It was not a great day for Mahima or her parents who had just received the news that the scholarship they had applied for, was rejected for the second time in a row. Mahima’s parents had been waiting for more than a few months by now wishing that somehow their daughter’s scholarship application would get through and were disappointed to hear that the documents they had submitted were supposedly not in place and could not figure out what could have possibly gone wrong. While the parents blamed themselves for belonging to one of the disadvantaged communities for being the possible reason for the rejection, Mahima blamed herself feeling that the break she took between Class Eight and Nine, should be the reason for her scholarship application to be rejected each time.
Meanwhile, at the IPE Global Office at Jaipur, the Udaan Team who had realized that the government scholarships were a motivating factor to increase enrollment and retention in schools, found a pressing bottleneck – paper and pen documentation and manual verification of documents - which are the usual practices within the bureaucratic system, delayed the entire scholarship process as applications got stuck or kept shuttling between desks endlessly. The part of the team that advocates and liaisons with the Government Officials to bring forth systemic reforms and improvement, found a way out of this rut and realized the need to connect the Bhamashah - a plastic card that contains details about each member of the family that is required to avail welfare schemes of the government with Shala Dharpan - the online scholarship portal, to mitigate this issue – the solution, was as simple as that. Now, the issue was about convincing a rigid and traditional bureaucracy to change from paper to screen.
Soon, during a meeting with the Government Officials from the Education Department, the members of Team Udaan, stepped up and demonstrated the ease in operating an online portal that facilitated senior officers present there to find logic and sense in the suggestion which soon helped in easing their migration from paper and pen documentation to swifter digital systems. This strategy to systematically digitalize the entire process that connected the checking and sanctioning of scholarship applications under one portal within a specific time-bound framework subsequently brought in accountability and transparency into the system that has established an effective working partnership between the service delivery system and the community.
Today, after applying online during one of the E-Mitra Camps (that enables the use of online portals through community-based internet kiosks) organized by IPE Global with the support of CIFF, Mahima, knows for sure that her documents are cleared during the application process itself and that she will soon have her scholarship amount deposited into the bank account she had opened recently. This transfer of scholarship amount through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) - where the financial transaction happens between the government and the beneficiary directly without the interruption of a middleman or a third party, helps ensure that any possible loss of money during the transfer of funds is negated.
Team Udaan once again found an opportunity to provide financial literacy to the beneficiaries to help them understand the banking system, the importance of financial bookkeeping, prioritizing needs and rationalizing spending. Mahima, who is part of the group that attends financial literacy training at her school, not only feels confident about handling the scholarship amount she will receive soon but also any other financial resource she will have in the future, more prudently.
This tryst between Team Udaan working in the field and in the government corridors to understand gaps on the run and build bridges to overcome them, has resulted in building the strategic cascading movement of the project in a positive direction for the best interest of disadvantaged communities and most importantly for girl children hailing from the most vulnerable sections of the society.
These efforts to bring about a progressive change by adopting multi-component intervention strategies that seek to reduce early marriages and teenage pregnancies in order to ensure the right to education for the girl child is implemented by IPE Global Limited in partnership with the Government of Rajasthan supported by Children’s Investment Fund Foundation through Project Udaan.