CSO Partners believes that the path to inclusive growth in India is through active participation of a wide variety of players, especially civil society organizations (CSOs). There are more than 3 million registered NGOs‚ foundations and associations working throughout India. There are also around 300,000 gram panchayats (village-level local self government bodies) across the country. However‚ many of these organizations face challenges such as a shortage of adequate financial and quality human resources.
By engaging at various levels with diverse groups, including governments, corporate bodies and individuals, CSO Partners seeks to adopt four broad roles:
Role 1: Being a Think Tank for the social sector
The vastness and diversity of the social problems in India highlight the need for regular and accurate information being transmitted to the high stake holding groups such as the business sector, civil society organizations, and the government. To be effective contributors to inclusive growth, all stakeholders are required to keep pace with the rapidly changing national and global scenarios.
Through the think tank role, CSO Partners undertakes research initiatives with the following two objectives:
Thus, apart from providing support for research initiatives of other civil society organizations, CSO Partners also conducts in-house research activities which inform various other programmes carried out by the organization.
b) Outstanding Annual Report Awards
Instituted in the year 2009, CSO Partners’ Outstanding Annual Report Awards was done so with the objective of promoting a culture of public disclosure in the voluntary sector. The reasoning behind this initiative was drawn from CSO Partners’ insight into the need for increased transparency and accountability within the social sector. With an encouraging increase in the number of participating NGOs each year, this initiative is a fine example of our efforts towards fulfilling the role of being a think tank to the social sector in India.
More on this initiative can be viewed on www.annualreportawards.org
Role 2: Providing a Connecting Platform to various civil society organizations
Inclusive growth requires sustained and collaborated efforts from diverse social actors. Additionally, CSO Partners believes in the value of leveraging the capacities, resources and networks brought forth by various civil society organizations. In keeping with this, CSO Partners adopts a three-pronged strategy in order to fulfill its role of providing a Connecting Platform to various civil society organizations:
a) Partner Network
Through a network of partners, CSO Partners provides a comprehensive array of services for corporate bodies, individuals and NGOs.
b) Online Platform
CSO Partners provides multiple virtual connecting platforms for those interested in contributing to the social sector. Corporate, individuals and NGOs have the opportunity of engaging with the sector by:
c) Workshops and Management Development Programmes (MDPs)
CSO Partners hosts a series of workshops and MDPs on an annual basis for NGOs and corporates. This provides them with the opportunity to directly interact with experts based on specific themes, in addition to connecting with other organizations working in the same space. The strategically selected themes reflect the current challenges faced by the country in a socio-development context.
Role 3: Being an Incubator of social innovations
Through this role, CSO Partners aims at indentifying infrastructural gaps within the social sector. These findings further lead to incubating innovative ideas in order to promote replicable and sustainable programme models in identified areas.
Examples of the social innovations which have been incubated by CSO Partners are UnLtd, the Corporate Disaster Resource Network, NGO Marketplace, etc.
Role 4: Providing Advisory Services to NGOs and Corporates
CSO Partners provides advisory services to NGOs and Corporates in order to support and strengthen their social initiatives. Through institutional strengthening, capacity building and strategy development, CSO Partners helps NGOs and Corporates develop pertinent and sustainable social programmes which contribute to the process of inclusive growth.
NGO Advisory services are provided through support on Governance, Management Systems, Human Resources, Market Linkages, Capacity Building, Accreditation, the NGO Advisory Panel, etc.
Through Corporate advisory services, CSO Partners provides support to develop meaningful programmes that are beneficial and relevant to both society and business. The support services offered range from CSR Strategy & Programme Design, Managing CSR Programmes, Social & Environmental Risk Management, to Monitoring and Evaluation, etc.