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NGOs get capacity boosters to serve society better

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt

New Delhi : In 2005 Shafiq-ur-Rahman Khan launched Empower People, a group that rescues girls, mostly young brides, from trafficking. Now present in eight states with its 17,000 members the group has helped rescue over 5,000 girls in 11 years.

Empower People, sustained by private donations, strives for financial transparency in running its operations. With the help of Charities Aid Foundation India (CAF India), it has embarked on a major capacity-enhancement exercise that it said would, in the long run, help it “empower” girls.

“We had heard about CAF India as it is a prominent group that helps NGOs to build their capacities. We had regular workshops with them for one year. And in this one year, we learned a lot. We know we will be able to perform and execute better,” Khan told this correspondent.

Khan’s was among the 15 NGOs that recently received a certificate for attending these capacity-building meets at a workshop organised by CAF India — part of CAF Global Alliance with a network spanning 100 countries — which promotes the culture of giving.

“These workshops help NGOs move to their goals in a sustained manner. They train us for better administration and transparent financial management – all this in the long run helps the NGOs focus and achieve more in their area of work,” said Khan, whose NGO works in states like Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana.

Meenkashi Batra, the CEO of CAF India, said: “To deliver on the development agenda, it is important to invest in capacity-building of the NGOs.

“Having worked in the philanthropy sector for the last 18 years, we have witnessed gaps in various areas of NGO management ranging from governance to compliance and overall management to reporting.”

She said CAF India, in association with United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation, identified considerable gaps in the NGO sector.

In order to help local NGOs achieve the greatest possible programme impact through the best organisational practices, CAF India organised a series of capacity-building workshops, which addressed NGO management, financial compliance, governance, FCRA laws, effective management of CSR projects, proposal writing, importance of documentation, communication and fundraising strategies.

Under this project, 15 NGOs were identified through varied selection criteria and in-depth due-diligence methodology to strengthen their capacities through intensive workshops on issues like governance, digital fundraising, accountability and CSR laws, Batra said.

Gayatri Subramaniam, Chief Programme Executive and Convener of the National Foundation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), said that NGOs need to foster good relations with corporates by incorporating proper mechanisms and expertise.

“Their strengths must be integrated to create multiplier effect to their projects in order to ensure maximum impact. The need of the time is to carve and develop a new relationship for the best results. Capacity-building of NGOs is definitely the need of the hour,” she said.

Rajendra Tripathi, Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship at global software and cloud major Oracle India, said: “As a responsible corporate citizen, Oracle is making a significant contribution towards education, community development and environment in India.

“This requires us to work with more than 70 not-for-profit organisations to efficiently drive our CSR strategy . This is where an organisation like CAF India plays a crucial role in mentoring the NGO partners – guiding, managing, reviewing and monitoring their work, in the process building their capacities along the CSR journey.”

Tanuja Birla, Senior Director, AON, a leading MNC that provides risk management and human resource solutions, said: “Corporates, embracing CSR in its true spirit, have created systems and processes to empower communities and make a deep impact.”

“Teaming up with NGOs was an unmatchable experience. The ability to scale up and provide direction has been a key to this. To deliver more effectively, it is crucial to build capacities of NGOs as part of the larger goal of benefiting society.”

According to Mala Bhandari, Founder-Director of Social and Development Research and Action Group (SADRAG) that works on child rights and basic education, NGOs were able to strengthen their operational processes and capacities after they took the capacity-building workshops.

Batra said that NGOs are driven by their passion to make a change in society, but need training and guidance so that the end beneficiary is not just society or community but the country as a whole.