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Alif Laila Electronic Club Voting
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Should ADP fund Alif Laila's Electronics Club project?
Vote closed!
Fund $6000
21%
 21%  [ 3 ]
Fund $3000
64%
 64%  [ 9 ]
No Funding
14%
 14%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 14

Author Message
Nadia Shaikh



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Pakistan
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:04 pm    Post subject: Alif Laila Electronic Club Voting Reply with quote

Project Name: Electronics Club
ADP Project Champion: Tasneem Zahir
NGO Name: Alif Laila
Location: Lahore
Funds Requested: $6,000 (US)
Direct Impact: about 450 government school students

Please make sure you have read all related discussions, threads and documents before casting your vote. It is only fair to all the members, the NGO and ADP that you have read everything before making your decision. Below are links to discussion and documentation regarding this project.

Forum threads:
Alif Laila (AL) Book Bus Project http://developpakistan.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=20 list the intial questions raised from project discussion.
AL Project Update
http://developpakistan.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54. This thread includes the grant proposal from Alif Laila, the Electronics Club cirriculum and minutes from Tasneem and my site-visit to Alif Laila.

Earlier this year Mubarik also visited Alif Laila. The minutes from her visit are on our website: http://www.developpakistan.org/SiteVisits-AlifLaila.htm

The meeting minutes from 13th Feb and 17th March, also give details about the group discussion on supporting this project. http://www.developpakistan.org/Events-Meetings.htm

To take full advantage of the forum, we would like people to back their votes with a reason. This will help the Project Champion get an insight on why we are accepting or rejecting the project, and relay the information back to the NGO. Also this excerise will help each one of us improve upon our critical thinking as we cast our votes.

If you have any question or need clarification please feel free to contact the Project Champion directly or post your concerns here.

The poll will be open for 5 days.

Happy Voting!
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Nadia Shaikh



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Pakistan
PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My vote: fund 6K.

I have been looking at the work that Alif Laila is doing and it is truly fantastic. The book bus, book publications and the clubs have incredible impact on the children. The are giving government school children a chance to explore their creativity and imagination. Their programs help a child gain confidence, to discover new opportunities and talents. It helps them think outside the book, which frankly our current school system just does not allow. These are some priceless gifts right there.

Alif Laila has a solid model, and the people working here very open to new ideas, sharing their lesson learnts and passionate about what they are doing.

The organization is sustainable, afterall they have been serving the govt kids for 26 years. They are selling their arts and crafts, books and clothes.

I visited the electronics club and I think it is fantastic esp for young girls to be exposed to all this. Most girls think that they have no apptitude for science, that they just can not do it, and should not pursue it. They generally give up before they have even tried it out. So such a program is invaluable for young minds. It puts the fun into physics and may inspire these students to pursue a science and techology. The club has also developed a "kit" that can build several hundred circuits (I have forgotten the actual number) and are marketing them to the government schools.

The funds will be used to buy electronics and equipment for the club, and will have an great and long-lasting impact on the children that pass through this lab.
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Tarim Wasim



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 160
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My vote: Fund $3k

I used three metrics to evaluate this:

1. Critical Need?

I believe that lack of women (and men) in science is a critical hurdle to Pakistan's development. Pakistan ranks 142nd in a country ranking by % of post-secondary students enrolled in math, science and engineering. Note that % of eligible population enrolled at any educational level is 37%. Together, these two facts imply that the absolute number of students in the sciences is extremely low. One of the issues (in addition to a host of others) is clearly the lack of exposure to quality science labs at the school level. I think the AL lab is an efficient solution since it will be utilized by multiple schools.

2. Sustainable?

Electronics equipment should have a reasonable useful life. AL's willingness to fund operating costs, and their 26-year track record also suggest that sustainability is probable.

3. Measurable?

Lack of clearly definable metrics is a concern of mine in this program. I think an "increase in scientific curiosity" is hard to measure to begin with, but this concern is mitigated partly because of AL's willingness to work with us and LUMS to develop metrics. The project's selection by the LUMS social enterprise course is a big positive as well. Clearly, we'll have to work hard to make sure we develop useful metrics.

So why $3k and not $6k?

