The Lab – Atma Education NGO Accelerator

The Atma Lab

There are five projects from Atma’s current and historical work that fall under The Atma Lab. Each project is distinct in the outcomes it was conceptualised to achieve. Each project has been designed and implemented in close cooperation with external stakeholders. Below is a summary of these projects, that highlights the outcomes we achieved, the gap we were looking to fill, and the partners we took each journey with:

1. Future of Impact Collaborative

At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, Atma convened the Future of Impact Collaborative in collaboration with other sector intermediaries. The objective of the Collab was to enable information sharing and providing NGOs with tools to respond speedily to the unfolding crisis.

Future of impact Collaborative is back in 2022 with The Common Minimum Programme. The Common Minimum Programme is here to help you build the most critical organisational capacities needed to thrive in the social sector in India.

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Since inception, we have transitioned our support to ensure that NGOs are not only able to overcome their short-term challenges but are also prepared for medium to long-term challenges as part of an uncertain future.

The FOI Collaborative brings together social sector intermediaries from diverse areas of expertise to ensure that NGOs across the country have access to a support network.

These intermediaries are our “members” and have made a commitment to provide more than 1300 hours of support over the next year in the form of:

  • Conferences

  • Masterclasses

  • Mentorship

More than 750 NGOs have attended our Conferences, 50+ NGOs have signed up for MasterClasses and 75+ NGOs have received individualised mentorship.

2. Gati Consortium

The need to support children with disabilities and special learning needs (CWSEND) in classrooms is overlooked and often underfunded. Students with disabilities, or marked deficits, represent a growing population in any classroom due to the failures in early intervention support, especially in low-income communities.

Learn About Gati

Gati was a consortium of organisations and schools driving inclusion. Together we helped educators serve students effectively, in turn allowing more students to access school. Since the beginning of 2020 Atma has paused this project.

Atma would be happy to share its strategy, monitoring and evaluation tools, inclusive school competition model, and rubric to measure the inclusivity level of a school. To access resources developed by Gati for your organisation please email [email protected].

3. Atma Network

Atma has worked with NGOs across India for more than 13 years. With our expertise, we have been able to build a comprehensive library of resources under the Atma Network umbrella to help NGOs irrespective of sector or geography.

The Atma Network is a platform for entrepreneurs starting and scaling social enterprises or NGOs. Entrepreneurs can access Atma Network’s sizeable collection of user-friendly resources which are categorised as:

  • Tools (templates, checklists, worksheets, surveys, and assessments)

  • Reading material (content compiled by expert sources)

  • Best practices & real-life examples

  • Evidence-based assessments

  • How-To guides

  • Videos

In case you are interested to know more about the Atma Network, contact [email protected].

4. Community Connections India

Across India, NGOs face a challenge to assemble their Boards with the right experts to guide their strategic growth. This led Atma to partner with Credit Suisse for the Community Connections India (CCI). Through CCI, senior employees of Credit Suisse (CS) at the managing director and director levels are connected with NGOs across India for strategic advisory projects.

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CCI provides the NGOs and CS senior employees an opportunity to engage with each other and build potentially lasting networks. This year (2021) marks the third consecutive year of CCI’s collaboration with Credit Suisse, reflecting the success of the programme as both an employee engagement initiative and a capacity-building tool.

Across the first two years of this program, we have engaged more than 50 senior employees from Credit Suisse to support 24 NGOs in completing 31 capacity-building projects.

5. Outcomes Readiness

The Outcomes Readiness programme in partnership with the British Asian Trust.

A capacity-building programme to enable and empower Indian non-profits to shift from input-based approaches to outcomes-focused, data-driven approaches and thereby unlock the potential of outcome-based financing for them.

The Challenge

In the development sector, traditional funding and delivery models primarily focus on measuring inputs and activities i.e., what are we doing rather than outcomes i.e., what are we achieving? However, in recent times, there is a growing realization and demand from donors to ‘spend better’ and support programmes focused on outcomes.

The growing evidence from outcomes-based financing models like the Quality Education India Development Impact Bond is also encouraging more donors to explore these models. However, many non-profits lack the necessary resources, skill sets, or networks to drive this approach at the project and organisation level. Thus, it is critical to support non-profits with the right capacity-building tools and resources to help drive better outcomes in the future.

The Solution

In 2020, the British Asian Trust (BAT) in collaboration with Atma, initiated the Outcomes Readiness programme to provide capacity-building support to non-profits and drive the shift from output-based approaches to outcomes-focused, data-driven approaches. Over a duration of 2 years, BAT and Atma will be working with two non-profits to build organizational capacities and systems that can allow them to deliver, measure and contract for outcomes in future through one-on-one consultations, masterclasses and workshops.

Participants in the first cohort

Sesame Workshop - India and Sols ARC have been selected as the participants of the first cohort of the programme. Both are promising education non-profits with strong experience in implementing interventions that aim to improve learning among children.