 mentors in the sample group gave the following feedback about their process of nomination:

Seven of them liked the fact that the local organisation was responsible for nominating them

Six appreciated the organisational visits carried out by the team

Two mentors felt an interview process would have been beneficial

Selection of previous fellows as mentors was seen as beneficial

One mentor felt the local organisation had not done a good job of matching the mentor to fellows

Training

Attendance

The training for both mentors and fellows consists of four training modules. 80% (24) of the fellows in the sample group attended all 4 training sessions. A further 10% (3 fellows) attended 3 training sessions and 97% (29) of the fellows attended at least 2 training sessions.

55% (16) of the mentors attended all 4 training sessions. A further 24% (7) mentors attended 3 training sessions and in total 93% (27) attended at least 2 sessions. It is not clear from the evaluation whether those who attended fewer sessions were less effective in their work.

It is not clear from the evaluation whether those who attended fewer sessions were less effective
It is not clear from the evaluation whether those who attended fewer sessions were less effective

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Satisfaction

100% of the fellows rated the content of the training as either good or excellent. Figure 13 shows that 97% rated the quality of resource persons, 93% rated the training materials, 90% rated the methodology and 86% rated the logistics as either good or excellent. Fellows commented that training sessions were interesting and well presented.

Figure 13: Fellows' assessment of the training 50 46 40 43 53 Average Good 53
Figure 13: Fellows' assessment of the training
50
46
40
43
53
Average
Good
53
50
50
Excellent
46
33
Materials
Content
Resource
Methodology
Logistics
Persons

All of these fellows said they completed the assignments given to them as part of the training. The assignments were found to be useful for practical application of their learning, understanding the context and issues, research, planning, developing methodologies and recording data.

96% of the mentors rated the content of the training as either good or excellent. Figure 14 shows that 89% rated the logistics, 85% rated the methodology, 78% rated the resource persons and 75% rated the training materials as either good or excellent. Mentors commented that the trainings were participatory and interesting and followed a simple methodology. They found the discussions on organisational case studies particularly helpful. However, they reported that the training on communication skills was not effective and suggested that bringing other stakeholders into the training sessions could be useful.

Figure 14: Mentors' assessment of the training

71 43 64 57 36 46 39 25 21 21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource
71
43
64
57
36
46
39
25
21
21
Logistics
Materials
Content
Methodology
Resource

Persons

Don't know43 64 57 36 46 39 25 21 21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource Persons Average

Average64 57 36 46 39 25 21 21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource Persons Don't know

Good57 36 46 39 25 21 21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource Persons Don't know Average

Excellent64 57 36 46 39 25 21 21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource Persons Don't know

21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource Persons Don't know Average Good Excellent 39
21 Logistics Materials Content Methodology Resource Persons Don't know Average Good Excellent 39

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Mentoring

Mentors play a key role in supporting fellows in applying their learning and implementing their projects. The expectation is for mentors and fellows to meet at least monthly throughout the year. In fact, most mentors in the sample group exceeded this expectation, as recorded by both fellows and mentors. This is made easier by the fact that mentors usually come from the same organisation as the fellows.

83% (25) of the fellows stated that they met their mentors at least monthly

20% (6) met daily

40% (12) met weekly

13% (4) met fortnightly

10% (3) met monthly

13% (4) met as and when needed

3% (1) met never

When the mentors were asked the same question, 97% (28) of them stated that they met their fellows at least monthly. The breakdown they gave was as follows:

28% (8) met daily

55% (16) met weekly

10% (3) met fortnightly

3% (1) met monthly

3% (1) met as and when needed

The discrepancy in answers between fellows and mentors is due to the self-reported nature of the feedback.

Support received and satisfaction

Fellows and mentors were asked to define the role of the mentor in the programme. Their responses are recorded in figure 15.

