A. WHY WAS THE MME TEAM FORMED?
Right from inception, Pratham has been very proactive on using data to make decisions. Our own ability to measure, assess and evaluate has grown over time. At the same time, we have invited collaborations with researchers so that rigorous methods can be used to understand the effectiveness of our programs. Our two-decade long relationship with MIT’s Abdul Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is testament to this commitment. Most of Pratham programs are large-scale programs. To effectively use data to guide programs we need to make sure that data collection is “do-able” and that data can be understood by all.
Hence, the Measurement, Monitoring, and Evaluation (MME) team at Pratham was established in 2013 to coordinate, standardize and streamline data collection, analyze data and establish reporting structures for Pratham’s flagship Read India program. A major objective of the team was to support data and evidence-based decision making at all levels of the organization – from the instructor in the field to the leadership at state or national level. Since then, the team has grown substantially in size but moreover in scope and now are integrally involved in most programs which fall within Pratham’s education portfolio.
B. WHO ARE YOU?
Currently, the central MME team consists of 16 data enthusiasts from diverse but relevant educational and professional backgrounds. Some native to Delhi, others from across India – the central team is divided into sub-teams – the project team and technology team. The field team – the backbone of our team – provides on-ground implementation support to Pratham team members and its partners at all levels in more than 20 states. The field team consists of ~60 personnel with 2-4 field associates in every state as per scale of work.
The unifying interest for all us is how to make any type of relevant data accessible, understandable and useful to the organization and its beneficiaries. Keeping the do-ability and usefulness principles at the core at what we do, the MME team aims to make relevant data available to different levels of decision makers in a quick and easy-to-understand manner, as well as to build capabilities of all team members at all levels. This is done with the goal to derive insights from data to take corrective actions or plan and strategize for improving, expanding or starting new interventions.
C. WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Appropriate and do-able measures, metrics and methods are essential for enabling ordinary people to use data effectively to make decisions. Keeping this in mind, from the design phase all the way through implementation and to the measurement of impact, the MME team plans activities for each Pratham intervention.
With the goal of creating a culture of data-driven decision making within the organization and its partners, the MME team develops and implements the following key steps:
- INDICATOR SELECTION: Understand program goals, assess stakeholder needs, analyze and review appropriate processes in order to identify what kind of data should be collected, analyzed, visualized and used. The purpose of the measurement is key in designing the entire pathway to impact. E.g. Developing core program outcome indicators to understand the impact of a large-scale program across 5,000 villages over 3 years.
- DATA COLLECTION SYSTEMS: Design measurement frameworks, measures and methods and systems for data collection, analysis and reporting that are easy to implement and to manage. Dynamism and adaptability are important components of data collection systems as they help in revisiting, refining and revising key steps in improving any process of measurement. E.g. Conceptualizing app-based assessment data collection for government schoolteachers.
- SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES TRAINING: Train program implementers and other participants in programs and provide ongoing on-site support to field teams on data collection. E.g. Providing training across the country in different locations to participants who may be data averse and not tech-savvy.
- QUALITY CONTROL: Design monitoring mechanisms andcarry out detailed on-site visits to ensure implementation is on track and provide support wherever necessary. Develop verification checks to ensure data fidelity.E.g. Designing processes which ensures correct data is reported and used by implementors.
- ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION: Simple, representational and informative analysis is the expected output from the above four elements. Discussing program generated data at every level is essential if data-driven decision making is to become pivotal part of the organization’s culture. We discuss dashboards and reports and share key insights with all stakeholders ranging from the implementation team to curriculum-content and training teams. This is done with the singular motive to improve the design of the program and to assess program impact. E.g. Influence Pratham’s government partners to scale up an intervention from a couple of districts to an entire state.
Technology based solutions are the key to executing the above elements and the team continuously invests in its own skills and learns from the environment they operate in. E.g. Till date, we have made more than 100+ Tableau dashboards, which are viewed and used across different Pratham programs
D. HEY I AM INTERESTED! SO, WHAT IS THE JOB?
The job title is Central MME Associate and you’ll report to a specific project team lead and the co-leads of the team. While we have a pretty flat management style at the centre, we do believe in sincerity to work, structured communication, accountability and quality work. Through a self-policing environment, we manage to keep each other on our toes and are constantly trying to out-innovate each other!
As mentioned earlier, we are involved in almost all programs in the Pratham’s education portfolio. The programs range from Pratham’s flagship direct intervention known as ‘Hamara Gaon’, which is targeted towards transforming the learning environment of 5,000 villages to taking Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) to scale by partnering with various state and district administrations. Central MME associates are usually assigned one program/ region in the beginning, however we are pretty to quick to reassess and reassign based on your value addition and interests. Hence, we don’t hire for a specific project. Work involves doing all the things mentioned in the earlier section – ‘WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS?’. We do feel that the JD doesn’t do justice to the actual work we do, however we are looking for someone who (is a/ can):
- generalist, who can adapt quickly to dynamic scenarios
- deal with absolute ambiguity while envisioning processes and systems as solutions
- communicate clearly with people having varying levels of inclination and understanding (besides English and Hindi, knowing another language is a plus!)
- tell a story through different forms of data
- constantly questions the status quo and looks for new ways to push our work forward
- ever ready to get his/ her hands dirty in the field and in the war room
- looks for collaboration and ideas from different sources
- EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATION: Minimum Graduate Degree (in any field)
- WORK EXPERIENCE: MINIMUM 2 years’ work experience in analyzing and visualizing data
- SKILLS: Great at MS Excel (Non-negotiable), Tableau (preferred), Python, R, Power BI, MS Access
- SALARY: Most of us have taken a dip in our salaries to be part of this team but are here because each one of us truly believes in the role data can play to inform decision making in dev. sector.
E. I FIT THE BILL! HOW DO I GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU?
Email your cover letter, resume and a short note on “Share an anecdote from your professional or personal life when you challenged the status quo? Why did you do it? And what came of it?” (in less than 300 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The job location will be New Delhi. We only shortlist candidates who strictly meet what we are looking for. We are extremely picky about who we hire and base our decisions on your long- and short-term commitment to the role and the organization, besides your performance on the problem case study and interview. If shortlisted, we’ll reach out to you and walk you through our hiring process. We’ll give you a call and take things forward!