Monday, October 31, 2005


Beyond Blogging: Volunteering at Akshara III

Taz Snow, Omar and I visited Akshara and met with Col. Rajan on Saturday (October 29).

See here for details of the massive project Akshara has undertaken in association with the Karnataka State Education Department (the objective is to have every single child in the primary schools in Bangalore to be reading at the levels they are supposed to be by the end of July next year).

He explained the areas in which the project will be needing volunteer assistance. These are:

1. Data collection: this is the earliest step in the process and requires actually traveling to the schools and collecting data regarding the location of the schools, the school strength, etc. Akshara is considering using PDAs/laptops for collecting data. They need help in devising software for entering the data into the PDAs/laptops.

2. Transfer of data to computers: At this stage, the data collected on the ground will be transfered to computers via programs designed for this specific purpose. At the end of the data collection process, Akshara will need the data to be tabulated and presented in a format that will be useful.

3. Data Analysis

4. Assessments: There are two kinds of assessments - at the project level and at the child level. Akshara needs volunteers to conduct assessments of the overall project (how the project is being run) and dipstick assessments (random surveys) of how the children are progressing during and at the end of the program.

5. Documentation: Finally, they will need volunteers to document the entire program from beginning to end. They are also looking for a videographer to make a documentary of this project.

All of this work (other than Documentation, which will be continuous) can be done over the weekends and at Resource Centers (that Akshara will set up in various localities) that are closest to you.

These are the five broad areas in which they need help. If you are interested in any of these five areas, please leave a comment to this post. Col. Rajan is expecting to hear from us by the end of next week. Once we have a group, he's offered to make a presentation (perhaps on a Saturday afternoon/evening or on a Sunday) to us regarding the program and how they see volunteers fitting into the scheme of things. At the presentation, all of us who are interested will get a clearer idea of each of the five steps and we can all decide which areas we will be able to assist in.

Please comment.

hey great sujatha!
ping me when you plan to head there the enxt time :)
i'm game to chip in, in those weekend activities
If you need a data entry person, I can help. I have a comp at my place, so can I work from home?
I don't think working from home may be an option..I would imagine the folks at the foundation want the data kept within the various blocks, or circles, or areas so as not to have any mixups. But, hey, we could always find out.
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Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.
I am in!
Sunayana, great! Will do.

Shrabonti, fantastic! We can definitely check with Akshara if that is possible. The first step will be for all of us who are interested to meet with them as a group. That way we can all clarify what is exactly needed and how we can help.

Thej, cool! Will post updates here as to when our meeting with Akshara will be.

Surjo here. I can take part in the data collection and data entry. I however don't have a laptop / PDA to do the data collection. But I can collect it on paper in a proper format and then enter it into the computer where it can be collated for Akshara. Please count me in. probs..

Surjo, no need to worry ; Akshara will have the required equipment for both the collection as well as the analysis. They just need willing volunteers :o)
Would love to volunteer!!

This is an excellent initiative.
Although I am in Philadelphia, US, I would love to participate in whtever way I can. I have created my community called 'Information Initiatives in India' hosted by the Digital Divide Network. I would love to announce new developments on this group and my blog.

Here are the links:

Jay's Information Initiatives in India community on the Digital Divide Network

Jay's blog on the Digital Divide Network

Let me know in any way I can participate with your blog and initiatives. Jay
Hi ,

Looks like my links are not properly displayed.

Here they are

Jay's Information Initiatives in India community on the Digital Divide Network

Jay's blog on the Digital Divide Network

Hi ,

Looks like my links are not properly displayed.

Here they are

Jay's Information Initiatives in India community on the Digital Divide Network

Jay's blog on the Digital Divide Network
great initiative ! please count me in.
hi sujatha,

i wasnt in bangalore for the last several days. sorry about not having been able to take part in this initiative so far... however, for the future, do count me in.

and hey, nice work. :)
Great initiative this.. I can take up the data analysis job.

Nice Intiative. Please keep me in the loop too.
Surjo, Sush, Bhaskar, Mandar, Jay, Indiranagar and MDemon, that's wonderful! They are a bit busy at Akshara with Board meetings and stuff this week, but we could possibly meet with them next weekend (nov. 19 and 20th). I'll call and fix up a couple of dates and we can go meet them when the majority of us are able to.

I'm really looking forward to this!

Jay Bhatt, thank you your comment. I'll post all updates and all reports on this blog, so please do check here often. And I will check out your links as well. Keep warm in Philly!
Great. Count me in.
"I just came across your blog about **keyword** and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.
I just found a web site about Worldwide Data Entry Workers Needed .
Keep up the great work, you are providing a great resource on the Internet here!"
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Sujatha--I knew I was reading your blog for a reason. After reading about 20+ of your posts, I came to the one about volunteering at Akshara. I'd just filled out the volunteer application online a couple days ago, and then I see this post of yours. What are the odds? Please let me know when I can meet up with folks at Akshara to see how I might help.
Dear All,
It is amazing to see comments of so many well wishers across the state/country. We are glad that all of you want to contribute in some way or other to those deserving children.Sujata told me that most of you are available on a Sunday only. This is fine for us and we can meet on a Sunday for a one hour presentation cum discussion with tea/coffee and samosas. We can also expect solutions/suggestions to this enormous task ahead of us.
Best Wishes,
Col.Murthy Rajan
Chief Operating Officer
Akshara Foundation
Count me in!

i am interested in being a part of this programme. Please send me the details at my email id:

i would like to volanteer and work for akshara foundation.
googled and found your page....
the akshara foundation page seems to be down.sometime back i had mailed them,but dint get any response.
how can i get involved and whom do i contact??
please mail me the details at
I would love to add on my inputs as well...for documentation , going places etc....please consider me as well for this voluntary work....
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