The risk of being 13


Bhojpur. 6.14 a.m.
“When you are born and survive as a girl, you have already taken a risk. I take risks every day by not thinking about the future, by thinking I will come back to school tomorrow to read stories with my friends, I take risks because I know anyone at anytime could stop me.” Anshu, age 13


Bhojpur is waking up to tinkling cow bells and a sleepy farmer is walking towards his cattle. His unhurried footsteps are no match for the pair of flip-flops that fly past him, school bag spilling open, papers fluttering and a white dupatta struggling to escape – waving in the wake of a running girl.
6.15 a.m. Anshu is late for her coaching class. She knows her teacher must have already begun talking about the rise of the grand Mughal empire and she doesn’t want to miss it. Once, with her family, she had travelled to Delhi where she saw fort ruins, they were giant. The largest and oldest thing she had seen until then was the 200 year-old banyan tree that stood behind her school. Her mind is wandering again, slowing her down she scolds herself. She has to focus on running. But harvest season has begun so she has to help around her house. Help her mother and her aunts bring in the grain, help her brothers pack it into big sacks and store it around the house. She has been asked to stay back from school and help – not just today, but many days.
Anshu’s father lives in Jaipur and so she’s been left in charge of being responsible and taking action- addingweight and force to her thirteen years. Several years ago, when her family had decided to move from Madhya Pradesh to Bihar, Anshu had been separated from her family at the Patna railway station. In the whirl of sounds, smells, people, and suitcases, she remembers being afraid realizing what loss was. However, with measured footsteps she had found her way to the railway officer’s chambers and waited patiently until her father came to get her. Once she realized that she could take care of herself she realized she did not need to be afraid. Thoughts are distracting her, she knows her classmates will have moved on to Humayun after learning about Babur. Her teacher understand that girls are expected to miss school and help at home, that’s why they were usually late for class or did not turn up at all. But Anshu thinks maybe he does not understand that some girls really do want to come to school to learn new things. If girls can’t tell their parents they want to go to school – perhaps teachers could try? Parents might listen to them.


She nods to Doctor Uncle who is swiftly walking in the opposite direction. He must be late too. He usually opens his door to patients at 6 a.m. every morning. Harvest season is slowing everyone down. There are five doctors in the village now. Two years ago there were none and everyone had to take a bullock cart and two buses to reach the nearest hospital. Anshu still wants to become a doctor. She always feels needed when she is able to help relieve other people’s fears and worries. For reasons she does not understand, she wants to treat bones. Bones that break so easily while you run and bones that are the building block of everything we do. She wonders if doctors who treat bones could also be interested in the Mughal Empire. Maybe she can study about the bones of the emperors – there are actually people who do that. Archaeologists they are called. But they cannot cure people.
Anshu has been reading stories about people who do unbelievable things – like a man who builds bridges in South India, a woman who makes solar lamps, and a boy who opened a tribal medicine centre. She reads these stories on Saturdays when she goes to school for skill story school. This is the only day of school she really likes, her teacher says he likes it too. Saturday is three days away.
Anshu runs the last ten steps to her coaching class catching her flying dupatta. As much as she wants to see the world, she loves her village and her people. She will go to Patna and maybe even Delhi to study, but she will come back to home. There are five doctors here already, but she could be the next one – she’ll be theonly doctor who will build a hospital and will treat bones and tell stories of Mughal emperors. But her big dream depends on tomorrow. If her family will let her go back to school. Her dream for every tomorrow to go to school school is the risk she takes every day.

