|STRENGTHENING CIVIL SOCIETY ON GOVERNANCE AND INCLUSION|
Since our inception, we have collaborated with individuals and organisations on areas like education, health, livelihood, citizens and society, peace and justice, and urban governance. Our collaborations on various initiatives have responded to the local needs and priorities of individuals and organisations.
We bring together work on social, economic, and regional inclusion with a focus on those marginalised on grounds of gender and sexuality, class, caste, religion, and region.
We facilitate three main activities to promote social inclusion; the C.S. Award, young volunteers and internships, and the Media Award.
C.S. AwardThe C.S Award was introduced in memory of late Shri C. Subramaniam to honour leadership at the grassroot level in India. A recipient of the Bharat Ratna Award, he was a great visionary and the first chairperson of NFI. The award not only offers an opportunity for social sector workers to strengthen their leadership, it also recognises their efforts on the ground, and has been instrumental in bringing together diverse groups, who work with marginalised communities across the country.
Young volunteers and internshipsDuring the summer, we encourage youngsters between 18 to 27 years to apply for a six-week internship that introduces them to the workings of an NGO. 25 individuals join our partners in rural and semi-urban areas across the country to work on the field, understand the issues faced by the underprivileged communities, and recognise the developmental challenges of our country. The internship is rounded off with a workshop, a certificate ceremony, and the way forward for those who choose to further their careers in the social service sector. We also offer annual grants to CSOs that work with the youth in central and north-east India. These grants help CSOs build their institutions and aid in FCRA registrations, salaries, hardware and software, and legal requirements. Some of the organisations we have worked with include Patang, Centre for Youth Development Activities, Swechha, Institute of Social Studies Trust, Abhivyakti, and Awadh People’s Forum.
Media AwardThe aim of this award is to develop informed public opinion on development issues in our country, through the stronghold of the media. With this award, we enable journalists (both print and photo) to publish articles on a range of development issues which include adverse sex ratio, distress migration, drug abuse, livelihood concerns, casteism, climate change, governance, trafficking and urban poverty. Over 250 journalists have been awarded across India which has helped build their careers. We have partnered with media houses to support campaigns on media development, in formats such as print, radio, cable, and the internet.
To address development challenges affected by climate change, migration, access to government schemes and technologies, and disparity in gender participation, we support partners to work with marginalised and vulnerable communities under our economic inclusion initiative.
We have raised funds from the government and other agencies for our civil society partners who work on agriculture and livelihood projects. We have partnered with CSOs that work to enhance the livelihoods of individuals and communities through agriculture and livestock intervention, skill building and employability, market linkages, women empowerment, and engaging with stakeholders like government departments, banks, KVK, universities, and NABARD.
We recognise Northeast India as a distinct geographical entity with its own possibilities and challenges. One of the richest regions in terms of natural resources, bio-diversity, forestry, and a diverse ethnicities, it comprises of eight states -- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
To promote regional inclusion and equitable sustainable development, we work with CSOs to reach out to socially marginalised and politically excluded communities that are poorly governed by the state or not served by private institutions.
Northeast DeskTo address regional imbalances, we constantly engage in activities and programs that address concerns in the Northeast. With a grant from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, we have invested in peace awards for the youth, structured mentoring, and creating networks and platforms for thinkers, writers, and artists through festivals in the Northeast.
Elementary EducationWe support CSOs to run schools/resource centres and facilitate the establishment of educational institutions in areas not served by state so that children from marginalised communities, tribal families, those living at the borders and conflict zones, orphaned due to riots, differently abled, and children of seasonal migrants and brick kiln workers from religious minorities can enjoy access to learning. We support 10 – 15 CSOs annually who ensure access to quality primary education to 9,069 children, and have reached out to 31,276 children of first generation learners in 10 schools, and 131 child resource centres in five states - Bihar, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya.
We bridge gaps between the community, government officials, and institutions. We amplify the disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, and facilitate their participation in government processes.
Urban Local GovernanceWe have attempted to facilitate and strengthen neighbourhoods and ward committees with our partners. In the system of local governance, we encourage a democratic and participatory structure, making the municipalities accountable to their electorate, while creating a platform for communities and local government bodies to have issues addressed in a systemic manner.
Sustainable Development GoalsWe bring key stakeholders from national, state, civil society, academia, corporate, media, and other actors to a common platform to deliberate strategies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
We provide technical and financial support to state governments to integrate the goals into state plans and the planning process. We also support civil society and partner with media organisations for community outreach on SDGs.
Our civil society campaigns on SDGs have directly engaged with more than 6 lac individuals and the media campaigns have reached over 30 million citizens across the country. In 2019, we concluded a large scale youth campaign on SDGs through 13 partners in 12 states.
BudgetWith our civil society led budget work, we have supported twenty organisations across fifteen states to enable civil society in budget engagement. Through this, we aim to hold service providers accountable, facilitate transparency, and increase participation of citizens in governance processes.
We work on three broad sectors of civil society led budget work: state and civil society budget strengthening and transparency, gender responsive budgeting, and health budgets.
We have leveraged, deepened, and expanded the idea of civil society led budget work at both national and state level with support from Omidyar Network, Ford Foundation, UN Women, and Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.
We promote thoughtful giving by engaging with corporates, donors, foundations, and individuals, and
encourage them to give grants and make long-term investments to grassroot organisations. We do this
by communicating to donors the importance of CSOs work on social justice, facilitate a dialogue between CSOs and donors on the importance of long-term investment, and support for capacity building of CSOs. Over the last few years, with support from Rockefeller Foundation, we started an initiative to influence philanthropic discourse and practice towards a more pro-social justice approach.
We have partnered with over 200 small and mid-sized CSOs working on difficult issues and in hard-to-reach areas. Our funding follows basic principles of gender equity and participation, investment in institution building of the voluntary sector, and building of grounded knowledge through its grants and programmes.
We provide a platform for the government, civil society, and the private sector to come together and move the debate on corporate responsibility and mobilise support for human rights issues.