Chapter 6 Quantitative Part 1: Sample Overview and Description of ASHA’s Role

In this first of three chapters summarizing the Project RISE quantitative data stream, we emphasize lived-experience by introducing the samples of Mothers and ASHAs with side-by-side comparisons and then examine some descriptive aspects of the ASHA’s life, like enumeration systems and how she is perceived by the communities where she works. We present overviews of the ASHA and Mother samples, generally highlight ways that they are similar and different, as well as presenting descriptions of the ASHA’s role and community perceptions of the ASHA (the following chapters on the quantitative data stream cover an overview of health behaviors and factors affecting uptake, an analysis of influences on perinatal health behavior, and an overview of perinatal dietary choices).

ASHAs are more likely to be Hindu than Mothers and more likely to be from OBC Or General castes. ASHAs are also on average older, more wealthy, and more educated. Beneficiary communities have an extremely positive attitude and appreciation for the ASHA and her role. ASHAs are clearly motivated by multiple factors that include a desire to serve community, provide for family, and earn some income. It is likely the case that these factors are intertwined and it could be misleading to examine one in isolation of the others. ASHA incentive payment schedules are somewhat irregular and it is pretty clear that the delays and lack of clarity in how the payments are received creates ambiguity and probably some misunderstanding that could affect motivation.