"I have a dream..." Not one, but many dreams for 2022!

Aronee Ghosh
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December 21, 2021
Our dream is to grow further

Leverage existing partnerships

One of the biggest wins towards reaching 75K+ Dost Users in 2022 will be renewing our collaboration with UNICEF into a multi-year partnership with more states on board. This will also include scaling laterally within the existing states. In Uttar Pradesh, we aspire the Dular project currently running in two districts to spread to the other two districts in the same Chitrakoot division. But the ultimate achievement would be to become a statewide program.

Scale-up with institutions that co-own the program

Direct intervention with at least two more state governments will be the other way to meet growth targets. Also, we hope in 2022, Uttarakhand Govt. adopts a state-wide implementation by allocating the program a state budget, backed with a three-year MoU. For starters, expansion to more districts in Uttarakhand, including the hill districts will be advantageous. This will also help us to learn how to design a direct implementation operational model for a district and support the ongoing ICDS research. All the above will pave the way for the adoption of the Dost program in the entire Hindi speaking belt of Northern India, integrated with Anganwadi centres & the ICDS mandate of the Govt.

Build new partnerships with other NGOs

A couple of no-cost partnerships can facilitate growth in 2022. This may include collaboration with Edtech organisations and NGOs in the ECE domain to make integrated programme pilots and have maximum impact on kids under six.

Our dream is to build a better product

Launch more online products that build two-way communication

This will include a Whatsapp chatbot for users and Anganwadi workers, with features for selecting content/changing time or age/unsubscribing. The other ambitious online launch will be of the Dost Youtube channel.

Upgrade content to ensure it is customised and localised

The upgrade will draw from the impact evidence of 2021, on-field co-creation for multiple online platforms and inclusion of relevant modules based on user profiling and state-specific ECD needs. The other significant win will be translation to other languages to onboard more Indian states.

Strengthen analytics to support product and impact

This win will ensure that engagement metrics help us in profiling users, creating demographic cohorts towards better productisation and customisation, and mapping differential impact.

Our dream is to have deeper impact

Measure impact using observation methods

This will require us to test observation methods that measure dyad outcomes in more intervention areas for suitability and validity (such as the picture book activity to measure parent and child interaction quality piloted in Uttarakhand). To this end, we also hope to collaborate with researchers and test in-person methods to measure child-level outcomes that are either already aligned or can be improvised to measure outcomes that interest us. The win will also include an effort to move towards tools that go beyond self-reported data prone to biases and target outcomes that are challenging to measure through surveys (eg. parental stress and confidence in responsive caregiving, program sustainability)

Measure depth of impact using decentralised in-person longitudinal studies

Apart from need-based user research phone surveys, we aim to measure impact with larger samples at district levels with a reliable research design and operational plans that are co-designed with partners.

Set impact milestone goals for each state and partnership

For instance, in Uttarakhand, we aim to identify at least four blocks in terms of highly engaged users and evidence of early impact.

Our dream is to communicate like a pro!

Nail the brand communication strategy

This will include an annual report, a Dost brochure, collateral and giveaways for events, local media coverage in intervention states, and coverage in IDR and similar platforms. Another win towards this end will be publishing a column in a popular daily/magazine about our impact at scale.

Publish our research process, learnings and findings

This shall encompass synthesizing our research work in blogs and white papers. The first potential journal publication will be a paper on the continuous assessment framework we piloted in 2021 followed by more publication on ECCE. These can also include success/case stories of caregivers / Anganwadi workers in the form of blogs and vlogs.

Emerge as a sector leader

The one shared vision that drives us all is making Dost a key expert in the domain of parental engagement. To this end, we aim to host one advocacy event each at the central and state level, which will become the Annual ‘Dost event’. It will involve the participation of major NGOs, Govt stakeholders, and practitioners in ECD/Parenting/Children. This event can also take the form of a state-level consultation workshop in collaboration with ICDS, where all concerned departments like Education, Health and PRI participate in building and sharing a common understanding of early childhood education and responsive caregiving.

And finally, by 2022, we dream to become bigger in strength and stronger in spirit.  This encompasses expanding the team, learning specialised skills and forming collaboratives within and outside the team to achieve our common goals!

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