Efficiency standards

While this project is a charitable, non-profit venture, like many other programs in India for children, it will not be run purely as a benevolent endeavor with unlimited funds to be used at will. It is run with business-like efficiency and precision, with benchmarks and streamlining of operations. Standards are clearly articulated in terms of rules, regulations, and guidelines, and outcomes are measurable. Staff must have full knowledge of what is expected not only via rigorous orientation/training, but also through a policies and procedures manual that will serve as a reference tool for staff in all matters of operations. The manual covers: the mission; overall goals and objectives; qualitative outcomes to be achieved, with details on achieving each of the objectives; recruitment and admission of children; the residential arrangements; food and nutrition; health screening and maintenance; daily schedules for children and staff; education of pre-school and school-age children; maintaining discipline and punctuality; staff recruitment and selection; employment conditions and job responsibilities; responsibilities of volunteers and surrogate mothers; visitation rights for families of children; rules of conduct for staff; prohibited activities; security; sanitation; etc.

Since the standards are based on measurable outcomes, they can be routinely monitored and assessed. The cognitive development of children, for example, is assessed via written/oral examinations, and their health is assessed by clinical check-ups. Staff are accountable for ensuring that children meet the stipulated standards for cognitive growth (for their developmental stage) and physical and mental fitness. Accountability reports are maintained by the instructional staff and assessed by their supervisors, who in turn are accountable to the Board. Also, Board members will visit Shanti Bhavan, observe activities, and constantly find ways to improve.

Staff are monitored not only in terms of measurable performance outcomes for children, but also in terms of general conduct, attitude, and meeting of overall job responsibilities. Evaluations are conducted every 6 months by appropriate supervisors, who in turn are evaluated by the Board.

To ensure efficiency in matters of expenditure, there are tight budgetary controls and close monitoring of expenditures. Staff are required to stay within budgets and to provide detailed account of expenditures. Overhead expenses are contained and routinely evaluated. Disbursement of funds is tightly controlled.

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