The 2nd evaluation of the Gudibanda-Mittemari Community Sponsorship scheme was undertaken by Dr. Anita Ravishankar in July and August 2003. Though the total scheme was examined, the focus remained on Coolie children and youth.
The evaluation was extremely positive with regard to performance and impact, and concluded with 4 recommendations at the policy level and 8 at the programme level. After a very good session on 2 August, ADATS Staff took ownership for all 12 recommendations. More than half the programme recommendations are already being acted upon, and we are working on others like life skill training for girl children, monitoring system for Balakendra Teachers, etc.
This is one of the better studies carried out in recent years. Dr. Ravishankar quickly understood that our Staff and functionaries, active stakeholders in the programme, needed a theoretical framework within which to place their work with children. She did not stop with field investigations and a to-the-point report that merely answered questions raised in the ToR. Instead she took great pains to share her reading of the overall situation and present deep reflections and complicated ideas through clear and pertinent essays. Drafting and redrafting the Report took 3 long weeks.
Concepts like child rearing practices, child socialisation, academic environment, primary and secondary groups, gender-specific and ascribed roles, caste proscription, child in family, individuality, social capital, dominant and non-dominant cultural capital, oppositional culture, child focus, parenting technology, life skill education, et al were not altogether alien to some among us. But they did tend to float about as isolated lofty ideas. They needed to be contextualised. Anita Ravishankar threaded them all together within the background of our own experience and converted these into an applicable theory. In this way she has made a valuable and lasting contribution to ADATS and the Coolie Sangha.