Let the games begin

“People must understand that girls should be allowed to play just like boys. Games have to be part of school, I’m going to make sure games become part of our timetable again.” Neeru, age 15
Bettiah, West Champaran, 3.22 pm

Neeru and her friends can’t wait for the last bell to ring. Their legs are stiff from sitting in the same position for over two hours. Neeru has been looking at the last postcard her brother sent her. It’s a photograph of him playing football with his friends at his boarding school. She looks at field outside her classroom. Their school had a beautiful field within its compound but grass and weeds had grown making it impossible to play. The shed in which all the games equipment was stored was home to cobwebs and creepy-crawlies. The footballs were punctured and the cricket bats chipped and broken.
The field had once held two football nets and a cricket pitch but ever since the games teacher left there was no one to teach games. Since they were in a girls’ school, they could only have a female games teacher. There were no applicationsfrom women games teachers.
Neeru thought that no one realized how important games was. Playing was as important as studying, it made you strong. Neeru felt free when she used to run, like she was flying.
The last bell of the day rang cutting into Neeru’s thoughts. She passed the boys playing their usual game of cricket on the streets. For as long as she could remember they’d always played cricket just there. But today, she stopped and watched. None of them wore shoes. They had no equipment. Their cricket bat was a broad stick, their ball was a chewed tennis ball and their wicket was a three legged chair. If the ball hit a tree stump you were awarded four runs, if it broke a window, you got six runs. They did not have an umpire or a coach. They created, broke and judged their own rules. They were very happy.
Neeru realized she had spent six months being sad about a problem instead of solving it.
First, she would speak to the gardener and ask him to mow the school lawns. She did not know who the gardener was, she had to find him. Then she would speak to her friends and together they would take an appointment with the principal and request her to allow them to play after school hours. Once they start playing after school hours, she was hoping that the principal would begin to notice how good they were and then the next step would be to speak to her about including games in their curriculum next year. Yes, she would make something out of nothing, just like the boys playing cricket.
Neeru turned back to see the ball sailing through the air and crashing into someone’s window shortly followed by jubilant cries from the winning team. Maybe she would become games teacher one day. There were doctors in the town, but no games teacher and that was who her school needed most right now, and who girls would need later to be able to play.

When asked what would you like to learn at school that you don’t yet, 59% of girls said overwhelmingly: NCC games. Games win. The World Economic Forum cites a healthy diet + exercise as one of the 10 skills you should leave high school with be work-ready, knowing how to be healthy, exercise and eat properly is imperative to have enough energy to work.


When we asked girls how they spent their time after school, 78% said studying [though we know realistically with transport and family demands they don’t have this much time], 15% said household work [while only 9% of boys said they help at home] and playing, sports, only received 5% for girls, and 9% for boys.
Giving girls space and time to play at school is imperative – when you exercise your body you open your mind, and in organized sports you learn other skills – team work, leadership, communication and negotiation – imperative life skills. Longer term, if there is NCC games in your school and you complete the tasks to receive a certificate, you get extra marks when you are applying to be a police officer, in the railways, army or police force.
Neeru is inquisitive, a problem-solver and is taking initiative to bring games to her school for girls. Neeru identified that her social connections can help her achieve her goal. 97% of girls in our program are curious about new things that can happen in and around them and once they are curious, the next step is finding out how to make that ‘new idea’ a reality in your school.

The art of money

“It’s difficult to make a budget for 10,000 rupees. It’s easier to keep track of the amount of money you earn, spend and save when you have very little to deal with.” Ajmer 
Siwan, 6: 15 pm



“Ajmer, keep this 10 rupees.”
Ajmer shook his head. He wasn’t going to accept money from someone who was poorer than him. Khala’s wall had begun to develop cracks and a large section of the bricks had fallen away. Neither Khala, nor her aged husband, who was a daily labourer like Ajmer’s father, could afford to fix it. Ajmer had painted a beautiful peacock with its feathers spread wide open over the broken wall.
Ajmer collected his paints and brushes and walked home. His bare legs shivered a little in the cold. As is in the winter months the sun was beginning to disappear and the evening sky was bursting in colours – purple pink blue and orange were flowing into each other, as though Ajmer’s paint brush had designed the sky.
It was a long day. He had woken up at 5 a.m. and painted a new section of his house. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find a spot that his paintbrush had not touched. Peacocks, elephants, flowers and detailed paintings of gods and goddesses occupied all walls of his house leaving little space for new occupants. After a new addition of birds flying out of a tree, Ajmer left for coaching class and from there cycled to school. After a tiring day at school where he read about emperors who had fought bloody battles, particles that had broken up into smaller atoms, and numbers that had added up to bigger numbers, Ajmer reached home to pick up his brushes again.
After a quick lunch, he completed his homework and left for Khala’s house. It had been many weeks since he had promised Khala that he would paint her house. But class     tests, household work, painting classes that he took and painting classes he gave, were keeping him very busy.                                         .                                                                                              

