When we started our journey in 2015 we thought about the values and principles we considered important. These were molded by our own experiences working in social development, into an approach we adopt towards every project.
Focusing on Impact
Contributing to impact is the very reason ABC was formed – we only take on projects where we can create, support, or magnify the impact of the initiatives we work with. While our work varies greatly, some examples include working collaboratively with NGO leadership to build strategic objectives, assessing existent programs to provide the information necessary for informed decision-making, creating content to better engage program beneficiaries, and training master trainers to strengthen the impact of program delivery.
We often encourage our partners to use data to establish their impact – while recognising that impact can’t always be boiled down to a single number, and more importantly it need not be. We place an emphasis on qualitative tools to support the numbers wherever possible. This could be in the form of case studies to document the story of a specific individual, images and video that capture experiences, and more in depth qualitative studies to report on a variety of beneficiary impact.
Designing Ground Up
Having our roots in the non-profit sector, a ground-up approach to program design is non-negotiable. We strive to avoid making assumptions when understanding a problem or ideating solutions and firmly believe the best source of information and inspiration are the stakeholders we are working for. For example when we recently designed a program for junior college students, we took the time to identify and understand the target demographic; we conducted interviews and focus group discussions with former and active students, visited the colleges where target youth usually apply, and spent time in the environments (both inside and outside the college) they experience. This gave us unique insight into their needs and realities which were not self-evident at the onset of the project.
Relying on Evidence
We derive all our output from research, especially research relevant for local communities. We recognise that there is wealth of knowledge available at the global level – so we don’t always want to reinvent the wheel. We also, however, know that local contexts are unique and the local evidence-base is limited. Thus we try to leverage the former and expand on and build on the latter.
Working at Scale
In a country like India, the ability to work at scale is of vital importance, and our team is experienced in doing so. Working at scale means that a solution works in a real world setting, and is replicable in a variety of scenarios, beyond the one for which it was created, and regardless of the size of its application. This means that when we work on a task, no matter the depth or magnitude, we keep our eye on the big picture as well.
However, this does not mean we only work on projects that plan to scale. We recognise the individuality of each partner, their needs and priorities, and have the ability to work on projects ranging from local to national, adapting our paradigm to the need of the hour.
Building Partner Capacity
Last, but definitely not least, is the importance of collaboration in our work. We always want to go beyond simply providing an ‘output’. Rather, we strive to incorporate a collaborative approach that includes our partners every step of the way. That’s the reason why we do not think of the teams we work with as ‘clients’ but as partners!
Over the next few months we hope to explore each of these principles in greater depth, in the context of real projects we have undertaken. In the mean time do reach out - we’d love to tell you more about the work we have done, and the work we hope to undertake in the years to come!