Thursday 17 February 2011

Facts & Figures

Apologies for being absent from the blog for a bit. It is very busy at work. Happily, we’ve managed to fill all the field posts on one of our major livelihoods projects for which has been very difficult to find the right personnel for the money available. Project funds have finally been released but much needs to be spent by end of this financial year. Typical that government bureaucracies take all year to release funds and then expect NGOs to work miracles quickly. 
I’ve been busy writing new, and rewriting old, concept notes for funding applications, and trying to train local staff to do this. Writing good concept notes is hard at the best of times, you need to be succinct and accurate, paying attention to prospective donors requirements, keeping everything informative enough but concise. Even when English is your first language this takes time and concentration, when its your third or fourth language…..
My approach is to do some examples across the types of projects we do, get people up to speed with the process of identification of possible donors, sending these concept notes out  to donors, and tracking these. Then to work through variants on these getting staff to adapt and change existing ones, before tackling trying to write one from scratch. Only then will I address the question of projects budgets as the trainee is not confident numerically. I’ve a maximum of 9 months left here, which back home would be loads of time for such a task, but here, progress is much slower, so it feels a real challenge.
Over and above this I am working with Mr P to compile a project plan for a major transformational project which if we can get funding will make a substantial change to what the NGO is able to achieve in the medium and long term future. So that’s the challenge for the rest of this year!
Here is some of the reasons why all this desk work is needed….
  • 1 in every 10 children is disabled in India.
  • 70 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their first birthday.
  • More than 1 in 3 women in India and over 60% of children in India are anaemic.
  • 1 in every 100 children in India between age group of 0-14 years suffers from acute respiratory infection.
  • 23% of India's children are underweight at birth.
  • More that 50% of India's children are malnourished.
  • 50% of Indian children aged 6-18 do not go to school.
  • Every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.
  • 1 out of 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 4.
  • 3 lakh (3 x 100,000) more girls than boys die every year.
  • 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.
  • 25% of the victims of commercial sexual exploitation in India are below 18 years of age.
  • About 80% of child labour is engaged in agricultural work.
  • 90% working children are in rural India.
  • 17 million children in India work as per official estimates.
  • 80% of these are found in the 5 metros.
  • 71% of them are illiterate.
  • 3% of India's children are mentally/physically challenged.
  • Mentally/physically challenged girls are at a particular risk to violence and abuse.
The Districts of Orissa where we work are mainly populated by Scheduled Castes  (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), formally recognised designations.  For all statistics rural areas of SC/ST are among the worse areas.
The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Orissa is 65 deaths per 1000 live births, one of the highest State levels in the country[1]. The WHO[2] report that IMR, CMR and U5CMR are all consistently higher for ST than for rural communities in general, which in turn are higher than the National figures. They report that in ST communities 6 out of 10 children are both acutely and chronically undernourished and 8 out of 10 are anaemic. All the parameters for under nutrition are higher in the ST than the National and the rural average:
57% of ST children are Underweight (Rural – 50% and National – 39%)
55% of ST children are stunted (Rural – 50% and National 45%),
29% of ST children are wasted (Rural – 25% and National 19%)
78% of ST children are anaemic (Rural – 71% and National – 67%).
Likewise with regard to Adult health ST communities:
41% of ST men (National – 34%; Rural – 38%) are undernourished with Body Mass Index (BMI) of <18.5.
47% of ST women (National – 36%; Rural – 41%) are undernourished with Body Mass Index (BMI) of <18.5.
40% of ST men (National – 25%; Rural – 28%) are anaemic.
69% of ST women (National – 55%; Rural 57%) are anaemic.
[2] WHO Report of the study to understand the Health Status & Healthcare Systems in selected tribal areas of India


  1. Keep up your efforts Sheila. Sounds like that Three Cups of Tea guy could do a lot of good in India. Education is the first step...

  2. Tx Molly, I agree about the importance of education and about Greg Mortenson's approach. There's an interesting education debate happening about Mother Tongue v English Language Education.

    I've been watching my landlady's daughter who has moved this year into grade 8 go through the change from having teaching done in Oriya, her mother tongue, with English and Hindi lessons, into having all her subject be taught only in English. She's lucky she gets extra tuition paid for and her father's English is very good. Many children are not so lucky and I am sure some will get left behind. She clearly has a linguistic bent but her prospects of exploring it further are limited, she has no opportunity even with parents who can pay of learning any other world language unless she goes to study at college in Delhi.

    Meanwhile the daughter of my NGO head has just started her new school, she is 4, and earlier this week proudly came to show me all the workbooks she gets as part of her school fees - English, Hindi and Oriya, writing the different scripts, learning her alphabets etc. Very nice books.

    It makes me wonder what the situation is in state schools which most of the neighbourhood children go to where only Oriya is taught and without parental fees I am sure the educational materials and teaching standards will be poorer.

    Then there is our school for children who have been labouring, we school them through 5 years in just 3! Mixed ages, girls and boys. It is hard work for them. The last intake is just finishing and going into mainstream school. One of our current tasks is to find money to take another intake. With a very low rate of non progression to mainstream schools of 3 in 200 but with government monies drying up this year, I really hope we can find some organisation to step in to fund this work.

  3. These fact and figures shocked me -and I am ashamed that I wasnt aware of this before except in a vague sort of way.

  4. Hey nice to see you here.
    Now if you were to ask me to quote statistics from my country, I'm afraid I'd be hopeless. One becomes acclimatised to what is on one's doorstep and familiarity makes for loss of impact more's the pity.