Ajmer feels painting is in his soul – his mother is from the distant village of Madhubani, the home of artists. Though she was never a painter, her son was, and he’s teaching other children who love to dip their fingers in bottles of paint and streak them across walls, trees and each other’s faces. Ajmer had invested a lot of time and energy convincing each mother in his village to send her child to him on Saturday afternoons to paint. No one had agreed. Why waste time with colours when you could do so many more important and useful things like cleaning feeding the cows.
First there was none, then there were two, the twins from next door. Then out of curiosity more children came to investigate the source of shrills and shrieks and colour. For six months Ajmer had given classes for free. Children came and used up all of his colours. But soon he began to run out of resources. To continue teaching he needed paints, and to buy paints he needed money. Ajmer had always known the value of money, his father had broken his back as a daily wage labourer to feed his entire family. But today he understood the importance of earning money, being able use his skill to earn money that would in turn buy him resources to be able to continue and survive. Ajmer knew, and the books on Saturday affirmed this, he had begun to understand how enterprises were run.

Although some of his students left when he brought up the subject of money, many stayed. Their parents did not mind paying 20 rupees a month to Ajmer so that their children could go crazy with colours. When 20 children began paying him 20 rupees each, Ajmer invited those who could not afford to pay him to return and began teaching them for free. He had more than enough money to buy new supplies. He promised himself he would never money from those who could not afford to pay – but just because you can’t pay, does not mean you don’t deserve to learn.
The moon had climbed really high by the time Ajmer reached home. His mother had laid out his food for him and was watchfully waiting his return. She smiled proudly at him as he handed over the 200 rupees that Sheikh Saab had given him yesterday. That would buy two months worth of groceries. Her husband had stopped working from the day Ajmer had started earning. Her 15 year old son was an entrepreneur.
Our data shows us that when it comes to saving money, 28% of boys and 36% of girls have a functional bank account, this is interesting because as minors their parents would have had to co-sign for them to have bank accounts [which means girls parents see value in girls having accounts in their own names]. Boys and girls tell us they their accounts to save money. Learning about money, budgets, cash flows and complex concepts such as compound interest are imperative. We love the fact that Ajmer knows how to value his artistic talent, and is saving what he earns to support his family. Ajmer is an artist and he’s converting his art into a financial literacy skill – he keeps track of what he earns, saves and can invest, but his values and morals are always in the right place, he’ll never charge someone who cannot pay.
Do young people like Ajmer, think work is honorable, do they see value in learning about work at school and do they understand money? Yes. 27% of girls told us that they go to school so one day they can get a job to become independent and 24% of girls want to get a job to support their family, 19% say if they work they know their family will be proud, 15% want to work for a company that everyone respects and 12% of girls say they want to get a job to have a stable income.

In search of heroes, the other sister

“Without my sister I would not be where I am today.” Sanjana, age 12
8:57 a.m Saran