Figure 15: Role of the mentor

Fellow response Mentor response
Fellow response
Mentor response
Their responses are recorded in figure 15. Figure 15: Role of the mentor Fellow response Mentor
Their responses are recorded in figure 15. Figure 15: Role of the mentor Fellow response Mentor

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Mentors gave more details about the type of support provided to their fellows, as follows:

Support with strategic planning

Documenting and reporting

Improving understanding of issues and context

Sharing experience and networks

Support with field work or assignments

Support with legal or political procedures

General support and guidance

The fellows were asked to record whether the mentoring met their expectations in the specific areas of support, as shown in figure 16.

100

80

60

40

20

0

Figure 16: Were expectations met?

100

79 80 75 67 67 General Assignments Issues / Strategic Experiences Legal / support context
79
80
75
67
67
General
Assignments
Issues /
Strategic
Experiences
Legal /
support
context
planning
Political

Type of support

93% (28) of the fellows were satisfied with the type of mentoring offered to them: 57% (17) were satisfied to a great extent and 37% (11) were satisfied to some extent. 7% (2) were not satisfied.

Reasons stated by fellows for not being fully satisfied with the mentoring included:

Insufficient time given to the fellow

Limited face-to-face interaction due to geographical distance

Irregular interaction due to mentor’s workload

Lack of mentor/fellow communication

One fellow stated that their mentor hindered progress.

Organisational support

Institutional support for fellows’ work is seen as an important element of the programme, helping fellows to successfully complete the fellowship and sustain their work afterwards. The sample group were asked to evaluate the support provided to them by both the central programme team at CORO and the heads of their organisations.

evaluate the support provided to them by both the central programme team at CORO and the
evaluate the support provided to them by both the central programme team at CORO and the

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93% (28) of the fellows were supported in completing their assignments: 90% (27) were assisted by their mentors, 47% (14) were assisted by the CORO team and 27% (8) were assisted by the heads of their organisations. Only 2 fellows completed their assignments independently.

All sample fellows received support from their organisation in the following areas:

o

Practical support for their fellowship activities: implementation, community engagement and political procedures

o

General guidance and support

o

Technical support

93% (28) said they received support from the fellowship team at CORO in the following areas:

o

Gathering information

o

Conducting research

o

Planning their work

o

Completing assignments

o

Appealing to government authorities

60% (18) of the fellows said they were able to leverage other resources for their fellowship, as follows:

o

Human resources (11)

o

Financial and material resources (5)

o

Training resources (3)

Mentors also rated the support received from their organisations and from the CORO team.

Support from their organisations was rated positively in the following areas:

o

Resource base for their work

o

Assistance with planning and implementation of fellowship activities

o

Assistance with administrative tasks

o

Training

o

Needs-based support

Support received from the CORO team was rated positively by mentors in the following areas:

o

Regular communication and cooperation

o

Assistance with specific needs (networking, resources, and information)

Four mentors gave negative feedback regarding the level of support from the fellowship team at CORO, citing a lack of communication and cooperation.

59% (17) of the mentors were able to leverage other resources, as follows:

o

Human resources (7)

o

Government and NGO materials (4)

were able to leverage other resources, as follows: o Human resources (7) o Government and NGO
were able to leverage other resources, as follows: o Human resources (7) o Government and NGO

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© Leaders’ Quest/CORO 2012

o

Financial resources (3)

o

Networking (3)

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

Financial support

Both fellows and mentors receive a small honorarium to compensate them for their time spent on the programme. The level has been set so that lack of funds is not a barrier to participation, while aiming to prevent individuals from becoming dependent on the funds for their livelihoods. Fellows also receive a small amount of project funding for their community initiatives. Fellows, mentors and organisation heads in the sample group were all asked to rate their satisfaction with the financial support offered.

Only two fellows said they were satisfied with the financial support they received: 19 fellows felt that the fellows’ honorarium should be increased, eight thought the project funds should be increased and two thought these funds should be distributed at the beginning of the year. Other suggestions included reimbursing travel expenses and increasing the mentorshonorarium.

Five mentors said they were satisfied with the financial support they received: 9 thought both fellows’ and mentors’ honorariums should be increased, 5 thought the project funds are insufficient and 3 thought only the fellows’ honorarium should be increased. Like fellows, mentors also asked for travel expenses to be reimbursed. They also noted that the distribution of funds could be improved.