The reasons are primarily ADP-related, not AL.

a) ADP's current recurring fundraising stands at ~$5k/year. My personal belief is that we'll raise at least $10k this year. In order to sustain member participation and interest, it would be nice to do at least 4-6 projects a year. That translates to a project size closer to $2k. Over time, we could increase project size as we raise more funds, though there is a strong argument to be made that we should grow # projects and members, not project size in later years.

b) Since we donít know whether weíll find good metrics to measure the impact of a hobby program, committing the majority of our annual funding to this kind of project seems a bit aggressive. Impact is not assured here, and I would rather fund incrementally, once we see some results.
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Danish Saleem



Joined: 16 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 78
Location: San Jose
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:07 pm    Post subject: My Vote: 3k ( only if the money is matched) Reply with quote

I am voting for 3k only if remaining funding is generated by AL through other sources BEFORE we transfer the money, and project is executed almost immediately.

The need is there, however, I think we can find projects with needs much more critical than this project.

Same thoughts as Tarim on sustainability.

These projects are difficult to measure in nature. May be we can wait and see what metrics they come up with by working with LUMS.

6k would be a no, no from my side for same reasons mentioned by Tarim.

Few Questions:

Mubarik's breakdown of cost (Rs 360,000) includes many things, where as in the proposal they mention that Rs 300,000 would be used for equip only. Am I missing something?


I dont know much about prices of elec equp, but Rs:300,000 seems a little too much for the limited equip they are going to buy. Can we ask them to itemize every equip with cost?

Can the same results be achieved through used equip?

What are the names of the schools?
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Tasneem Zahir



Joined: 14 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 12
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am voting in favor of AL BECAUSE

Pakistan is lagging behind in higher education especially in the basic sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics. Over the last one year I have been involved in a number of science initiatives that are trying to improve the situation back home but there are a number of hurdles. To begin with how do we inspire students to do scientific research at undergraduate/graduate level when most of them have very little interest due to lack of research experience at primary or secondary school level. They are taught things conceptually but there is no practical application. Initiatives like the AL electronics club are providing children with the opportunity to fulfill their intellectual curosity, be innovative and become interested in science and research. Projects like AL will have a great impact not just in the short run but also in the long run. Short run impact may be measured by comparing exam/test scores of students who have attended AL's electronics program and those who have not. Also we could ask AL to follow the progress of these students over the long run. Finally, AL electronics club could be used as a success story to convince other schools (including private schools) to introduce similar programs. Mrs Basarat Qasim mentioned that they were planning on making video's/DVD's that could be used to train teachers in other schools.

I am voting for 6k because electronics equipment tends to be pretty expensive, especially since most of it is imported. Also after spending a few weeks in Pakistan, I have realized that things here aren't as cheap as they used to be. However, I have asked AL to send us a detailed breakdown of equipment and along with a price list. Also, as far as the confusion due to submission of the two budget proposals goes here is some clarification. When Mubarik visited AL a few months back, she met with Mrs Basarat Qasim who gave her the breakdown of costs that included running costs etc but did not take into account the cost of equipment required for expanding and updating the program. Since then we have been coordinating with both Mrs Qasim and Rabia Khan (the person in charge of the electronics club) and the proposal that she submitted recently covers the expenses that will be incurred as a result of updating and expanding the program.
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Justin Stone



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 145
Location: Cambridge, MA USA
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: MY VOTE: $6k Reply with quote

My vote: $6k

The overwhelmingly positive review from Nadia, Tasneem, and Mubarik go a long way to building my confidence in the project and the NGO.

I won't repeat what has already been said, except to say that I agree fully with all of the favorable comments above, and am not swayed by the concerns about metrics, cost-efficiency, critical needs, or total cost relative to the ADP budget.

Metrics: If we beleive intuititively in the value of the program, we should respect AL's willingness to develop an implement suitable metrics, and anticipate that the results will be consistent with our expectations.

Cost Efficiency: In terms of cost efficiency on AL's part, I expect the PC and others will study the breakdown they submit and raise a red flag if costs do not seem appropriate. Given AL's track record, I expect they've already done the leg work on this.