Sanjana loves to read, go to school, read stories on Saturdays and paint. If you ask her who she thinks is great, first, she’ll say, her father who is the mukhiya of the village and has tried his best to develop all five villages under his watch. Sanjana’s father has built temples and bought solar panels ensuring that all homes use solar light. He’s built roads from the villages connecting them to the main road and he’s always liked to think he treats his sons and daughters equally. Well, nearly equally.
Sanjana lives in a joint family with her parents, her sister, uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. Her brother works in the Indian Navy and is away on his ship. Right now he is sailing along the coast of Australia. He has sent postcards from the places he has visited. Sanjana’s parents have kept them tucked safely inside their cupboards.
Not once has Sanjana been asked to stop going to school to help her mother and aunts at home. Not once has she been asked to stop studying to prepare for her wedding. She’s never been rebuked by her family when she told them that she wanted to join the police force. Everyone encouraged her. If she made it, that would be the second child in the government service, which meant a permanent job. Nobody had questioned her ability to pass a difficult exam or get a job which is mostly done by men and is considered dangerous and difficult.
It’s been 15 years since then. Sanjana has not only cleared her Indian Police Service exam, but has become a Sub-Commissioner and is posted in New Delhi, the capital of the country. She goes home twice a year and every time she arrives in her white ambassador with a security guard and the Indian flag, in her brown uniform with a cap and a feather, the entire village runs after her car and there is a gala evening with dinner for everyone at her house. Celebrations everywhere for the daughter of the village who has made everyone proud by her determination and bravery.
A beautiful story. But the true hero of our story is not Sanjana. It is her older sister Priyanka.
Priyanka was the first girl born in the family. From the day she was born, her father started saving for her wedding. But Priyanka was not to marry. At least not immediately. Priyanka fell in love with stories. She used to read in Hindi and couldn’t stop reading. She fought to be able to go to college after completing her education so that she could read more.Her parents wanted their daughter to be wed as soon as she finished school. She was the Mukhiya’s elder daughter after all, and expectations from society were high. Her parents finally gave in to her wishes, but said that they would not give her any help or money.
While she was in college she began tutoring children in her village so that she could continue her education. She went to Patna city on her own. It was six hours away by bus and she brought back a post graduation application form for Patna University, the most reputed University in the state. She completed the application form and spent an entire month speaking to her father and explaining her dream to him. Finally her father let her apply. He thought that, there was no way that a girl from the small village of Chappra could get through a Masters’ program in the grand Patna University.
Not only did Priyanka get through, but she got a scholarship as well. Her father had to let her go. She moved to Patna on her own, finding accommodation in a girl’s hostel and taking the bus home every weekend on her own. After completing her Master’s degree she got into a PhD program too. Then she passed her NET exam and started to teach in her village. There were so many girls who were not as lucky as she was, who would not have the opportunity to go out and study. She knew she would have to give them the best education while they were still in school. She proved to her father, the rest of the family and her entire village that girls could do whatever they wanted to do. Because of Priyanka, Sanjana’s father never tried to stop his younger daughter from achieving her dreams.

There is no gala or feast or celebrations for Priyanka, she lives in the village, and has not done anything extraordinary like her younger sister. She’s just aschool teacher. But her sister knows that’s not true. She’s not just a school teacher, she is the sister with the drive and determination to do something different whose actions paved the way and cleared all obstacles and challenges from Sanjana’s path. For Sanjana, Priyanka is the true hero, the one we should be interviewing, the one we should have been writing the story about all along.

The journey to school is longer than you think

Only when a problem presents itself, do we look for answers and when we do, we find a chance. Priyanka, age 12

Raxaul, East Champaran, 11:10 am.

It was a very wet day. Heavy dark clouds had stolen the blue from the sky and splashed it instead with a cold grey. Priyanka walked with the busy traffic avoiding the muddy puddles and constant splashes from the speeding rickshaws, horses and lorries. Her white pajama bottoms were gradually turning brown and her white uniform was streaked with rain drops and mud spots.

School was over for the day. Over before it had even begun. Their teacher had not come. Priyanka assumed she had gone away on election duty. She wished school would tell you when it was not really open so girls wouldn’t have to travel so far to be told that there is no school. What a waste of time.

Priyanka lived close by, so she could walk. But there were 416 girls in her class. Not everyone lived near by. Girlstravelled on buses, on auto-rickshaws, many took the local train everyday to come to school. All Priyanka had to do was walk over the crowded busy road. School was only 4 kilometres away. But she felt terrible for other girls.

She noticed that slowly, over the past year, a lot of girls had stopped coming to school. She did not blame them. When they were younger, teachers used to take classes outside, under the tree, and the only time classes were cancelled was when it rained. They all loved the sudden rainy outbursts. But ever since they built proper rooms, with desks and chairs and a blackboard, school was no longer the same. The classroom could only seat 200 girls at a time. Though no one had told them not to come, not everyone was expected to come to school everyday. Girls, on their own, had made a silent decision, 200 came one week, and the remaining 200 came the next week. The teachers, if they took classes, never repeated themselves.

