IIMPACT was founded in March 2003 by the alumni of 1978 batch of IIM Ahmedabad to mark their Silver Jubilee reunion, with the single-minded objective of educating the under-privileged girl child from socially and economically disadvantaged sections of the society.
IIMPACT provides an alternative educational opportunity to girls, mostly from disadvantaged sections, who have limited or no access to schools. This is done through community-based Learning Centers, where they get meaningful and stimulating education up to standard 5 and are supported to enter mainstream education. Sound foundations established at IIMPACT Learning Centers prepare them for a good academic future.
IIMPACT has developed identified a specific focus, developed a clear strategy, and proven the delivery model in terms of social outcomes as well as scalability.
Why the Girl Child?
The academic and field research is now well-established to support the notion that:
“Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world.” (Larry Summers, when Chief Economist at the World Bank).
Former World Bank President, James Wolfensohn, addressing the Fourth UN Conference on Women, said:
“Education for girls has a catalytic effect on every dimension of development: lower child and maternal mortality rates; increased educational attainment by daughters and sons; higher productivity; and improved environmental management. Together, these can mean faster economic growth and, equally important, wider distribution of the fruits of growth….
More education for girls will also enable more and more women to attain leadership positions at all levels of society: from health clinics in the villages to parliaments in the capitals. This, in turn, will change the way societies will deal with problems and raise the quality of global decision making.”
The Girl Child in India
Low literacy rates for females in India highlight the gender gap in many populous states as below.
|S.No.||State||Literacy Rate||Gender Gap|
|3||D & N Haveli||73||43||30|
|5||Jammu & Kashmir||66||42||24|
Source: Census of India 2001
The National Census of India clearly identifies over 50 such districts in the country where the female education is below 30%. There are many such districts also where the female literacy is below 25% and 2 districts where it is just 18%.
This disparity is more acute in the enrolment of girls from scheduled castes and minorities. In Rajasthan, the Mewat area in Alwar district is very backward. Worst affected is the Meo community, the original inhabitants of Mewat. The literacy rate of Meo girls over 15 years of age is just 8%.
Girl child education has been lagging in India due to a variety of social, economic and cultural reasons including:
- Social attitudes towards girl children;
- Parental indifference, ignorance, bias, illiteracy, fear and poverty;
- Distance of schools from the residence;
- Lack of responsive basic facilities for girls in schools;
- Early family and sibling responsibility on girls and early marriage;
- Irrelevant school curricula;
- Presence of mostly male teaching staff, unequipped to handle girl students.
In our experience, there are three major challenges when it comes to the education of girls: (a) getting them to school, (b) ensuring good quality of education to improve their learning achievements and (c) enlisting their participation in higher level education (upper primary and above).
IIMPACT Strategy & Track Record
IIMPACT has focused on the girl child, aged 6-14, in the remote, rural areas of India for educational intervention and the achievement of targeted outcomes over 5 years.
Reaching out to the girl child is central to the efforts being made by IIMPACT. IIMPACT’s model compliments the formal schooling of the girl child by preparing them well at the initial stages, which also ensures improvement in their learning achievements. Therefore it solves the basic problems faced in girls’ education.
- Retention: By placing specific attention on each girl, by improving their learning achievements through innovative and meaningful education and thereby encouraging them and their parents.
- Access: By opening IIMPACT community-based schools, called Learning Centers, in places near the residences of the girls; by appointing women teachers; by adapting girl child friendly practices; and by involving the parents and local community.
- Continued Education: After passing their class V exams from IIMPACT Learning Centres a majority of girls have gone on to study in formal schools. Majority of them are doing well and continuing with their secondary education.
The IIMPACT model has three partners who are instrumental in implementing the Learning Centers right in the villages where there is the greatest need for social development. These partners are:
- The village community
- The local NGOs and
- IIMPACT and its allied donor agencies.
The village community is the most important part of the IIMPACT model. It has to come together as one unit to provide or develop with IIMPACT the space and infrastructure for the learning centers. They have to monitor the local learning centers diligently and gradually take over responsibility for the learning centers, in other words the education of the girl child, into their own hands.
The role of local NGOs is to work extensively among the communities in the villages, establish a team of local teachers and community mobilisers, establish a strong partnership with the communities and manage the day-to-day activities associated with the learning centers. We have established close working relationships with accredited and experienced NGOs and formalised our arrangements via performance agreements.
IIMPACT is engaged throughout the life cycle of each project, taking responsibility for the critical success factors underpinning the strategy:
- Identifying the deserving communities and villages to establish the learning centers;
- Identifying local NGOs and cultivating partnerships;
- Generating resources for the project;
- Training the local NGO partner to implement the project and
- Quality monitoring of the project against targeted outcomes.
IIMPACT depends on allied donor agencies for generating resources. Currently, the funding mix is about 60% institutional (including very large individual donors) and 40% retail. Going forward, the target is an 80:20 funding mix, in favour of institutional donors. By funding administration costs via separate donations, IIMPACT is able to guarantee donors that each contribution directly benefits a girl child without any transaction costs.
The demographic profile of the community that we serve is as follows:
- 90% of fathers of the girls are farmers, labourers or un-employed
- 55% of their fathers and 66% of their mothers are illiterate
- 90% of the girls, as on date, are in 6-14 year age bracket
- 68% of the girls who passed their Grade V exam, are continuing to study
With just 15 Learning Centers in as many villages in 2004 in just one State, Rajasthan, today there are close to 2000 IIMPACT Learning Centers operational in over 1500 villages covering around 60,000 girls in 11 States: Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Chattisgarh.