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Aurat Association Project
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:07 am    Post subject: Aurat Association Project Reply with quote

Project: Women Handicraft Development Program
Organization: Aurat Association
Amount Requested: US$ 5,000
Location: Mansehra, NWFP

Overview: The objective of Aurat Association is to empower rural women socially & economically by improving their skills and capacities through technical and management training and enabling them to generate and increase income by seeking employment in different sectors and to work as skilled workers locally.

Project Team: Ali Akbar (team leader), Waqas Mansoor, Asif Bashir, Usman Hafiz, Owais Rafiq


Last edited by Khurram Owais Shah on Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:17 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tarim's feedback:

Quote:
1) Why the Mansehra area is considered semi-EQ
2) How the products will taken to market, since that is a major issue with these kinds of projects.
3) The budget details. The way it's broken out, there is Rs. 1 lac of overhead, and for the other Rs. 2 lacs, it is unclear whether it is funding salaries for Aurat staff members or something else.
4) Whether there is a possibility for us to just fund workshops and not the overhead


I called Aurat Association and talked to the chairman, Malik Akbar, about the proposal. He explained that semi-earthquake implied that the city had been considerably damaged but not completely destroyed as in the case of Muzaffarabad/Bagh etc. To this effect he said that most donors were running to the completely destroyed towns further north and overlooking the needs of towns like Mansehra which too had suffered but were not being paid due attention.

He agreed with our concerns about product marketing and talked about it in detail. Apparently, there are three ways of doing it. Number one, the NGO sells the products directly at fairs and stalls. Number two, they transport the products to different handicraft outlets throughout the country (in this he said transport was a problem and added unnecessarily to the cost). In both these cases the workers were paid in advance of their products' sale. A third avenue is to train the workers to set up their own business with their products. To this effect he said they had started Entrepreneurship Development Training and Business Creation Exercise programs for workers and their spouses to work in conjunction with each other and sells their things directly.

About the costs: he said the two lacs were to be spent at different aspects of the program as listed in the budget. Out of the one lac overhead, they have included the local motivator expense which he said was an essential part of the program with respect to its sustainability and functioning so it had be to covered in case ADP decided to fund this project. The remaining sixty-six thousand is running cost so don't have to fund that part.

The operational cost for salaries will be borne by Aurat Association.
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S Ali Rizvi



Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 6
Location: Lahore
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: Hello Everyone Reply with quote

Please start discussing on the forum as to your feeling about the project, so we can get started on the evaluation.
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To start off, please post your initial personal feedback (the one you sent to me) so that everyone knows what everyone else is thinking.
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S Ali Rizvi



Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 6
Location: Lahore
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:22 am    Post subject: My assesment Reply with quote

Following is my assesment of the project based on their proposal.

First of all I'd like to state that from their proposal the NGO seems to be doing a lot of work in their region and they seem to have generated a decent amount of monies last year to fund their projects what is unclear to me is I could not find a website or their financial information anywhere online, personally I would have been much more comfortable knowing where exactly their money was spent last year and before that and it would have helped make a better decission. Secondly I recieeved the proposal but not the budget so not knowing where exacctl this money will be going is another big question.

Here are my thoughts and questions for this project:


Do we know what the organization has done before and how their projects have worked out, if we havent worked with them before.

The organization has played the earthquake card in seeking funding, to me this is not that relavent because this is a training project to provide long term financial sources to the people.

The specific budget spending needs to be clear, since the project is to be done in buildings provided by the community where exactly is the money going.

The training staff and teachers, has the association found some willing to go out there and do the training or will they be looking, after they get their funding. Is ADP going to fund the teachers or will Aurat association be funding them. If ADP is funding the teachers and trainers, who will fund them after the duration of the program.

The project's main goal is to train women to better make and market their products. How will the products reach the desired markets, will this training or aurat association also help the benificiaris market their end products, this is very important becuase if the products can not be marketed efficiently this project has not achieved anything.

To me this project seems to be worth funding only after the above questions and concerns are answered. In evaluating an NGO I first need to be sure on the credibility of the organization and the individuals running it, their success rate in previous programs, thier funding generation and where those funds are going. The project seems to be a good one if it is sustainable and only if the products can be marketed well. To make a better decission the first thing I would require is a detailed budget for this specific project if nothing else.