Priyanka missed her old school. This wasn’t school anymore, they didn’t teach and she didn’t learn. But that didn’t stop her from going to school every day. She realized she was learning from her family. Without intending to ,she was learning more from them than from her teachers. Yesterday, her uncle had taught her how to make a budget. He’s an entrepreneur and he started his own wedding card printing business – making a budget everyday was crucial for him. After he taught her she was able to explain the process to her friends during their Saturday skill and story class where they had just started reading ‘Asha makes a budget’. But there were onlysix girls at school that day.

When she thought hard about it, if anyone had asked her about her problems, she’d tell them for sure: we don’t have working schools in my district, and if you want to do well in exams, that’s quite a problem. Priyanka was scared that she might not be able to do well in her exams. How many questions would she answer if there was teacher was teaching? Would there be no more classes next year? What about Grade 11 and 12?

She swung her bag across her left shoulder to relieve the weight. Some girls were not allowed to go to school, some girls had to come from so far and others just couldn’t afford it. She was lucky to have a family who encouraged her to study and a school close by. But she knew it was a problem. How can you have a school that’s so full there’s no place to sit. A school so full that girls stop coming and no other government school to go to because they did not have room either? Priyanka walked into her house and closed the door behind her. Without teachers there would be no classes, without classes no learning about atoms and molecules, or fractions and geometry or even the tributaries and distributaries of the river Ganga, and without learning how would they write exams and become doctors and engineers and judges that they all aspired to? First thing tomorrow she would speak to her friends and make them realize what she understood, girls were going to have to make their own school a place they want to be.

And that new school, well it opens tomorrow.

The Skills Revolution for Girls

In India, millions of young people are entering our economy without the skills they need to get a job or create a job. As often happens,when there’s not enough, girls and women are more prone to being disadvantaged, being financially dependent on others and left out on the mere available opportunities.

We are teaching adolescent girls entrepreneurial and employability skills at schools,before they drop out, without skills. This year, our Children’s Skills Report shows it’s girls, over boys,who are empowered to change their lives the most, if they learn skills at school. We told 9 amazing stories from 9 districts from across Bihar who read skills stories, completed skills challenges and came to school every Saturday to read a new story and learn more skills.

We are sharing with you excerpts from our skills revolution stories.

9 days, 9 amazing stories of 9 kids from 9 districts of Bihar.

Stay tuned for the first story in a few hours and make sure you come back for a new story each day!

Skills4Girls at school


2,137 teenage girls in Grade 9 secondary schools in Bihar told us they go to school so one day they can get a job. By 2030, there will be > 423 million people in India in search of work. Skills4Girls is teaching market relevant skills to girls while they are still at school, so that tomorrow they can create a job for themselves as well as everyone around them. Designing skills for heroes.
Click to vote for us projinspire.com/vote/ to pitch Skills4Girls @ Project Inspire Grand finals on August 30, 2014. The countdown begins.

All that was new in this year’s first workshop in Ranchi

The first workshop of the year began in Ranchi, Jharkhand where 36 wonderful teachers came from far and near villages to read new stories and play cool new games that teach skills at school.
We had 23 teachers who attended the workshop for the first time and had not attended the previous training in November 2013. Other than the teachers from the Ursuline Provinciate, we also had three Jesuits representatives from two provinces as our participants at the two day workshop.

Our hero teachers from the Congregation of the Ursulines

This was our second workshop with the teachers and we were very excited to know how many stories have they read till now, how much did the kids participate in the skills games and the skills challenges. There were a lot of new things in store for the teachers and in their cool red teacher folder too! Real-life entrepreneur DVD’s, photostories made on children in Bihar, postcards, going to school diaries and our skills book catalogue.

