Lessons learnt

Need to improve the model of volunteer engagement 

Till date, over 250 volunteers have enrolled on the Alumni Programme. We know that practically this number will not be very high because of other priorities and circles of influence in the life of men. If we want to develop community leaders, then we should at least have more than 30% of the graduates to participate on regular basis. There are certain programme cycles when we have achieved this target but it isn’t consistent at this point. 

Also, one of the major lessons learnt within this point is that at this stage, ‘empowering men’ aspect is under developed within the AP curriculum. We need to further develop modules and activities that empower women but also cater to development needs of adolescents so that they see the value of it, participate in it and benefit from it. 

The model of the Alumni Programme needs to be improved further to:

(i) Increase the number of graduates who enrol to become volunteers.

(ii) Reduce the dropout rate amongst current volunteers.  

(iii) Convert active participation into sustained leadership

The team is currently working on addressing these three points.


Need to reduce cost per beneficiary

In the next 8-10 months, this will be one of the top priorities of our team. We focus on maintaining high quality standards when it comes to design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Action for Equality Programme. As it is an action – research programme, the amount of resources we spend on the programme are also high. Based on the experience of about three years and feedback from a few stakeholders, we recognise that we need to reduce the cost per beneficiary. The main reasons for that being:

(i) For the EMEW (Empowering Men to Empower Men) approach to reach its potential we need to have programmes like AfE that can be easily replicated. Cost and resources required to implement these programme become a major deciding factor in whether the programme will be adopted or not.

(ii) In future, we aim to scale Action for Equality or a version of it nationally. If the programme is expensive, it reduces feasibility for it to be replicated. 

(iii) The cost of AfE in comparison to the other (similar or education related) programmes is much higher, making it even more difficult to identify partners and investors.

As an organisation, we are at a stage where the programme is running smoothly. We are continuously learning from the field. We can afford to spend time on developing and testing solutions without letting the operations or the quality of the programme get affected drastically and reduce the cost per beneficiaries.


Need to improve monitoring and evaluation framework

As a part of outcome assessment, interviewing mothers or women associated with the graduates has been the only method adopted by us. Based on the information provided by women who participate in the outcome assessment interviews, we attribute the change in men to Action for Equality Programme. But, the fact is that there can be and are more factors influencing this behaviour change. So, this attribution is not always right.  The method of data collection from outcome assessment interviews is good for anecdotal evidence but is weak in terms of quantitative analysis. 

There are some other gaps in the monitoring and evaluation framework as mentioned below:

(i) The monitoring data from Alumni Programme is not effectively captured

(ii) The framework doesn’t form a clear connection between input, output and outcome indicators. As a result, triangulation of data is not possible

(iii) The monitoring data is captured but not being analysed effectively 

The team working on monitoring and evaluation will work on addressing the challenges mentioned above to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation framework. A staged approach will be taken as per the points given below:

(i) Focus on gathering ‘monitoring data’ and develop tools to analyse it over the next 6 months

(ii) Continue to conduct interviews with a sample size of 10-15 women per cycle to gather anecdotal evidence

(iii) Conduct a series of community engagement activities parallel to capturing monitoring data

(iv) Based on community engagement conduct influence mapping exercise 

(v) Develop indicators based on stakeholder feedback

(vi) Develop  M&E  framework and tools that includes a tested solutions to fill the gaps mentioned above.