ADP Budget: If we accept that $6k is in fact the figure required to upgrade and replace equipment, I see no reason to provide partial funding. We should commit fully to every project to the best of our ability. If results are in line with our expectations, this will always help to promote ADP, and better enable us to raise funds and awareness. It will also help us build relationships with promising NGOs.

Critical Need: We can always argue about which project is most critical. While this is relevant when deciding between two projects when both cannot be funded, it is often an academic argument. In my view, if a project is critical and meets our other criteria, one need not ask 'how critical.'

When it is time to consider continued funding for the program, I hope we will encourage replication of the program in other regions.

~Justin
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Henna Butt



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 27 Apr 2005
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: My Vote 3K Reply with quote

I have to say that after reading through more data on the project some of my original skepticism faded. I was initially concerned as I didn't fully understand the curriculum and what exactly was being taught. However I beleive in Mubarik's report she had mentioned that the class will be monitoried by the University of Engineering and Technology. Knowing that I feel that the necessary information will be taught as applicable to the students that attend. (in accordance with their age)

My only reason for not fully funding is that the decrease to our current balance will be significant. I realize that we don't have too many projects in the pipeline, but if one does come along soon we would be in a bit of a bind.

Thanks
Henna
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Omar Biabani



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 93
Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Vote: 3K


Why not $0?

Because I DO believe in encouraging our youth (especially girls) towards a career in science.
Because I trust the recommendation of our ground team (Tasneem, Nadia and Mubarik.)
Because I trust and respect Alif Laila's solid track record.
Because I like the syllabus designed to be taught at the club.

I believe that even though inspiration may come from the smallest of things, many a times it gets rotted due to lack of encouragement from those around us. But encouragement of something demands its availability, and thats why I want to fund this project. This club will be a great supplement to their regular school curriculum and hence will address the "availability" factor in the equation. I also believe that the program will be led by dedicated and experienced teachers which will solve the "encouragement" part of the problem. As far as "inspiration", I hope this program will inspire some of them to pursue science further to its fullest degree which will, in turn, inspire others to come.

I thoroughly went over the curriculum provided with the proposal and I loved it - almost all of it. The list of equipment needed to upgrade the lab is justified - again, almost all of it.


Why not $6K?

However, I saw that 95% of the curriculum is covered without the use of sophisticated electronic equipment. My fair guess is that the RF generator and 2 oscilloscopes will amount to more than 50% of the total funds requested. Please check out the curriculum yourself : [url]http://developpakistan.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=54 [/url]

I can rationalize spending 50% of my resources on 5% of my requirements,

A) If it is obstructing my progress AND
B) If "Right Now" is the "Right Time" to overcome this obstruction

Believe me, I have tried giving my 2 year old all sorts of leapfrog electronic-toys to develop her learning skills, but somehow the damn tissue paper excites her more than any thing else Smile


But seriously, the first time I ever used an oscilloscope and an RF generator was in my undergrad - I use it on a regular basis at work now. Long before I ever saw an oscilloscope, it was the tiny motor in my remote control toy car that encouraged me to break it and pull the motor out - not the RF waves coming out of the remote control. Signals and electromagnetic waves is a very abstract concept backed up with serious math. I am not undermining the importance and impact of these sophisticated tools but trying to put things into perspective based on my own experience. You may disagree with me. It may sound funny but I do think that instead, if we provide these government school girls with a nice, solar powered calculator, it will not only excite them more towards math but will also be EXTREMELY useful for their whole house hold (including other siblings and parents.)

Now I am not saying I don't trust the judgement of those who have created the curriculum. Maybe I am missing some critical information here but What I am saying is that I would have done it a bit differently. If these girls know what an RF signal generator and an oscilloscope is (or will get to know soon), they are already ahead of the curve. And if playing with all the circuits, LEDs, electromagnets and burglar alarms have not sparked an excitement, this boring yet sophisticated equipment will not help either.
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Adnan Khalid



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 14 May 2009
Posts: 67
Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Vote: 3K (upon furnishing proof of source for the other half)

I believe that it is important to expose young minds to such tools that may raise their level of interest and motivation to learn. Having more women engineers (and other technical professionals) in Pakistan may lead to a social change by affecting not only the general attitude of these girls but also that of the masses towards these women. I see this project to be similar to the Computer Classroom project in Nilore where at least my expectation from the effort is that we may have planted the seeds of awareness in the minds of all the students who have access to that equipment.