21% (4) of the organisation heads said they believed the financial support given to fellows is too high. One expressed a concern that providing a financial incentive could demotivate fellows from working for the sole benefit of the communities.

General feedback

87% (26) of the fellows gave positive overall feedback about the programme, singling out the following points as particularly noteworthy:

The programme is a unique opportunity to develop leadership and activism at the grassroots level

The programme is open to applicants regardless of their educational background

The fellows can choose their own issues of focus and they can work from within marginalised communities

The training and practical field experience are helpful

The rights-based approach is beneficial

77% (23) of the mentors gave positive overall feedback, noting the following:

The programme builds leadership from the grassroots with the active participation of the communities themselves

The programme can help create social change at a larger level

active participation of the communities themselves  The programme can help create social change at a
active participation of the communities themselves  The programme can help create social change at a

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70% of fellows and 60% of their mentors thought that the training (structure, content and method) was the best feature of the programme.

Organisation heads listed the following as the best features of the programme:

Networking with organisations and other grassroots activists

Training

Building leadership at the grassroots level

Development of leadership skills

Fellows’ freedom to choose their issue of focus

Challenges encountered

Fellows, mentors and organisation heads in the sample group noted the following challenges encountered in their work:

Power dynamics and political interference

Challenging interactions with political and legal systems and personnel

Gender-based predispositions

A lack of adequate contextual information

Crime and corruption

Difficulties in communicating with key stakeholders

Additional challenges mentioned by fellows only were of a more personal nature and included family and social hindrances and lack of trust and confidence.

Mentor-specific challenges concerned difficulties with fellow/mentor communication and implementing ideas.

Challenges mentioned by organisation heads only included a lack of community/social cooperation and difficulties with time management. Three organisation heads additionally mentioned that working with the fellowship programme team at CORO was a challenge.

Improvements suggested

The following section lists the main feedback provided by the sample group of fellows, mentors and organisation heads in order to improve the programme in future.

1) Extend the duration of the fellowship Fellows, mentors and organisation heads believe that the one-year fellowship is too short. Mentors and organisation heads point to the challenge of effective time management and lack of sustainability with a one-year programme. Mentors recommended developing a longer-term plan for follow-up with fellows.

sustainability with a one-year programme. Mentors recommended developing a longer-term plan for follow-up with fellows. 44
sustainability with a one-year programme. Mentors recommended developing a longer-term plan for follow-up with fellows. 44

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2) Improve the training of fellows and mentors

Add more issue-based content and training on legal/government schemes

Provide more practical activities and training in project implementation

Use clearer language and different local languages

Promote discussions between fellows (current and previous)

Reduce the size of the training groups

Deliver separate trainings for mentors and fellows

Improve the distribution of training material

Reduce the number of training sessions

Provide more training for mentors on their role and how to manage fellows

3) Improve the mentoring system

Improve the training for mentors

Create a tougher selection process for mentors

Encourage mentors to dedicate sufficient time to their role

Improve fellow/mentor relationships

Select more helpful and supportive mentors

Allocate more fellows to each mentor

Organise district-level meetings for mentors

4) Review the financial support As stated above, whereas fellows and mentors believe the level of financial support they receive should be increased, not all organisation heads agree.

5) Improve communication and support at all levels

Increase contact and support from the Regional Coordinators and central programme team at CORO for both fellows and mentors

Improve follow-up by the team on project implementation and assignments

Improve mentorscommunication with fellows

Improve networking with organisations at regional and state levels

Improve communication/cooperation between CORO team and organisation heads

Facilitate twice-yearly meetings between organisation heads

6) Create more networking/cooperation opportunities for fellows Both fellows and mentors stated that fellows would benefit from more networking opportunities and collaboration with other leaders and organisations at higher levels (regional and state levels). Organisation heads noted that fellows would benefit from opportunities to work as part of a wider movement of grassroots activists in order to achieve collective impact.

from opportunities to work as part of a wider movement of grassroots activists in order to
from opportunities to work as part of a wider movement of grassroots activists in order to

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Feedback from external evaluator

The following observations were noted by the external consultant, Revathy Rugmini, during her work with the team in carrying out the evaluation.

