Welcome to the Charitable Measurement Initiative!

The Charitable Measurement Initiative is a collaboration of people and organizations that are deeply committed to the belief that social change organizations can mobilize significant new and better investment if they are able to implement a measurement reporting framework that credibly communicates their real impact to donors. The Initiative is directed by GiveIndia and calls on the resources of pilot program partners Keystone Accountability, Global Giving, and New Philanthropy Capital, as well as many other organizations committed to social welfare.

The process began when we decided to combine our previous experiences in humanitarian and charitable work with our current work as corporate lawyers. We sought to find a group in India that was looking to incorporate capital markets/securities concepts in reporting and analysis to create more valuable and transparent information.

Thankfully, we were put in touch with GiveIndia. Give discussed the idea of running a pilot program implementing the Keystone framework developed by Keystone Accountability to see if we could help organizations more clearly articulate the outcomes they wanted and better communicate their actual results to donors. This was exactly what we were hoping to do and gladly agreed to donate a year of time to making this work.

While we were in London, Give put us in touch with Keystone Accountability and New Philanthropy Capital. After many meetings throughout the spring and summer, we arrived at our joint creation – the Charitable Measurement Initiative – and a plan as to how we would seek to help NGOs in India become more transparent, responsive, and efficient, as well as help donors become more engaged and involved.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Villages and Rural Development

We visited an NGO in rural Mysore that focuses on womens’ empowerment. Depending on the source, anywhere between 66 to 77 percent of the population is rural. Given that, it is essential that development efforts focus on that area. Many efforts work on public works projects – running water, toilets, etc. – but few seem to focus on education and general employment issues.

The group we visited – which really seems to be two groups that now work together (Bharath Charitable Cancer Hospital Institute and International Human Development and Uplifitment Academy) – does several things, one of which is empowering women by giving them loans (microfinance loans) to run small businesses or farming ventures. They also help the women in a village form group forums to meet and discuss issues. Though these activities women learn to come together and socialize (which they weren’t doing), gain confidence, learn to manage finance, and gain status in the family because they become the primary wage earners. Corollary benefits of these activities are: the kids tend to attend school much more frequently, abuse problems are reduced, men tend to abuse alcohol less in these villages, and general health increases. This is primarily because women in villages tend to save a greater percentage of their income, spend more on children, and increase spending on health/hygiene for the family.

All of this is important because it seems that in order to improve rural children’s lives, NGOs need to empower their mothers. Proof of this comes from the fact that the IHDUA school in rural Mysore is not only one of the leading rural schools in the area, but is one of the best schools in the state.