On the other hand, keeping in mind Pakistan's and ADP's limited resources I cannot justify the cost of the expected benefits. Also I feel that for an organization that has been working since the last 26 years, one would exepect more solid metrics to measure impact than personal statements from the students.

In the end I am still biased in favour of the project mainly due to the high marks given to it and Alif Laila by Nadia and Tasneem.
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Bilal Arif



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 01 Oct 2007
Posts: 43
Location: Arlington, MA
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guy's,

I am not in favor of this project due to the following reasons.

1- In my opinion, the course syllabus is too intense for the target student population. In order to understand the purposed topics (AND/OR gates etc), the students need proper background information that is usually taught in grades 9 & 10 in majority of schools in Pakistan. I believe here we are targeting grade 8 students from the villages. You can not teach middle school students (taught in small schools in villages) high school courses taught in private schools.

2- Even if I accept the above mentioned fact, I am not sure if I am ok with this program being taught only to girls. Are we suggesting that boys in Pakistan are getting this type of education already? Based on our set-up (Pakistan), there is a much higher chance of boys to actually utilize this information than girls. I am not against educating girls; I believe this type of education is more suitable for boys based out current cultural set-up. I would have liked this program to be open for all and by targeting only girls, we are only targeting 50% of the population and thus reducing our chances of making an impact.

3- I still do not understand how we are going to measure impact. I understand that Engineering students will be monitoring this program (details of which I am not clear on), my concern is that this is a voluntary program, a student can come once and might not be able to come for the next class or the class after. In that case when she finally comes back, will she be taught what she missed, how she is going to make up for her absence? I am not sure if we can ever find out what exactly is going on.

I understand that Alif Leila is been around for a while and have many years of experience, the only way I can vote for this project is if I consider it as a hobby club. The purposed curriculum is not something one can learn by taking one class, they have to practices periodically and have to be able to utilize this knowledge outside the class room as well. I have yet to see or hear about female technicians in Pakistan. Donít get me wrong, I just think this project is not practical especially with our current financial situation.

Although I am not for this project, I do want to commend our project champions for a great job. Please inform me if any of the above statements/facts are not correct.

Bilal


Last edited by Bilal Arif on Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mohammed Anjarwala



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 06 May 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Boston, MA
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I vote to not fund the project.

Although I have not been engaged recently with the group and so am not familiar with the details of the AL project or the fullness of the discussion, I am voting against the project. My reason for not funding is not related to any of our traditional criteria (i.e. critical, sustainable, impactful, measurable, innovative), but is more of a threshold issue.

Having gone through all the material posted regarding the project in some detail, its not clear to me that we know what the money is being spent on. While the initial proposal spelled out the details on the monthly budget (which seemed to be mostly salaries), the revised proposal has ~$5000 being spent on equipment which are described in a couple of lines. If AL is approved, it will be the largest project ADP has funded. In fact it will be larger than all the projects that we have funded combined. I am not sure that we should spend such a significant amount of money without knowing precisely where and how it will be spent.

This is an important threshold issue. I'm not sure we can can even discuss how critical, sustainable, impactful or innovative a project is if we don't know what the project is buying. For example, while one may believe that the AL idea is critical in that it generates intellectual curiosity amongst children of a critical age group in a region where it is immensely lacking, that same person may not be willing to spend $5000 to buy an RF signal generator to generate that curiosity (especially considering we spent $737 on a well to supply water, the most basic human need).

I agree that generating intellectual curiosity is an important goal (i.e. fulfills the "critical" criteria), but I would not be willing to spend $6000 to achieve it. I would be more amenable to spending $3000 if the money is being spent on items which ADP members can agree achieve the desired result at an appropriate cost. I think we should wait to see what the detailed budget looks like to decide for ourselves whether the money is being spent appropriately or not. If for example a large portion on the money is being spent on expensive equipment that knowledgeable ADP members feel is not appropriate for children of that age group, then we should reconsider the level of funding.

Mohammed
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Mubarik Imam



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 28 Aug 2011
Posts: 82
Location: San Francisco, CA
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My choice: Fund $3000

Apologies for posting this so late, given that I voted much earlier. I wasn't sure if we should have public discussions about our reasons until after the polls were closed.