Strengths and weaknesses of programme management

1) Team

Committed and energetic team the staff have grown along with the programme and assumed multiple roles; excellent continuity of the team (low staff turnover) and excellent team work.

Capacity-building training and space for independent working have improved the skills of the team.

The team, in particular the Regional Coordinators, plays an important role in motivating fellows to sustain their initiatives.

Good understanding among the team of rights-based approaches, but limited exposure to programmes of similar nature.

2) Management systems

Systematic planning in place and willingness to incorporate changes according to feedback and learning.

A lot of monitoring information is gathered and available through written documents, but without proper analysis and feedback mechanisms in place.

Field visits are carried out by the team according to need, rather than according to a planned schedule of monitoring visits and reporting systems.

There is no final report by the fellow against their original plan for the year.

3) Collaboration

The programme recognises the contribution of the small community-based organisations that form the support networks for the programme.

Close collaboration with local organisations has enabled the efforts of the fellows to be sustained, the geographical and thematic expansion of the programme, and a strengthening of local networks.

Limited role of the heads of the local organisations this could be enhanced.

4) Sustainability

The one-year fellowship period is limited, and sustainability planning is still in its early stages.

Follow-up work has begun in the third year (2010-11) through issue-focused regional networks.

Key learning points

The programme has given an opportunity to really oppressed and suppressed communities such as Dalits. Fellows from these communities can overcome their identity crisis through the kind of training offered by the programme. Providing the right kind of inputs together

identity crisis through the kind of training offered by the programme. Providing the right kind of
identity crisis through the kind of training offered by the programme. Providing the right kind of

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with proper support can clearly result in attitudinal changes among the individuals with whom the programme has worked.

Adapting to needs identified and incorporating changes in the training content and methodology over a period of three years has added value to the programme and its effectiveness in developing leaders (this is clear from the feedback from both fellows and mentors).

Even though the fellowship support is limited to a short period of one year, it has generated great momentum and been able to extend to a wide range of target communities and many micro-level issues which have not been addressed in other development programmes. However, it is worth considering whether to extend the fellowship period in order to prioritise some of the key issues.

The fellows have taken a wide variety of paths following the fellowship year, without much formal follow-up from the team. If properly guided, the progression of the fellows could become more visible as well as more effective.

Collective action is essential in rights-based approaches (RBAs). Understanding this has resulted in facilitating regional networks/ campaigns based on the prioritised need of each region (this has been a key achievement since 2011).

The continuity of the programme management team has contributed to ensuring the quality of the fellowship programme.

The streamlining of the selection process over a period of three years has helped to identify fellows with commitment, expanding the reach of the programme as well as addressing many micro-level issues. Many fellows have expressed that the capacity-building and the self-reflection start from the selection process itself.

A lot of work has been done, but has not been documented well, especially the processes adopted by the fellows at the grassroots level. The issue of process documentation has to be taken up by the programme management team and can form part of the knowledge bank for the programme in future.

Recommendations

The programme should develop its documentation in order to become a resource centre or virtual platform for providing information, technical guidance and best practice in the development of grassroots leadership.

A quality assurance framework should be designed for the programme, not only to track progress, but also to provide a structure for planning advanced strategies and approaches.

The programme has to place more emphasis on advocacy and networking to bring more visibility to its work and lobby the system in order to influence policies. This will be one way for the programme to strengthen partnerships with local organisations and maintain support for the fellows of previous years. This will also help to contribute to the leadership building process.

The programme has to explore and establish more linkages with a variety of stakeholders by mapping them out at the beginning of the fellowship support. This will help in accessing services as well as resource mobilisation.

out at the beginning of the fellowship support. This will help in accessing services as well
out at the beginning of the fellowship support. This will help in accessing services as well

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Key Achievements and Recommendations

Key achievements

Overall, there is a high level of satisfaction with the training, mentoring and support provided by the programme. Of these, the quality of the training is the most highly rated element.

