JSK Reports

That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.
Steve Jobs

Background:

We wanted to represent the work done at the JSKs (to view a video on JSK Project concept click here) on a website in the form of reports. But there were a few challenges –

a)     Slow and unreliable internet – internet connection speed in rural India is around 64-128kbps. We use a 2G connection at our centers which costs around Rs 98 per month and is sufficient for day to day activities. However the connection speed is quite slow and not reliable If you have to punch in data on websites. Hence the option to give a web interface to the JSK for updating the reports was ruled out.

b)    Limited Computer skills – our rural centers are run by dedicated social activist who started using computers very recently. Hence the interface for entering the reports had to be very simple which did not involve steep learning curve.

c)     Work redundancy  – the JSKs were already maintaining a record of work done and we did not want them to do anything extra for the reports as their time would be better utilized in attending to people’s issues.

d)    Minimal intervention – Transparency was of utmost importance. These reports were meant for the world to see the work done at the centers hence we did not want any manual intervention while populating the reports. Also any manual intervention increases the possibility of errors.

e)    Minimal time lag – The reports had to represent the work done at the centers. There should not be much time lag. For example – one should be able to view how many people came to the center at Sandilla today to get RTI formulated, what was the nature of their complaints, what is the status of their RTIs/ Applications.

Experiment:

I had experimented with a web based work flow system, in which the center in-charge would login to the website and update his work. One such free module in joomla was tested which had required functionalities but was not good for us because of limitations – a) slow and unreliable internet b) limited computer skills. (discussed above)

Eventually the solution came out to be much simpler than I had thought.

Google Drive integration with WordPress

To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
Bruce Lee

Google docs is a awesome tool to create documents and collaborate with others in real time. It becomes even more powerful when integrated with wordpress.

drive

Snap shot of google docs created for JSKs

What we did…

We got google drive installed on each of the center’s desktop and created a excel sheet in it. This excel sheet contained the report template and was to be filled daily by the center in charge. I would like to mention here that our interns – Shreshth, David & Rachel did a commendable job in this work.

How  google drive solved the problems:

a)     Works on unreliable internet: Since updating this excel file did not require a internet connection, the data could be updated even without internet connection.

excel

The excel sheet template on the google drive which is updated by the JSKs.

b)    No Manual intervention: The file got synced automatically whenever the internet connection was available. Thereafter this data got updated onto the website automatically. Therefore this method requires no manual intervention.

 c)      Works well on slow internet speeds: The data synced was incremental hence the reports got updated even at slow internet connection speed which was sometimes as slow as 64kbps.

d)    Not much learning/ training required: The data was to be entered in excel sheet/ word document, hence this method required minimal training. It requires lesser computer skills as compared to entering data on a website.

 e)    No redundancy: We are using the same excel as work register and as reports thereby reducing redundancy.

 f)      Live Reports: The published report is by default set to sync in every 5 mins with original google doc hence the reports are streaming almost live data from the centers.

So now whenever a unemployed laborer goes to a JSK in Unnao to file an online application for work, his application no. details get updated on our website instantly and anyone around the world can see the status of such work done at JSKs.

website_report

Snap shot of report published on a wordpress website.

 *I’ll demonstrate how to integrate a google doc with a wordpress website in another blog post.

Update: Posted a demo of how to integrate google doc with wordpress click here

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Affordable Vs Sustainable

“What should be the charges for the services offered so that it’s affordable yet does not impact the financial sustainability?” – This was the question in our last JSK review meeting held on 8th June 2013 to mark one year of successful operation of JSKs

Background:ImageWe are offering beneficial services such as formulation of RTI, filing for work online under MNREGA etc at JSKs.

Currently, for financial sustainability of centers, there is nominal charge for these services e.g. a) RTI formulation – Rs 10/- plus print out per page as applicable.

b) MNREGA – Rs 20 for online filing and printout of application.

Marginal utility of Rs 20 is quite high for a laborer who has got no work/ earning and comes down to JSK for filing application for work. On the other hand if this service is offered for free , it would affect the financial sustainability of the centers since JSKs are based on self-sustainable model.

Pilot at JSK Unnao:

In this pilot we would make one service – online application of work under NREGA for free at Unnao center. Center will file the application for work online and will provide the unique application no. to the laborer for free. We would have to convince the concerned BDO (Block Development Officer) to accept the unique application no. instead of application print outs. In this way we can reduce the cost involved in the print out.

Also, since filing for work online does not take much time hence it should not lead to considerable loss of revenue for the center.

Additionally to compensate the loss in revenue, we’ll be adding a new revenue based service to the center – Color passport size photos.  For which we’ll provide color printer and digital camera and necessary training to Dhanpati (JSK Unnao) for free.

Idea is to earn profit from color photo service and cross-subsidize essential service – online work application.

The results of this experiment are yet to be seen. If this experiment is successful, it would be very useful for the laborers/ villagers and we would subsequently roll it out at other centers as well.*

* I’ll post the outcome of this experiment soon.

Update: The news about laborers filing for work online through JSK got covered in “The Tribune”. Here is a link to the complete article: http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130721/edit.htm#2

Has Aamir Khan got it wrong

(Is this advertisement pro littering?)

