I) Study of IT usages by Micro-finance Institutions and Cooperatives
In collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, we conducted nation-wide study of IT uses and absorption by MFI and Cooperatives Banks and Societies in 2006-07. 160 DCCBs and 50 MFIs were surveyed telephonically. Study searched for key research questions a) Extent of use b) Hurdles in IT absorption c) Technology options. Key finding of the study was that IT solutions were not deployed not because they are costly, but because they neither have IT trained staff with them nor IT help available nearby. Study has been published by ICFAI publication in Microfinance: Exploring the Role of Technology edited by S Rajagopalan.
II) Diagnostic Study of IT solutions for SONATA
Sonata is microfinance Institution helping more than 1 lakh poor women in UP. They had developed in-house application for tracking women who have taken loans. They invested more than 10 lakhs in this endeavor and yet were not able to use the application. Saral Services (in 2007-08) did a diagnostic study of the application and explained the concept of software design and measures that needed to be taken before developing the application in 2007-08. Learning from this study SONATA changed its strategy of in-house application development.
III) System Study for Uttrakhand State-wide Livelihood project of Aajeevika
IFAD has supported Uttarakhand government for promoting Livelihood state-wide, for which two entities have been created, namely Aajeevika and UPASAC. They are operating in 18 blocks of 5 Districts. Saral Services formed a team of experts in livelihood and Management Information Systems to carry out the study and submit report on road map of digitization of the systems in the project in 2008-09. Care has been taken to ensure that the system that is being created during the project period is passed on to the community structure created. Aajeevika has accepted the report and commissioned the implementation of software.
IV) Sathi: Missing Children
Missing children in India is a major issue which needs much more concerted and systematic attention than it is getting at the moment. Based on State Police Records, it has been calculated that every year more than 44,000 children are reported missing all over the country. Of these, around 11,000 children remain untraced. It is in this context that Sathi of Bangalore, an Organization dedicated to helping children at railway platforms, proposed and initiated a study on a specific aspect of the problem. The objectives of the study was (1) To study the various approaches and data collection formats of agencies who are working on searching of missing children (2) to study the database maintained by three big agencies in terms of data structure and quality of data and (3) to recommend the process of integration of data that are maintained in distributed databases and protocol for maintaining standard data format.