By Akhilesh Tewari and Renee HoMarch 17, 2016

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Source: Global Giving


Just because we—wonky policy people sitting in DC—don’t have lots of case studies on the use of constituent feedback in social programs, doesn’t mean that people aren’t using feedback.

Feedback isn’t new. It’s common sense.   And because using feedback makes sense, people in the “field” have probably used some version of it even if they could still be more systematic or methodological about it.

Moreover, most haven’t documented it. Non-profits are too busy delivering services to have a whole R&D department dedicated to writing case studies using the jargon that will get them future funding.

Recently, Akhilesh Tewari, Director of the Sarathi Development Foundation, wrote to us to share how they’ve been using constituent feedback in their work. Below is the case study they sent to Feedback Labs.

In addition to integrating feedback into the policy debates within aid and philanthropy, we need to start celebrating (and helping to document and elevate) the great work that’s already being done.


Case study from the Sarathi Development Foundation:


This is the story of Jamalpur village located in Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh in India. It is a small village having 70 socially and economically marginalised families with no toilets. Women self help groups (SHGs) and volunteers developed by us took a decision in month of August 2015 to make their village open defecation free by having toilets in every house. Major challenge before them was that their village was not part of annual implementation plan of the government for the year of 2015.

Hence, there was no fund allocation for this village and families were not in position to invest their money for construction of toilets on their own. They wanted government support for this. They visited higher authorities and provided written feedback to them that their village has not been listed for government support. Government authorities were impressed with this feedback and request collectively made by the women and volunteers. They were assured about required actions for the government. It happened in month of August 2015. Based on the feedback; government issued a letter making provision of support for toilets in response to community’s feedback.

As a follow up of feedback with community in October, women SHGs and volunteers informed that they do not know if any action has been taken on their feedback. They have not received any communication in this regard. Their feedback was escalated to concerned service providers. The fact came us that government had already taken positive step in terms of including their village in annual plan and allocating the resources for toilets but community was not informed about this. The government letter was provided to the community. It happened in November 2015. Loop was yet not closed. Taking this communication gap in feedback process seriously, we trained women SHGs and volunteers in feedback design, follow up and information management.

Second follow up of the feedback loop took place in January 2016. Community volunteers informed that materials required for toilet construction is being delivered at household level. We could see the women standing very close to the construction material delivered at their houses. It was encouraging to see the community ownership regarding material supplied by government.

The third follow-up of feedback happened in Feb 2016. It was noted that community was not happy with the quality of material such as bricks to be used for the toilets and provided feedback to service providers and village head (Elected representative of the village). Construction of toilets was put on the hold.

The fourth follow up in March 2016 informed that the service providers have taken corrective steps. Community is satisfied with the material coming now to their village. Construction of toilets has started. Community is keeping a watch on quality and hoping to see their village open defecation free.


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