The quality of the programme inputs is evidenced by the low dropout rate of fellows, as well as by the high number who continue their initiatives following the fellowship year.

The fellows’ personal motivation is an important contributing factor in the success of their fellowship; quality selection processes have helped to select fellows who fulfil this requirement.

The programme inputs are having a positive impact on the fellows’ levels of confidence, knowledge and skills.

The skills and knowledge developed by the fellows are seen as useful and relevant to the work they are doing in their communities.

Fellows are achieving concrete results through their community initiatives during the fellowship year. Community members in 537 disadvantaged rural, tribal and urban slum communities have benefited from the work of the fellows.

Some signs are already pointing to the kind of changes that will enable us to achieve our longer-term goals. These include evidence of changing gender attitudes, women reporting greater participation in community affairs, community members being more aware of their rights, and marginalised fellows reporting greater levels of respect and influence in their dealings with officials.

The fellows’ impact is being sustained as a high proportion continue and expand their initiatives beyond the fellowship year and remain involved in the networks and collective action established by the programme. Second-tier leadership has also been successfully established by fellows in many of their communities.

Collaboration with local, community-based organisations has been an important factor in supporting and sustaining the fellows’ work and has enabled the organisations themselves to strengthen their capacity and networks.

A high-quality, effective programme management team has been built. The continuity and increasing expertise of this team has greatly benefited the programme.

Key learning and recommendations

Selection of fellows and issues

The most successful fellows are motivated by their personal experience to address particular community issues. Fellows greatly value the opportunity to select these issues in consultation with communities and this is a successful approach: a wide number of highly relevant issues are being addressed, reflecting the multiple development needs of the communities where the fellows work. This approach, however, creates a challenge when aggregating the impact of the fellows’ work and

the fellows work. This approach, however, creates a challenge when aggregating the impact of the fellows’
the fellows work. This approach, however, creates a challenge when aggregating the impact of the fellows’

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

building collective expertise in addressing specific issues. In 2012, we are selecting more fellows whose personal interests are aligned with those gaining traction across the programme through our collective experience, networks and campaigns.

Programme inputs

The design of the programme appears to be working well. However, key elements including training content and delivery, the role of mentors and level of financial support can be further improved to increase impact and efficiency. Improved selection and training of mentors has already been implemented in 2011-12 in order to address the variable quality of mentoring seen earlier.

Additional support

Many stakeholders have stated that one year is too short a period for the fellowship, and that longer-term support is necessary for the fellows’ projects to mature, become more entrenched in the community, and grow in visibility and influence. This is an important area for development, and is being addressed partly through the campaigning work introduced since 2011, which provides opportunities for both current and former fellows to continue to work together. In 2012, we are also starting an advanced fellowship programme in order to continue to support a smaller number of fellows identified as having the greatest potential to take their leadership further.

Collective action

Greater opportunities for collective action will both build our expertise in certain key issues and enable fellows to increase their influence at a policy level. This is already being addressed since 2011 through setting up campaign networks to address regional issues such as access to water, forest rights and female foeticide.

Collaboration with organisations

Heads of the community-based organisations we work with are supportive of the programme and in many cases would like to be more involved. Working more closely with these organisations will have the added benefit of improving ongoing local support to fellows’ initiatives. Where possible, we are selecting fellows from the same organisations over multiple years, in order to build critical mass and capacity within those organisations through the fellows. We have also started to involve these organisations more deeply in our campaign networks and, in 2012-13, we are planning a series of organisational capacity-building workshops.

