The impact of Nirdhan livelihood programmes are measured through its Social Impact Assessments (based on internationally accepted scoring system of PPI index), which we carry out before any training is conducted with a home-farmer and thereafter repeated on an annual basis, looks at key socio-economic factors: increased household income resulting in access to medical care, number of children in school, access to clean drinking water, access to own toilet etc. On top of this empowerment of home-farmers, especially women folks of the community are a key indicator of success of the programme. This, combined with observations of change and field level conversations bring together as much qualitative as well as quantitative data as possible, given our limited resources and is a clear indication as to whether the project is working or not.
Our Social Impact Assessments tell us of any improvement to their social and economic welfare; this combined with feedback from the LSPs, case studies and observations of change give a much more accurate picture of how we are changing lives for the better.
Our Social Impact Assessments show that sale of eggs alone can supplement household income by up to 30%; this additional income does indeed help alleviate some of the terrible poverty we see there. Families are able to have choices, often for the first time, to improve their lives which is very empowering for these otherwise marginalised people. Tangible results are that many families can now build a toilet, afford more nutritious meals or better clothes for their children. Others are able to buy the books and uniforms to send their children to school. Some women have opened accounts in the local Post Office for savings, frequently to buy their next toolkit.
Impact created so far can be summarized as follows –
- The home-farmers have benefited both socially and economically from the programme.
- Women feel empowered and gained respect from their families.
- Financial training has resulted in regular small savings by women in common funds; home-farmers are earning an extra Rs. 300-400 per month.
- House structure and general living conditions have improved. Some home-farmers have been able to afford to put up tin/asbestos roofs instead of thatched ones.
- Many women are using their additional income to send their children to school and/or afford extra tuition fees. Others have purchased a bicycle for their children to commute to school instead of spending on public transport.
- They are opting for more nutritious meals for breakfast and supper which were previously not possible.
- One striking difference we have made to the lives of women is by enabling them to pay off their microfinance loans, especially those who have now taken 2-3 toolkits.
- Some very poor and destitute women who have ill husbands and elderly in-laws in the house used to have only one/two sarees (Indian dress for most women). Now they have 3-4 which is very empowering.
- Women now have regular contribution to common funds and some have dug tubewells/built toilets in their home premises and now have access to clean drinking water for the family.
- Home-farmers can now afford to have new appliances at home such as a new table fan or a second-hand television or even a dressing table.
- Nirdhan’s service has been rated as ‘excellent’.