Strengthening local democracy in India with Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI)
Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI), founded by Azim Premji, focuses on improving local governance by strengthening community and civil society groups to implement holistic development plans.
As part of APPI’s theme on governance, a local democracy programme has been introduced in selected states of India. The programme empowers grassroots democratic institutions by training them to facilitate effective delivery of services and become truly representative of the population. Akvo is the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) partner in the districts of Rajasthan and Gujarat in India.
Above: Villagers from Lolakpur in Dovra Block during a PESA awareness campaign. Rajasthan, India, October 2017. Credits: Rajat Kumar, Astha Sansthan.
This project targets predominantly tribal districts of Rajasthan in India. Concentrated in remote and inaccessible areas, usually hills and forests, indigenous people are not homogenous groups. They differ from each other not just in terms of their ecology, cultural identity, economic organisation and social and religious practices but also in the nature of their relationship to national political and economic systems. By strengthening village level democracy in rural areas, communities will be empowered to plan and manage their own resources according to local needs and customs.
The project needed a robust M&E solution so that the implementing partner, Astha, could assess the needs of each community and work closely with village representatives, youth groups, and institutions to prepare for and implement village development plans.
In the partnership with APPI, Akvo provides powerful mobile-based data tools, as well as local expertise in planning, monitoring, evaluation and learning (PMEL).
APPI and implementing partners are using Akvo Flow and Akvo RSR to capture, understand, and share a variety of data. Akvo designed and implemented the overall evaluation framework and the concurrent monitoring plan, and adopted both qualitative and quantitative methods of evaluation for the baseline data collection in 2017. The implementing partner, Astha, have been trained by local Akvo staff in using the mobile data collection tool, Akvo Flow, and designing and testing surveys. As part of monitoring protocol, Akvo staff support partners in conducting regular data quality checks, data cleaning and data analysis.
Strengthening Local Democracy Program in Dungarpur. Building capacities of village-level institutions
The results of the baseline evaluation were shared in a detailed report with other project teams. This strong quantitative baseline can be used to track the progress of the projects as they develop. The project activities are spread out across 63 Gram Panchayats, village councils, in the Dungarpur district of Rajasthan.
Building upon Akvo’s work in Rajasthan, APPI has extended the partnership to the district of Gujarat.