Rebuild India Fund’s Partner Workshop Fuels Collaborative Growth for Community-led NGOs

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Bangalore: Rebuild India Fund recently organised a successful introductory Partner Workshop in Bangalore for community-led NGOs. The four-day event,  held at The School of Ancient Wisdom brought together 18 vibrant NGOs from nine different States across India, and helped strengthen the institutional capacity of NGO leaders dedicated to working with marginalised communities. With the addition of a third ‘NGO Cohort’, Rebuild India Fund’s portfolio now comprises 74 organisations that are collectively impacting over six million lives across 21 States and union territories in India.

The workshop held by Rebuild India Fund in Bangalore highlighted the importance of recognising the invaluable role played by community-based organisations (CBOs) in India’s development. Rebuild India Fund aims to empower institutions that have limited access to funding and have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A remarkable 89 per cent of the participating NGOs in this group are leaders with exceptional experiences belonging to the very communities they serve. These grassroots organisations and leaders are actively working towards realising and enhancing the dignity of Persons with Disabilities, diverse ethnic groups from underserved regions across the country, and Bahujan communities in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

At the workshop, sessions were organised on managing compliance, fundraising, communications, well-being, creating safe and inclusive workspaces, and theme-based discussions to drive collaborative impact in the sector and others. These sessions were led by experienced sector experts including Pushpa Aman Singh, Founder – Guidestar India, non-profit leaders G. Kartikeyan, Founder – Sristi Foundation, and Nandita Pradhan Bhatt, Director – Martha Farrell Foundation as well as team members from Dasra.

During sessions, leaders shared their personal journeys and learnt that the contribution to India’s GDP by the non-profit sector is comparable to that of the defence sector (~2 per cent, India’s Million Missions). Community-based organisations, therefore, need to amplify their voices and work together to enable big-scale recognition, such as their role during the COVID response. 

The Rebuild India Fund’s Capacity Building (CB) Initiative aims to enhance the capabilities of such grassroots NGOs and raise awareness among funders about the importance of institutional capacity building, complemented by an equitable funding environment. The Rebuild India Fund, led by Dasra, provides organisations the flexibility to access Capacity Building support in addition to funding with the purpose to inspire behaviour change among key stakeholders while ensuring that CBOs receive the necessary support to continue serving the most vulnerable and underserved populations.

Over the next five years, Rebuild India Fund aims to support grassroots leaders while also encouraging funders and NGOs to recognise the criticality of supporting CBOs in reaching the last mile.

Rebuild India Fund’s Investment Committee and partner organization leader Nandita Pradhan Bhatt said, “We are so different, but we come together. This is the Rebuild India Fund! We forget our differences and come together to find a common purpose. Rebuild’s sustained support for 5 years makes us resilient for these five years and beyond.”

Manohari Doss, Director, Institute of Self Management, discussed her lived experiences and what inspired her to evolve her organisation from working only with low-income groups to also marginalised groups such as Dalits. Commenting on the workshop she said, “The content is very good and it is the need of the hour. This workshop is refreshing for me as I got insights from other NGO leaders, and this is highly appreciated. As a group, we got a chance to network. We should keep the network we have created.”