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SRRF / SMAM organised National Workshop

At New Delhi on 18-19 February 2010

Nurturing Partnerships for Developing Sustainable CSOs


Brief Synopsis of Workshop



Day 1: 18th February 2010 (Workshop Schedule attached)


1. Inaugural Session: The Workshop was inaugurated by Dr. Rajesh Tandon, President, PRIA (Society for Participatory Research in Asia), with Dr. Lalit Kumar, Secretary, National Foundation for Communal Harmony (formerly at the Planning Commission promoting the interest of the social development sector-NGOs) and Ms. Rashmi Singh, Mission Director, Convergence Mission, NCT (Delhi Government) as the Guests of Honour.     


The workshop was attended by 30 paid participants and including the Resource persons (Faculty), on an average 45 people attended various sessions.  


Welcoming the participants and the Guests, Mr. Vijay Sardana, President, Socio Research and Reform Foundation (SRRF), announced that this workshop is a first in the series of capacity building workshops on “Nurturing Partnerships for Developing Sustainable Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)”. It is an opportunity to facilitate reflection on the key issues confronting the small and medium CSOs: resources required for the core organization that can not be financed from the funded projects. He stated that the workshop is designed to present the Struggle & Success Stories (SSS), or Sangarsh Ke Sath Safalta Ki Kahanian of  four CSOs, in existence for 40 (+) years (AFPRO) to 27 years (PRADAN).


Workshop objectives include:

  • Learning from the Struggle and Success Stories of sustaining CSOs, participants begin to develop and manage long term sustainable partnerships with a variety of international and national resource agencies, government agencies, corporate houses, academic & research institutions, media, individual donors, etc.

  • Develop and experiment with alternate ways of resource generation / mobilization from a diverse range of stakeholders for their resource needs, consistent with Mission, Goals and Objectives, thus reducing their dependence on grants.

  • CSOs having a clear understanding of their core costs, de-linked from resources required for programmes / projects, are able to recognize and advocate for financing these costs in a transparent and accountable manner,

  • Learning of the workshop will be documented and widely disseminated amongst various stakeholders, including the resource agencies.

  • Through a series of such capacity building workshops across the country, contribute to the medium term outcome of sustainable CSOs promoting sustainable development.




Technical Session I:  Towards Successful Partnerships, divided into three Sub Sessions on Day 1 (18th February 2010)


Sub-Session I chaired by Dr Pradeep Chaturvedi, Chairman-Indian Association for Advancement of Science, covered CSOs Partnerships with Donors, Government & Communities.


Sub-Session II chaired by Shri Pooran Pandey of Times Foundation covered CSOs partnerships with Academic / Research Institutions & Media.


Sub-session III chaired by Shankar Venkateswaran of Sustainability covered CSOs partnerships with Corporate houses / CSRs.


While the detailed report is under preparation, highlights of Day 1 (Inaugural Session and Technical Session I) are as follows:

  • Such Capacity Building (Training) initiatives are needed.

  • Costs should be affordable by small CSOs (Rs. 7,500/- is very high)

  • CSO Governance is an issue; total / too much reliance on the leader / promoter (one man show)

  • Government needs good partners; credibility is an issue, need for assessing partnerships (mechanism for grading, rating, accreditations)

  • CSOs known for innovations, experimentation, piloting, and demonstrations. This needs to be encouraged and supported.

  • Trend towards conformity decreasing space for disagreements; need for respecting disagreements.

  • CSOs weak in Documentation & Dissemination; needs serious attention.

  • After demonstrating performance and thus building credibility, it is possible to work with Government on your own terms / negotiated terms.

  • Certain government programmes provide for establishment costs (e.g. NREGA, Special SGSY)

  • Sustained communication and engagement with donors (Sponsors) is key for resource mobilization        

  • Consultancy services in demand when provided with high level of technical competence.

  • Partnership with Academic / Research institutions possible when CSOs have something substantial to contribute, e.g. in designing the curricula, field research.

  • Partnership with media not possible (easy?), but relationship building is a must.

  • Unlike Associations of corporate houses (CII, FICCI),  Media does not have access to such bodies of CSOs for information gathering.

  • CSOs could explore starting a separate TV Channel, in association with media.

  • CSOs partnership with corporate / CSR is promising; both sides have to provide space to each other; mutuality / trust needed in building sustained relationships.

  • CSR of industries do need to take care of their neighbourhood for development; Corporate Foundations have flexibility in choosing areas of work (geographic as well as thematic.

  • WIN WIN situation is a must for a successful partnership. 



Technical Session II: Towards Institutional and Financial Sustainability (Day 2, 19th Feb 2010) had five sub-sessions.


Sub-session I moderated by Shri Tejinder Bhogal (ex-PRADAN) ? Ms Nivedita Narain (PRADAN) was exclusively in an interactive format and was devoted to participants identifying the Human Resources Challenges that they face on day to day basis. The session was divided in four syndicates discussed challenges of Leadership, Performance Management, Communication and Recruitment. 


Sub-session II chaired by Shri Lourdes Baptista (CEO, Water Aid) covered issues relating to Financial Sustainability. Following the theme presentation by Mr. Subhash Mittal, CSOs  perspectives and experiences on financial sustainability were presented by Vatsalaya (Dr. Neelam Singh) on consultancy services in the health sector and by CSE (Ms. Geeta Kavarana) on financial sustainability through publications and capacity building (training programmes).


Sub-session III chaired by Ms Bhagyashri Dengle (Plan India) was devoted to resource mobilization. Gen. Surat Sandhu discussed strategies and approaches for Resource Mobilization and Mr. Asif Iqbal (SRUTI) shared strategies followed by SRUTI for mobilizing resources locally, including collection of scrap materials (raddi).


Sub-session IV chaired by Dr Bernard Hoeper of welt hunger hilfe – formerly German Agro covered issues relating to enhancing credibility of CSOs. After brief introductory remarks of the Chair, a theme presentation was made by Mr. Subhash Mittal on importance of Accountability Framework and how each CSO could develop one. Mr. T. K.Mathew (Deepalaya) shared his own experiences of how these issues are seen through donors’ eyes.


Sub-session V chaired by Shri Sudhir Varma, a chartered Accountant, covered latest legislative developments relating to CSO sector and covered Income Tax, Direct Tax Code and FCRA. Presentations were made by Shri Deepak Bansal (SMA Management) on latest developments in the field of Tax and Shri Subhash Mittal on FCRA issues.


Valedictory Session: While the session was chaired by Mr. Vijay Sardana, President,  Socio Research  & Reform Foundation, the Valedictory Address was delivered by Justice (Retd.) Lokeshwar Prasad, Patron of the Foundation, Before the Valedictory Address the participants were requested to provide written as well as verbal feedback on the workshop. About 30 feedback cards collected are being collated for feeding into the Foundation’s website.      



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