The rest of the team please post your views on the Project and then we can decide what each of us will be doing further.
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Muhammad Usman Hafeez



Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 23 Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Location: Islamabad/Mansehra
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asalam U Alikum Brothers.
I am going on saturday to the location there in mansehra for the assesment as until i reach there and check the status of the Project.after visiting the area then i can tell u that wat to do .

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Usman Hafeez
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Waqas Mansoor



Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Last Visit: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Islamabad
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ali, I have googled AA on the web and found many links on other NGO websites that showed some of their past work. But they dont have their own website.
They have provided us the sector wise budget and what I get from the budget sheet is that ADP has to fund Rs. 295,500 for the project.

I have attached a graph for sector wise distribution.

More than 60% of total cost is going for Enterprise Development Training (EDT) ,Business Creation Exercise (BCE) and Techincal Training.

In my opinion, budget seems reasonable.
But the actual assesment can only be done after the site visit report by Usman.

Hey Usman, I am in Islamabad, tell me if I can be of any assistance to you for this visit.
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Muhammad Usman Hafeez



Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 23 Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Location: Islamabad/Mansehra
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asalam U Alikum!

Dear Waqas!

I m planing to visit the area on this weekend , may be on friday so that we can judge better about the project and we should tell AA about our visit early in the morning or alte evening so that we can know the real situation at the area .What you say about the idea or any thing in ur mind and how can u assist ???

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Usman Hafeez
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks,

Usually we don't conduct a site visit until after the first EC presentation (as stated in the evaluation guide I sent to you earlier). By that time we have enough issues identified by the team and the executive committee which can be explored during the site visit. This is to maximize assessment during the visit and prevent waste of time and resources.

I would recommend that you only go ahead with a site visit if the team is confident that they have identified key issues that need to be explored. Preferably, wait until after the first EC call and then you can go ahead with the visit and complete the relevant form.

In my conversation with Malik Akbar initially, he had said that they would prefer to have a female visit the women in the villages. So Usman, whenever you go, try to find a female companion. I'm looking for suitable volunteers too, but they're hide to find in that region. So you watch out for them on your end as well. Thanks!
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Waqas Mansoor



Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Last Visit: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Islamabad
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guyz, Just to keep you all informed, I am pasting my email conversation with Usman here at the forum.

Usman to me:
You Welcome and walikum us Salam !

ok thanks for such a nice suggestions and i will contact khurram for the site visit plan .
i noted your cell number . my cell number is 03009113516
i will contact u when ever i need any help...
thanks
Best Regards
Usman Hafeez

Walecum Salam Usman,

Thankyou for volunteering for the site visit.
My suggestion is that go there and meet the AA people.Look around and get the feel of the organization. If you feel that yes they genuinely need the money for the project then its good. If you develop any negative feeling or confusion then discuss with AA people and try to clear it.
Take a camera along and take as many pictures that can help us in evaluation.
I thing Khurram (VM) can better guide you about the technical aspect of site visit.

My cell no is 03018559768. Don't hesitate to call me if you need any kind of support, here from Islamabad.


Best of luck for your visit. We are eagerly waiting for your visit.

Best regards,
Waqas Mansoor
- Hide quoted text -


On 4/23/08, Usman Hafeez <friend026@hotmail.com> wrote:



Asalam U Alikum!

Dear Waqas!

I m planing to visit the area on this weekend , may be on friday so that we can judge better about the project and we should tell AA about our visit early in the morning or alte evening so that we can know the real situation at the area .What you say about the idea or any thing in ur mind and how can u assist ???
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Owais



Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 11 May 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: my feedback, and looking for clarification Reply with quote

Hi All, I am a little late in jumping into the discussion here, I have been trying to keep up with your postings, but I am admittedly a little confused as to where we are. I understand from Khurrams last email that we have a tight deadline. I have attached my original assessment below; however, may I suggest that Ali or whoever is leading this initiative summarize the remaining issues that have been brought up by all, to allow for a framework to our discussion. This is just a suggestion, I will continue to follow the conversations and add my feedback where I can. Thanks,
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S Ali Rizvi



Joined: 16 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 01 Aug 2008
Posts: 6
Location: Lahore
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:51 am    Post subject: Evaluation Aurat Foundation Reply with quote

Khurram is right, we have been having problems with communication since day one, The first thing we need to do is discuss what needs to be done and go from there, A site visit without a purpose would not gain us anything, not until we have decided what exactly we need to find out. So here is what I propose.

