Posted by Shefali Oza
For the last two weeks, we have been working on renovating Bayalpata Hospital, which we plan to open early this summer. We requested costing estimates from different contractors to find the most competitive pricing scheme for the phase 1 renovations, which include a main hospital building, a mess hall, and staff quarters for on-call personnel.
In the end we have decided on a renovation model that we believe stays true to the core values of Nyaya – namely providing healthcare to this population while using donor money in the most efficient way possible and, additionally, providing complete transparency of our operations and costs. Instead of renovating the hospital through a contractor, we have decided to independently hire the necessary skilled and unskilled labor and buy the supplies ourselves.
We chose to not use an independent contractor for a few reasons. Contractors here serve as middle-men who take a large chunk of the full renovation cost into their own pockets. Due to large levels of corruption, the contractor’s actual costs are rarely, if ever, transparent. By cutting out the contractor, we are able to reduce the cost of the renovation and maintain transparency. This also helps us make sure that our supplies are of good quality since we will be buying them ourselves.
We have spent the last week reviewing recommendations and cost estimates for the different skilled labor required for this phase of our hospital renovations. We will hire the following:
- Carpenter – will repair existing wooden doors and windows and make new ones where necessary.
- Electrician – will repair existing wiring and install new wires, fuses, lights, and fans where necessary.
- Mechanic – will repair existing metal structures for windows and doors, and will pour cement for the septic tanks and other necessary areas.
- Painters – will repaint the interiors and exteriors of the phase 1 buildings.
- Plumber – will install water lines from the central tank near the hospital grounds to the phase 1 buildings. Will also repair and/or install new septic tanks, water tanks, toilets, sinks, and showers.
- Unskilled labor – will help clean the hospital buildings and grounds.
With this approach, the money for the renovation is spread within the community for labor and supplies instead of a large chunk going into the pockets of a single contractor. The renovation will be more time-intensive for our team since we will now be coordinating it. However, we think this is an ideal way to maintain the quality of the renovations while being fair to the community and our donors. While this decision is context-specific, we hope this blog post may help others in similar situations to think of ways to maximize the reach of donor money while maintaining transparency. Our full renovation costs, along with our other line-by-line expenditures, can be found on our wiki. We will also continue to post more blog entries about our renovation process throughout this coming month.