Vipla Foundation (www.viplafoundation.org) is a not-for-profit organization founded by Mrs. Vipula Kadri in 1988 to make India a child-friendly nation. Vipla Foundation is committed to preventing exploitation and all other forms of discrimination of vulnerable women and children, and empowering them to lead a life of dignity, self-respect and independence.
Over the past 33 years, they have collaborated with experts in the field of early childhood education to train women from the community to become Balwadi teachers. They set up Centers that provided infrastructure, curriculum, and teacher training. Through their Balwadi program, they build capacity within the community and government-run Balwadis/preschools, resulting in improved quality standards for the schools.
The key features of their education programs are individualized attention to each child, increased experiential learning opportunities, provision of developmentally appropriate curriculum and teaching learning material, intensive teacher training, coaching and mentoring support, stakeholder/government involvement, and community engagement.
Over the past 33 years, Vipla Foundation has positively impacted over a lakh of young preschool children, through its flagship balwadi program, both directly and indirectly. Vipla foundation has trained over 800 Balwadi teachers from various Municipal Corporations over the past 6 years. At present, Vipla foundation directly runs 49 community Balwadis in Mumbai & Delhi.
Vipla Foundation believes that early initiation of education with the right environment and support enables children to grow to their full potential. They train women from the community to become Balwadi teachers to create that environment for children and bridge the learning gap. They also have mentors who monitor these teachers and support them in all possible capacities.
To support the teachers to enable holistic development of preschool children and enable higher ownership, better decision making, and better accountability among teachers and mentors, it was important to collect, track and analyze data.
Koita Foundation worked with Vipla Foundation to automate data collection and analysis processes through the Umang Balwadi app. This has greatly increased operational efficiencies, reduced paperwork at all levels, and hence brought ease to the whole program. It has become easier to monitor programs and to take quick, data-based decisions promptly. This will also help Vipla Foundation in the future to scale the training of Balwadi teachers of different corporations.
Balwadi teachers are supposed to fill in the Student details, enroll them, mark attendance and maintain the student evaluation records in the registers, and mentors fill this data at the end of the month in excel sheets. Mentors are supposed to do teacher’s assessments through various evaluation tools, schedule various meetings, and mark the attendance of teachers in all meetings. They manually fill in all the data on the computer.
This made the whole process cumbersome and time-consuming for teachers and mentors and also involved duplication of work. Mentors had to sacrifice their field workdays to do the data entry work. That, in turn, delayed the data analysis leading to a delay in assistance to teachers.
Koita Foundation worked with Vipla Foundation to build the Umang Balwadi app to enable teachers and mentors to take ownership of their Balwadi and take timely decisions that contribute to a better quality of programs. The app makes the process of data capturing, tracking, and review mechanisms easy.
The Umang Balwadi app for teachers helps them log in through their android mobile and capture the data into their allocated Balwadis. It allows teachers to capture survey data, enroll students and track live data like attendance and evaluation of students on different parameters. The teachers can also send the report cards of students to their parents via WhatsApp.
The Umang Balwadi app for mentors helps them log in and manage the data collected regarding teachers. Mentors enter the teacher's attendance in various meetings and training, evaluation assessment and can see their profile. Mentors can schedule and manage events. Mentors no longer have to wait until the end of the month to analyze the progress of the teachers.
Our Early Childhood Education programme has steadily built itself into a robust and efficient model over the past few years - this is our flagship programme, first started by our late Founder, Vipula Kadri in 1988. So we knew we wanted to grow it.
Many of our teachers and mentors have been several years at Vipla Foundation and have been strong, traditional educators. While our M&E tools have evolved and been tested over time, engaging with technology has always been a thing of reluctance.
Koita Foundation worked with our team over multiple iterations to demonstrate, develop and tweak as required an intuitive application, Umang, which gives each teacher a way to quickly input information and then the possibility of seeing how her class is doing at the click of a phone button! Imagine her excitement when she can see her group doing well, and imagine her determination when she identifies areas that she has to innovate in to improve her students' skills! This is what the platform and the app offer the programme and it's frontline workers.
Today the platform is being used with our oldest programme - the first set of teachers that were engaged all of 33 years ago. They are adopting, learning and responding. As they grow, so do we.
It is this growing together that Umang and the Koita Foundation have enabled. It is the biggest gift they could give us - to illustrate how technology is a collaborator and enabler in the teaching process, not a competitor.
CEO, Vipla Foundation