Abstract

Can Advertisements created to discourage littering go wrong and do the opposite instead? Researches (Cialdini, Reno, & Kallgren, 1990 Experiment 1) have proved that the famous American ad, Iron Eyes Cody 1- 16th best television commercial of all time (by TV Guide magazine 1999), broadcasted for many years in the 1970s and 1980s intended to discourage littering may have gone wrong.

Several years after the Iron Eyes Cody ad, could the Aamir Khan Advertisement have repeated the same mistake? This article will analyse an ad designed to discourage littering at public places.

Watch the PSA

You may watch the PSA( public service announcement) below, think about its effectiveness and come back to the article. Non- Hindi speakers may read the below transcript and then watch the ad for better comprehension.

The ad begins with a very famous movie actor speaking – “India today, due to fast development, is being perceived by the world as a great nation. However the world also has another impression about as well… Let’s watch”. Then you see foreign tourist getting surprised and disgusted by people littering at public places in India. It ends with the actor saying “Consciously or unconsciously are you too are putting up such an image of your nation…. You respect is in your own hands. ”

Analysis

Let’s analyse the effectiveness of this PSA (public service announcement) based on two broad areas of research in social psychology:

1.Persuasion Style : Central Vs Peripheral Route-The current ad is trying to say that you must keep your cities clean because your nation’s image is at stake in front of foreign tourists. In doing so it uses peripheral route to persuasion. It may be noted here that this is the first major PSA regarding littering. Keeping this in mind, this PSA raises two questions in the mid of viewers–

a)      Should we not have a clean city/ nation if there were no tourists?

b)      Is cleanliness for our own good or for us to appear better to a tourist?

Message content, which is an important component of persuasion style, is neither logical (as per above reasons) nor does it arouse strong emotions, for which this ad presents a weak argument. (Cacioppo & others, 1983, 1996; Hovland & others, 1949)

2. Crafting Normative message:Tourists arriving at a swanky new airport encounter a citizen spitting on the airport floor. On seeing a foreign tourist noticing him, this man casually waves at him. In another visual a girl is seen casually throwing a banana peel. While in the last visual a boy is seen peeing on the side of a highway road.

The Cleanliness India PSA uses tourist’s reaction/ disgust as injunctive norm against littering.

However, similar to Iron Eyes Cody PSA, the resultant impact of injunctive norm against littering may be undermined by the unintended presentation of a descriptive norm for littering. In each of the three acts the public is shown as very casual about littering even on being spotted by the tourist. Since we are using tourist’s reaction as an injunctive norm, public’s descriptive norm, despite being spotted littering, may undermine the injunctive norm. Casual reaction shown by the citizen even on being spotted littering by a foreign tourist may be an indicator of pro-littering descriptive norm. (Cialdini, Reno, & Kallgren, 1990 Experiment 1)

This representation of descriptive norm – “that littering is very common and many people are doing this undesirable thing” lurks the powerful and undercutting message “Many people are doing this.”

Moreover humorous representation of descriptive norm, when the banana peel casually thrown away falls on the camera of a tourist, is especially damaging since propagates descriptive norm for littering in a humorous way.

Suggestion for improvement

If i were to suggest a revision of Cleanliness campaign in India, then –

a)      Follow central route of persuasion:Since this is the first such PSA in India, it must directly address the problem instead of relating it to something secondary as from a tourist’s point of view.  I think the ad must focus on building strong central argument on cleanliness than using peripheral cues such as foreign tourist finding littering disgusting.

I advocate the use of strong central argument since according to Persuasion research by Richard Petty and John Cacioppo (1986; Petty & others, 2005), and Alice Eagly and Shelly Chaiken (1993), when people are motivated and able to think about an issue, they are likely to take the central route to persuasion – focussing on the arguments. Cleanliness is one such issue about which there is already enough awareness and people know the importance of it. Hence the current campaign, using a peripheral route to persuasion by saying that we must keep our cities clean because a foreign tourist will feel disgusted by it, creates little impact.

b)      If we were to revise the current PSA then a conceptually meaningful modification of changing the depicted public’s reaction on being spotted littering from casual to shame would change the perceived descriptive norm regarding littering. Also removal of damaging humours depiction of banana peel falling on tourist’s camera is a must. Then when the tourists appear disgusted on seeing littering, viewers would be exposed to injunctive and descriptive norms guiding behaviour in the same direction.

 

Watch Iron Eyes Cody PSA

Janta Suchna Kendra

Video

This video was made when we started the centers last year. Now after more than a year of its operation, we are happy that the project has lived up to the vision.

Today with eight centers operational in rural UP we have opened one center in Patna, Bihar as well.The centers have become financially sustainable and have
– formulated more than nine hundred RTI/ Applications for the people.
– organized free RTI awareness camps in rural areas
– helped people with making available information available online on the Govt. websites e.g. Land Records, APL/BPL list etc.
– giving opportunity to students to experience the grassroots reality & activism.

We look forward to increasing the reach and services in the coming year.

Publishing Google Docs on a website

Pre-Requisite:

1.Google Doc- which is to be published

2. Access to website post/page editor – where the google doc needs to be published

Steps:

1. Open the google doc you want to publish and click on “File” shown belowFile_gd_demo

2. Click on Publish to web:

publish

3. Select “HTML to embed in a page”:

html

4. Copy the code

link

5. Paste the code in the text area of page where you wish you publish the report.

htwd

Sample Published Google Doc:

website

Thanks.