Evaluating and documenting our impact

While we know that fellows are having an impact on the issues they are addressing in the communities, our monitoring and evaluation systems need to be improved in order to capture this more effectively. We need to improve the way we measure outputs and align our impact assessment more closely with our overall vision for change. We also need to document our processes and model in order to assure the quality of the programme and build up a knowledge base which can be shared with others. Both these initiatives are being launched in late 2012.

and build up a knowledge base which can be shared with others. Both these initiatives are
and build up a knowledge base which can be shared with others. Both these initiatives are

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Case Studies

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

How Laxmi improved the living conditions of 500 marginalised families and empowered destitute women to start their own enterprises

Laxmi’s fellowship, which began in 2009, gave her the chance to research government entitlements to improve the social standing and living conditions of 75 local Dalit (Scheduled Caste) families, often discriminated against in Indian society. Their neighbourhood has no government clinic and corruption is present at the ration-distribution shop, depriving them of free healthcare and subsidised food. With only one well to draw from, there is an acute shortage of drinking water and insufficient sanitation facilities. Laxmi’s findings helped her to initiate programmes and form self- help groups (SHGs) to educate people about official schemes which would help them get IDs, secure benefits, and apply for housing for the poor, financial support for the orphaned, disabled and widowed, and pensions for the elderly.

Laxmi began her work by building strong relationships within seven local communities and by getting in touch with other social workers tackling key issues. With her help, people got together to claim their right to make use of the public area in their slum neighbourhood. Laxmi also helped 14 destitute families obtain housing, and 82 women access government pensions, on the basis of their poor living conditions. Her work on rights and entitlements ultimately reached 500 marginalised families in the slums. She also advocated for municipal authorities to address the sanitation issue and provide safe drinking water. To ensure others would benefit from her work, she helped her organisation set up 150 SHGs to teach women how to start their own enterprises.

Before she started her fellowship, Laxmi’s personal experience of exclusion and harassment had led her to work with an NGO addressing the maltreatment of marginalised persons. She became passionate about empowering others and was actively involved in welfare and women’s associations.

Despite initial opposition from her in-laws, Laxmi was the first woman in her family to break free from the domestic role always assigned to women. Her work has inspired others in a similar position to seek work, start new ventures and talk to young girls about the power of education.

Laxmi believes that she is now better equipped to understand her community’s plight and how to counter gender-based discrimination. She says: “Women have become aware of their rights and are raising their voices against flawed bureaucratic systems. They are now participating in local governance”.

When her fellowship year drew to a close, Laxmi used her contacts to obtain financial support and guidance to continue her work. She now supports the 15 second-tier young leaders whom she trained, and has founded an organisation to extend the geographical reach of her activities. She continues to motivate her community, and many of its young women are coming forward to follow her lead.

activities. She continues to motivate her community, and many of its young women are coming forward
activities. She continues to motivate her community, and many of its young women are coming forward

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

How Deepak got 95% of marginalised community children back to school, and improved the livelihoods of three quarters of local village families

Deepak became a Quest Fellow in 2010, and immediately set about helping deprived households in his local community of three villages. In Deepak’s tribal community, people traditionally rely on local resources and fishing for their livelihoods, but vested interests have denied them access to the land they need to support themselves. As a result, over 90% of them own no land at all, and are dependent on wage labour to earn a meagre living. With only low-paid jobs available, parents tend to undervalue their children’s education, reducing the employment prospects of the next generation.

Deepak helped 30 people claim housing entitlements, and another 10 apply for fishing licences under laws that give land rights and resources to indigenous communities. He worked with 14 villagers to initiate a sustainable bee-keeping enterprise, obtained funds towards a village water tank, and helped a women’s association to borrow Rs 420,000 (£4,860) to finance much-needed projects. His mentor, Rajaram Chikane, says: “Deepak’s fellowship has empowered women within their families and in financial matters.”

Deepak went on to secure scholarships for 95% of local children and encourage them to attend school regularly, thereby giving the next generation a chance to continue current moves towards social inclusion. He also enabled 60 people to benefit from the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which ensures reasonably paid jobs during lean periods. Finally, by encouraging local people to assert their political rights, he facilitated the election of a local representative.

Deepak was brought up in extreme poverty and walked over 6 miles every day to the nearest school until he had completed his secondary education. Growing up, he experienced social exclusion and harassment. As a tribal member, he lacked the necessary identity documents to register as a police trainee, so he abandoned his dream of joining the force. Determined not to let others experience similar difficulties, he organised tribal certificates for 25 of his peers through a local NGO. As a clear indicator of his leadership potential, this helped him qualify as a Quest Fellow.

