Grassroots NGOs & CBOs in India all set to “Change the Game”

First dedicated e-learning portal for grassroots NGOs to enable self-sustainability of local community welfare projects


New Delhi, February 23, 2017 : Development is always bottom-up. As we move forward to a “Digital India”, it is important that benefits of improved access to technology and internet reach the very bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. It is equally vital that digitalisation is integrated with the larger objective of meeting the long-term development goals at the grassroots level. Unfortunately, the development sector has remained untouched so far by the digital advancements in the country and continues to struggle with sustenance challenges due to various internal and external factors.

During the last couple of decades, India has emerged as a progressive economy amidst global meltdown, shrugging off the title of a developing economy. Consequently, the interest of funding agencies from developed countries, which earlier invested in welfare initiatives in India, has shifted towards conflict zones and poorer countries.

Of late, there have been various developments within the country like CSR being made mandatory for corporates, increased spending capacity of the middle class that has opened up hitherto unavailable resource avenues for development sector. Corporate or individual donors or government bodies have ample resources which can be channelized to achieve developmental outcomes while also ensuring optimal utilisation of funds.

While larger organisations or INGOs are able to tap into donor resources, such funds remain out of reach for grassroots NGOs and CBOs as they are unable to meet the high expectations of these donors. This happens due to their internal organisational unpreparedness and lack of proper management system, communication and mobilisation skills. This expectation mismatch can become a big impediment and often lead to non-delivery at the ground.

The growth of the non-profit sector in India has been unprecedented. At present there are 3.3 million NGOs in the country, with majority of them working at the grassroots level. Engaging directly with the people, these organisations have the potential to participate in moulding behavioural processes of communities for bringing long-term change. But the lack of a proper training and monitoring body hinders their good intentions and hard work.

“Ideally, grassroots NGOs and CBOs should become an interface between the community and the government, helping implement the schemes and policies to the last mile and reflecting the gaps by becoming the voice of the community. But to make this possible, there is an imminent need to incubate and handhold grassroots NGOs”, says Mr. Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder & Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation.

As a step in this direction, and to help the local community welfare projects reap benefits of “Digital India” at the very grassroots, Smile Foundation has partnered with the Dutch development organisation Wilde Ganzen, to launch the international capacity building initiative.

Change the Game Academy (CTG Academy) in India. This is a first of its kind e-learning portal specially created for, and dedicated to build the capacities of, grassroots NGOs and CBOs.

The focus of CTG Academy would be on strengthen the capacities of grassroots organisations in three main domains: organisational capacity, local fundraising, and mobilising support. Majorly, it would enable the grassroots NGOs to raise support locally and diversify their resources, so that community welfare initiatives can become self-sustainable and their impact becomes long-lasting.

“We will take Change the Game Academy to 30 different cities pan-India and shall work closely with CBOs and NGOs involved in crucial developmental projects like education, health and livelihood. The idea is to help them forge positive partnerships with multiple stakeholders like the local authorities, corporate, government and institutions, and channelizing the collective efforts to bring sustainable development at the community level”, adds Mr. Mishra.

The e-learning platform has easy modules where representatives from the CBOs and grassroots NGOs can learn and complete the courses at their own pace and convenience. The modules have been designed by international experts and adapted to suit the Indian context by Smile Foundation. Along with the modules, the portal has toolkits, inspiring case studies from across the world and an extensive library. Taking a comprehensive approach, the programme will also parallelly have face to face training sessions where the CBOs and grassroots NGOs will get an opportunity to learn directly from experts.

Besides India, the programme will also be launched in Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa.

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