1. Everyone of you have already gotten the proposal and you have had time to study it, please first post your views, and questions and concerns so we can start discussing them.

2. We need to follow up with the references and take those questions and concerns to Aurat Association, so need to decide what everyone is comfortable doing and then assign tasks to the team.

In the mean time I have made contact with Ms. Saima at the Heinrich Boll Foundation, she is one of the references on the proposal, the foundation has in the past worked with Aurat Association but is not currently working with them due to a policy change. Ms. Saima spoke highly of the organization and their work in the region, she said they have effectively worked on the grassroots levels and have had success in their previous projects.

Usman and Waqas look forward to your initial thoughts on the proposal, Owais thak you for your detailed evaluation it is a good guide for the rest of the team.
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Waqas Mansoor



Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Last Visit: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 7
Location: Islamabad
PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Team,

I believe, we should not waste further time. Lets decide with the site visit procedure. I guess everything else seems OK with AA.
1. The project seems fine on paper and as per the criteria set by ADP.
2. The references provided by AA seems authentic and google search about AA shows some of their past work.
3. Infact, as indicated by Ali, one of the authentic reference has spoken highly of AA projects.
4. Lets focus our attention to site visit, its technical procedure so that we can all find out exactly what AA has been doing and if the project is feasile, start funding it.
5. Time is important and if the site visit proves that AA indeed needs the amount, we can push AA to get the project rolling asap.

Best Regards,
Waqas
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waqas, let's not rush for a site visit. A site visit does not mark the end of an evaluation. As I said earlier, we do not conduct site visits before the first EC call.

Since the scheduled date for the first EC call is near (May 11th), I'd recommend the team to focus on fulfilling what needs to be completed for this presentation. The first document that needs to be filled out is the project summary form which I sent to everyone initially. I am attaching it again just in case anyone overlooked it. As you start filling out this form you will automatically come across questions such as what defines success for this project? What are the indicators? What metrics do we have in place? How many women are successful; how is success defined? How good are the market linkages etc? How would the team want to test for these questions?

Once you have recorded answers to these questions, and presented them to the EC, the EC members will come up with further issues on the project. Only then would we be able to outline the detailed questions the site visit person is going to ask. Simply going somewhere and looking around for clues is a waste of time and money.

Let's focus on identifying and recording key issues right now that would decide whether this project is a workable, sustainable plan or not.
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Owais



Joined: 21 Apr 2008
Last Visit: 11 May 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 2:12 pm    Post subject: Discussion Summary Reply with quote

Hello everyone once again,

I have downloaded the project summary and I will begin working on it right away. For my own purposes, I tried to summarize the discussions/issues brought up thus far on the forum that I could see. Not sure if it would help any body else, but feel free to take a look and include as part of your own analysis where needed. I tried to include names of individuals for each issue/discussion. Here is my initial feedback which I will substantiate and expand in the project summary form asap;

I believe success is defined directly from the bottom up, therefore the -success of the women who are helped and successful (which we will need to discuss further). Therefore, the key metrics, would also reside with the organizers administrating at the ground level. The only specific indication of metrics in the initial proposal was the marker of aiding 60 women. As a reflection of the budget, I believe this to be a reasonable goal and a good indicator of success of the project as a whole.
For the women specifically, there are no clear indicators of how success would be defined. My suggestion would be to help Aurat shape a metric tracking system that defines different levels of success using the following as an example of a the varying levels.
-Training attended/completed
-Product developed
-Product Sold/Marketed (trying to be as specific to units/quantities sold per participant as possible)
-Marketing Channels utilized; Self run business would be greatest success, followed by local selling and then exported (factoring travel costs)
Final Success should be measured in terms of net NEW income provided to the women participants

I will be the first to either help develop or shape some of these tracking tools in excel models if the group agrees this is the right direction. If not, I look forward to your feedback!
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