.I was very impressed with AL. I think they are doing a GREAT job. They are very dedicated and I think that we should fund their projects to further promote their efforts.

. I believe in educating girls and encouraging them to study science. Its something that I have been closely involved with in the past, and I have seen the impact that it has on girls particularly in rural areas.(I think Alif Laila is working more closely with girls in schools near Lahore). If you are interested in finding out more about a science lab project in rural Pakistan (in the middle of nowhere) you can check out our proposal at :http://web.mit.edu/sriaz/Public/SEPGproposal.pdf . A lot of things have changed since the initial proposal, particularly when it came down to implementation. Unfortunately, there aren't enough female science teachers around =/ .I can also share a detailed report describing the impact that science education has had on girls with the labs that I'm working with. So, I'd like to politely disagree with Bilal's views on our set-up and utilization of information. We have also allowed boys to use our labs, mostly because the teachers in the boys school are much better. You will be amazed at the dirth of good female science teachers in public schools. If AL's project in any way motivates girls to pursue science further (which I hope it will), I hope that some of them will want to teach science and I think Pakistan only stands to benefit from that.


. Why not $6K

I guess like Omar mine is also an EE bias. After having worked with students in labs.. there is only so much excitement that you can generate from using an oscilloscope (I remember the first time I saw it, I was like 'oh..'). As an EE student knowing how to use oscilloscopes is a very useful skill to have, but its something I didn't really bother to learn until college.

. Unfortunately, ADP has a small budget, and I agree with Tarim and Henna about funding more projects (primarily because it generates more interest and if we have more interesting projects coming up we might not be able to fund them).


Funding Suggestions:
I was wondering if whoever takes the lead on fundraising can also look at finding large donors who want to commit to substantial projects like the hobby clubs. Perhaps a corporation in the US or a large donor. That way if we can't fund a project, we can atleast point AL to a source, or help pitch a project to a corporation in the US on their behalf. I think I mentioned this in the evaluation.
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Tarim Wasim



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Last Visit: 17 Apr 2011
Posts: 160
Location: San Francisco
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posting the detailed budget forwarded to me by Tasneem...

Dear Tasneem,

I am sending you the information you had asked, two items oscilloscope and power supplies do not mention the company names, these are availble in the market by origin, Chinese or Korean and are at resonable price, though sellers are selling them under fake names like LG, Hitachi but infact they are not LG or Hitachi, so the informed buyer calls them Korean or Chinese.

Oscilloscope 25 MHz,
Korean origin (no name of company mentioned)
Quantity: 4
Cost: Rs. 100,000

TV Trainer
Quantity: 1
Cost: Rs. 90,000

Trainer Board
Electronic 2000 model 2000 (local made)
Quantity: 4
Cost: Rs. 48,000

Power Supplies
Korean origin (no name of company mentioned)
Quantity: 4
Cost: Rs. 40,000

Signal Generator
Leaders LSG Ė 16
Quantity: 2
Cost: Rs. 14,000

Programmer
Electronic 2000
Quantity: 4
Cost: Rs. 8,000

TOTAL: Rs. 300,000
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Mubarik Imam



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 28 Aug 2011
Posts: 82
Location: San Francisco, CA
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's some information about the science labs I have been working on setting up:

. Budget : $700 per school lab (including equipment for Bio/Physics/Chem)
I am attaching a document list showing the equipment purchased for the Biology, Physics and Chemistry labs.

. Key Impacts:

(Please see attached document).
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Justin Stone



Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Last Visit: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 145
Location: Cambridge, MA USA
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:19 am    Post subject: clarification please Reply with quote

This is for those of us not in the field, who have no clue what most of this equipment is. Would someone please make the argument for funding at the $3k level that explains which equipment is unecessary and why, and assures the rest of us that impact will still be significant.

Can we expect that AL will abide by whatever specific compromises we propose? or, or we just leaving this to some other development org to fill the gap?

I would much rather devote $6k to a strong project than $3k to a weak one. As we grow, I think our donor base will appreciate that ADP is willing to spend whatevery it takes to get the job done, so long as it is not wasteful or excessive.

~Justin
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