To the locals, Deepak is now known as Police Patil (police chief), a nickname which underlines his role as a protector of people’s rights. He feels he has gained a far better understanding of local issues, and this has strengthened his relationships with his family and the community.

Now that his fellowship year is over, Deepak continues to support the four second-tier grassroots leaders whom he trained, and is working with several other social programmes. He is in the process of setting up a local federation of women and has organised a protest to mobilise people to acquire much-needed fishing licences. He still supports his community and influences political decisions, particularly in the crucial area of land rights and local resources.

his community and influences political decisions, particularly in the crucial area of land rights and local
his community and influences political decisions, particularly in the crucial area of land rights and local

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Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

How Sahadeo helped over 200 Basod families treble their earnings from local crafts

In 2010, Sahadeo Shanaware used his Quest Fellowship advocacy training to secure government subsidies for local Basod craftsmen, improve their access to clean water and help them organise a union to tackle challenges with a united front.

The Basods are traditional craftsmen who earn their livelihood by making and selling bamboo items at the local market. Using his social rights experience, Sahadeo undertook community-based research and discovered that their access to raw product was being limited by a conservation project, resulting in threatened livelihoods and an increase in unemployment.

Working with his mentor, he organised the Basod Kamgar Union, which now has a membership of 225 families. One of the union’s first actions was to organise for each family to plant 25 bamboo plants, to comply with conservation rules and contribute to forest regeneration. Sahadeo went on to secure forest product cards for the families so they could claim their allowance of 1500 subsidised bamboo stems, and this boosted their daily income by an incredible 300% (from 30-40 to 100-200 rupees per day), thus lifting them out of the critical poverty zone.

By the end of his fellowship year, Sahadeo had grown into an experienced community leader and had gained the trust of the forest management authorities. He’d increased union membership and geographical outreach and established links with India’s national labour council. He also secured funds to buy equipment and created a self-help group to help with funding applications and increase bamboo business profits.

Most importantly, his efforts mean the government now recognises the Basod community’s right to a livelihood based on traditional bamboo crafts. The Basods themselves are now fully aware of their rights and are currently working on schemes to improve sanitation and local roads.

Sahadeo has spent the last decade working to defend the rights of the Basods. Having grown up in a nomadic tribal community himself, he understands the challenges that traditional communities face. “Some people think their position in society is down to bad luck,” says Sahadeo. “I don’t agree with that.”

“Some people think their position in society is down to bad luck,” says Sahadeo. “I don’t
“Some people think their position in society is down to bad luck,” says Sahadeo. “I don’t
“Some people think their position in society is down to bad luck,” says Sahadeo. “I don’t

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References

Quest Fellowship Programme Impact Report 2008-2011

i Government of India, Planning Commission Report, 2010: http://planningcommission.gov.in/reports/genrep/rep_pov.pdf

ii UNICEF, MGDs States of India report, 2008: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

iii Government of India, Planning Commission Study, 2005:

iv Centre for Media Studies (CMS) and Transparency International India (TII), India Corruption Study, 2010:

v United Nations, MDG indicators, 2012: http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Data.aspx

vi Election Commission of India, Statistical Report on the General Elections, 2009 to legislative assembly of Maharashtra:

vii United Nations Population Fund Report, 2005

viii National Crime Records Bureau in India, 2010

ix Minority Rights Group International, State of the World’s Minorities 2008 - India:

x Government of India, Census of India 2011

xi Government of India, Census of India 2011

xii Government of India, Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation, National Buildings Organisation, Report of the Committee on Slum Statistics/Census, 2011

xiii Government of India, Planning Commission Report, 2010:

xiv Swaminathan, Computed from Government of India, 2007

xv Government of Maharashtra, 65 th round of National Sample Survey, 2009:

65 t h round of National Sample Survey, 2009: http://mahades.maharashtra.gov.in/files/report/nss_65_0.21.pdf 53
65 t h round of National Sample Survey, 2009: http://mahades.maharashtra.gov.in/files/report/nss_65_0.21.pdf 53

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