The super teacher folder

Our team of six worked with enthusiasm on and off stage- playing the new board games, reading new stories through story panels and mini books, which the teachers loved! This was a new addition to our program where every child will have a mini book to read the story from and keep it with them.
The teachers loved the new games – The Cash flow game and the Marketing game. Both of them board them with all of fun & cool illustrations. The Cash flow game had sudden mishap and bonus cards while the marketing game had all the good, bad and ugly ways to market once could choose from. They then gave a super pitch to back up their marketing strategy too! The teachers gave us the most valuable feedback so that we can make them better before they reach the schools for the kids to play and learn skills through them.

The Cash flow game : Teachers reading the situation cards they picked

Teachers who had read stories and had children’s projects shared their experiences and details on how they think this program has impacted their students.

Mr. Aman, a teacher from Ursuline convent girl’s school, Lahardaga said, “I have seen the students creatively using their own skills to make the projects.”

Sister Pushpa said, “I have seen the change in my students after they have started reading these stories and doing the projects. Few days ago, we took them out on Women’s Day and they participated and spoke on a public platform willingly with confidence and determination. I never saw my students being so enthusiastic earlier.”

A lot of teachers who came in for the first time shared with us their concerns and their first reactions about the stories and games. We learnt a lot from them, noted every change we need to implement to make it better and impactful. To look forward for the teachers to read as many books they can with the children, until we meet them again in November with more new stories, fun games and exciting skills challenges.

Bob Slattery, representative of the Jesuit province, a new participant said, “I loved the Bijli story (Bijli brings the carnival to her village). It’s a wonderful story and the skill came out really well. Nice illustrations.”

The Power of Stories

Stories create experiences they open the door to the possibility of understanding a new way

When I was very small I used to listen to my grandmother’s stories with wonder. When she spoke, I saw what she meant – so now when I remember her stories, I have to check my memory to see if there was really a picture book, or just her words.  I used to imagine in black and white because all the old movies were mostly black and white.

In India, we’ve always listened to stories, it’s how we pass down what we know, how we share how we see the world, and now with the organization I work with, how we learn.

From the mythological narration of facts of life in Bhagwad Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjun, or my grandmother telling me stories, to the stories our children listen to and watch on TV, on iPads and in cinemas.

But it’s still the story that is ‘told’ that is ‘just words’ floating, with a voice, that allows us to imagine. Sometimes I think we learn much more when we are not given the images, but rather from words, we create our own.

So let’s say you are trying to teach children a new idea or concept, what works best the storytelling format or the story-reading approach?

I did some research. Global research says that storytelling is an abstract form of presenting information which induces creativity of thought while a story with painted, drawn pictures and characters painted provides a concrete understanding of how the characters and their cultures interact.

Story telling is like a magician holding the pulse of the audience with his magic tricks. The storyteller holds the stage and audience by the manipulated twists, turns, expressions and pauses in his stories. All of this combined with hand and body movements capture the attention of the listeners. The audience’s gaze is glued to storyteller yet they are transported to the other world that of story.

Therefore, we realize that telling a story in a specific way is crucial to the understanding of the story. While delivering beautifully designed story books to children to learn entrepreneurial skills, we now want to focus on strengthening of storytelling by teachers. In the workshop for orienting teachers to the program we shall innovate activities through which we facilitate our teachers to become storytellers and our children to learn skills through stories.

So what’s the power of a story?

It’s when everyone comes to school, even those who technically are not enrolled. Surendra Prasad is the headmaster of Nand High School in Sagouli (A semi urban town on the borders of East and West Champaran districts in Bihar). Every Saturday he reads one of our stories. And everyone comes. Every child who is supposed to be in school is there. Even kids who have dropped out come to listen. Women pause to listen while grazing their cattle in the fields and men who are doing new construction in the school come to sit in the classroom.

Surendra Prasad

 

“I’m sure it has an impact on all of them. They never get any books to read. Many of them cannot actually read. This is a way of getting to know about things which they never knew even existed. The stories are powerful and teach crucial skills for life,” he explained, pausing for a moment.

