There might be no better laboratory than India for studying the challenges that nonprofits face in trying to scale up when resources are scarce. And there might be no better guide than Indian nonprofits for how to successfully overcome those challenges and become effective agents of social change.
When is a water and sanitation program more than just a water and sanitation program? A project undertaken by Gram Vikas shows how efforts to solve a particular social problem can have a far-reaching impact on an entire social system. Indeed, it can open new ways to reduce deeply entrenched forms of inequality.
One of India's biggest assets is its youth. It boasts the largest population of young people in the world. But along with that comes the challenge of educating a population that is not just large, but also diverse.
Focusing on reducing costs can be the key to unlocking results at greater scale. nonprofits in India and the United States provide important lessons for NGOs around the world on just how to do that.
India provides particularly fertile ground for the gender-lens movement, which is beginning to fund culturally tailored efforts to transform underlying beliefs that systematically disempower females.
Spotlight on Sanitation
Sewage treatment systems are being built that are simpler and less expensive.
The Aga Khan Development Network is empowering communities.
Gramalaya combines community mobilization with education and microfinance.
MHT helped launch a community-driven initiative to improve sanitation.
Two decades of giving have taught philanthropist Rohini Nilekani the value of pursuing unconventional approaches to tackling social problems. (For more about Rohini Nilekani, explore her Remarkable Givers: India video interview series.)
Since becoming chairman of Tata Trusts, Ratan Tata has shifted the Trusts' focus from charitable work to programs that seek to transform lives. (For more about Ratan Tata, explore his Remarkable Givers: India video interview series.)
Arghyam, a grantmaking foundation, takes a data-driven approach to helping transform India's water and sanitation systems.
Hindi for "friend," the Saathi Internet program enables women in rural Indian to help other women improve their lives and livelihoods.
How Jaipur Living developed a global rug business, one weaver at a time, and lifted thousands out of poverty.
Top-down development doesn't work. What's needed is a "pull model" created by locals, funders, and government agencies working together as equals.
When monitoring and evaluation are in an organization's DNA, as they are at SNEHA, it's much easier to create partnerships with government agencies and NGOs.
Technology alone is not the innovation. Rather, the innovation lies in how technology is deployed.
- For non-profits, scaling up directly linked to partnering with govt: Bridgespan report, by Seema Chowdhry, Live Mint (February 21, 2017)
- Mindset over matter: Indian nonprofits that know how to grow, by Soumitra Pandey and Rohit Menezes, Forbes India (February 20, 2017)
- Indian NGOs offer food for thought for world, US social sector, by Rupali Mukherjee, The Times of India (February 18, 2017)
- These 5 Mindsets Make Nonprofits Successful, by Ben Paynter, Fastcoexist.com (February 16, 2017)