What is our impact? How has our work made a difference? Development organisations often ask themselves these questions. Over the years Atma has been assessing its work and impact through internally developed tools. However, in a bid to dig deeper, Atma recently piloted an impact assessment tool called Most Significant Change (MSC). This process involves collecting stories of change experienced by beneficiaries through interviews or discussions.
To pilot this technique Atma chose one partner organisation -Bright Future. With the help of an external MSC consultant- Ms. Andrea Farley, Atma interviewed the various stakeholders involved in the Atma- Bright Future partnership- Bright Future founder, program director, program officer, Atma partnership manager. The stories of change collected were then evaluated by an external panel to choose the Most Significant Change story. This story represents all the changes that Atma has helped bring about in Bright Future.
Nilofer Jailor (Program Officer, Bright Future - Atma portfolio)
“I completed my M.A in psychology in 2009 and I came to NRI (Bright Future)* in 2011- Kishor selected me to work on their school program which was called Bright Future. At that point of time we had only a vague idea about what we wanted to do -something in the area of career guidance and support. We planned our program accordingly, but at that time we only did career awareness sessions with students.
There were no real processes or structures in place before Atma. After Atma began to work with us in July 2012 we realised the importance of processes, documentation, reporting- Atma gave us a clear direction, more structure and helped with planning. Our program is now whole and strong and aimed at well-rounded development of children.
Now we are not just working with students- but also their teachers, parents, principals and the community. We are much more focused on outcomes now- for me quality of our programs is very important- no matter how many students I work with- 500 or 900 the quality of delivery should remain the same.
I have a lot of tasks at Bright Future- conducting life skills sessions, counselling, career guidance sessions, coordinating mentor meetings, parents meeting etc. which I found difficult to manage earlier. But I have now learnt how to manage my time and tasks. I have started prioritizing my work which has helped me to cope with my workload.
All the Atma volunteers who have come to Bright Future have been wonderful- they have been very involved in not only their work but have also taken the effort to interact with our students.
Maude was one such volunteer who came to work with us. She took all of our inputs and then creatively put together a great module. In fact both- the bright future and mentoring- modules have made my life very easy.
Today we can confidently speak about our programs to schools and parents. We just got permission to work with a school called Shivaji Vidyalaya where we will be working with 180 students from 9th standard. Hopefully by the end of this year we will have added two more schools. Last week we also launched our mentorship program with 40 engineering students and 7 mentors which is a major achievement for us.
The biggest change for me personally has been the improvement in my communication skills. When Atma sent its first volunteer to us- Tom- all of us had to work on our language because he obviously could not understand Hindi. I am so thankful to Atma for this as these interactions with foreign volunteers have helped me gain my self- confidence. All the changes that Atma has brought- the monthly planning, progress reports, documentation- have brought so much more structure to Bright Future.
All of this together has brought about a change in me- I find myself becoming stronger every day. Now wherever I go I ask people- friends, family or acquaintances to engage with Bright Future- whether as mentors or through funding. I don’t hesitate to speak to anyone about us. I can now wake up from my sleep even and talk about Bright Future. This organisation is in my head, my heart and just about everywhere.”
*Bright Future was previously called New Resolution India (NRI).
(L-R: Nilofer with Atma Volunteer and with Bright Future student at their Independence day celebration)
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