“On one Saturday, a man who has the contract for construction in our school, sat down to listen to the story I was telling. He listened to the entire story and later came to me. He said to me that the story was amazing and inspiring. We were reading the Bijli brings Carnival to her village that day. As we talked, I suggested to him that if he expands his social network and set up his offices in three different places, then he will be more accessible to people, also he can appoint local people to expand the size of their team. That day a 35 year old became my student”, says Surendra Prasad, and the builder did just that, and came back to thank Surendra for the insight into a skill through story.

 

JOB APPLICATION: PROJECT ASSOCIATE, RANCHI

Be! Schools

Our schools program – Be! Schools trains government school teachers to use 10-20 entrepreneurial design-driven skills stories to teach children studying in secondary grades (Grade 8th and Grade 9th), one skill is taught each week for a year in 1000+ Government Schools in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

52.8% of children in India drop out by Grade 10, we are working in secondary grades to stem the dropout rate and make education relevant to employment by delivering skills through the school system at scale, skills that can help children get a job or create a job once they complete their education.

Project Associate, Ranchi

 As Project Associate, Ranchi, you would have to spend 60% of your time in Ranchi and 40% in Delhi. The position would require you to create and lead a monitoring and evaluation team and a research team to implement the Be! Schools programme with 200 government and congregation schools across Jhanrkhand and Chattisgarh, meet with government officials, create new stories, communicate with teachers and students, identify and understand their problems, and amend and develop the programme to solve their problems and incorporate their ideas and suggestions.

Key Responsibilities: 

  • Teacher training: You will be responsible for the overall implementation of the teacher training in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. You will be responsible to lead the team of teacher trainers – from where you are positioned, in Delhi/ Ranchi and travel to the training locations to ensure that the trainers understand how to deliver each story and teachers understand the skills activities.
  • You will be working closely with the state teams and they will be reporting to you formally every week about the program related activities- district wise school performance, DEO/DPO meetings, individual schools cases and in turn, we’d like your program status reports, every week about the progress, issues, changes that need to be made to the process.
  • Report Writing: Watch progress through the internal monitoring system and weekly, write/create INSIGHT reports that could be the base of a blog, report to funders and research work. What we know now? Insight, trends, key quotes from kids, teachers, case studies?
  • Testing new books, skills activities with children. Coordinate, meet and follow up with (email, phone calls, visits) with schools, NGOs for testing of Be! books with children in their schools in Delhi and work with the team to do this in states where the program is being implemented. Build relationships with schools for regular testing of the books with children. Submit reports on each testing session, showing what has to be changed in terms of content, text, words, design, length and the activity to make it useable for children.
  • Once the activities come from states, start grading the activities and based on the outcomes, start revising the content of the books and teacher manual, as well as the teacher training sessions. Based on the grading results write interesting stories for the qualitative research reports. This will take minimum 30% of your time.
  • Team management: You will be responsible to work with the team members in Bihar to implement the schools program in 1,000 schools and you will provide direct support to the state team members- Head of programs, project officers and regional program coordinators in Bihar.
  • Project support:  Participate with study team members in development of ongoing project reports and documentation of progress, including analysis of qualitative data, summarization of findings, and development of visuals to communicate findings to stakeholders.
  • Analyze the existing quantitative data to understand the correlation between the survey data and the skill projects submitted by children.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge and experience of participating in a large scale project
  • Ability to manage people, communicate with different stakeholders and multi-task at a distance.
  • Ability to coordinate and manage all aspects of the project
  • Highly motivated and a self-starter with a solid level of commitment
  • Excellent organizational and management skills/ability to prioritize
  • Ability to contribute in a team environment and manage a team
  • Computer proficiency and proficiency in M.S. Office (Excel, Power Point and Word)
  • Knowledge of working on statistical software like SPSS and Stata
  • Must be passionate about the development sector and creating social change through entrepreneurship
  • Qualitative and quantitative research skills.
  • At least 2 years of work experience. However, we accept application from college freshers if they can prove to possess the above-mentioned qualities.

If you believe you have the qualifications and experience for and interest in this profile, please send a one page CV along with a one page cover note to Rithika Nair at rithika@goingtoschool.com by 28 February 2014.

Thank you

#goingtoschool; #Be! Schools; #jobs; #project associate; #NGO; #job application