The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday, 9 July 2012

(500TH POST) FUNDING AND NOT COLLABORATION: THE BLURRED VISION

This is my 500th post on this blog where I share a part of my writing. From December 29, 2011 to July 9, 2012 – from the 300th post to the 500th one – 200 posts in less than 200 days. It’s joyous. J I thank again the person who inspired me to write consistently in an organized way. Thank you.

My thoughts, now it is written - I shall always stand by THEM. J  

FUNDING AND NOT COLLABORATION: THE BLURRED VISION

India have over 3 million NGOs, yet, a no-nonsense international body ready to fund development activities in some poorest of the states is finding hard to get ‘not so-big-BUT-SINCERE players’ willing to collaborate.

What can be the reasons?

NGOs work in bizarre ways. Some are very big, efficient corporations working as trans-states or trans-national entities. They corner the major chunk of the funding from national, international and corporate entities that usually runs into millions of dollars. But at the end, they are very very few in number.

Now of the larger lot, except very few, almost have no regard for transparent practices of functioning and auditing. The exist more on paper, less on ground.

Out of this over 3 million ‘socially conscious’ entities, I can say, almost 99.9 per cent are either tiny dots with annual turnover running into some tens of thousands of INR or are defunct money launderers.

Out of the leftover of 0.1 per cent, some of the tiny dots who work seriously, work like close systems. They are willing to accept grants but are unwilling to share their intellectual capital.

The social work sphere revolves around the delicate ecosystem of fund-generation and relevant knowledge propagation. But in India, it is largely about fund generation only. And it has added to the problem.

Inviting an international funder who wants to collaborate, invites an in-built monitoring system, that both of the later categories don’t find apt to their 'modalities'.

Those who work just on paper would simply run to save their skins if their funding agencies start looking for serious auditing.

Those who work more as a close system would show lackadaisical attitude fearing losing their body of work and expertise, a proposition that is always misplaced in the social works context. SHARE AND GROW.

Social intervention requires a multi-pronged approach. No State can do it alone. It needs many hands to aid to the process of the social empowerment. The whole concept behind existence of NGOs or similar entities is this only – helping the State reaching in areas and to the issues where state has not been able to.

But the way almost of the NGOs (except few sincere players), the State and the donors (bodies like the UN or corporate entities) are functioning; it is killing the whole purpose.

I remember a discussion I had about functioning of the major UN fund distribution body in India. The person I was in discussion with had a relative in an important functional authority in the UN body. The gist of the discussion painted a pathetic picture – “The UN body doesn’t do much for whole of the year. It takes final calls only in the last moments to clear funds when the year-end audit pressure mounts. Many proposals are given go-ahead in one go.”

Now that clearly tells us of certain things in certain terms:

It is gross misuse of public funds. Remember, the UN is funded by different governments and so in-turn it is taxpayers’ money.

It represents insensitive attitude towards millions living in misery, the primary target of social wings of a global body like the UN.

It also smells of behind-the-doors equations as there are always chances that unworthy proposals can easily bypass the scrutiny run in the rush to meet the audit deadlines.

State bodies as well as many corporate entities (acting as donors only with no direct involvement) go even a step further. While majority of the government funding to the NGOs and similar bodies is routed through the ‘commission’ route (You yourself can do a ground check; just float a genuine proposal and send it to any of the government of India funding body and see the ripple effects – you will get inundated with ‘cut’ offers). Many corporate entities just release the bare minimum to meet the corporate social responsibility specter in order to meet compliance issues.

I don’t mean to critically analyze UN or any other body’s functioning here. It is just to say how a logical vision has got blurred to the extent that NGOs have become synonymous with money laundering machines.

Single-minded approach to raise funds while not working simultaneously to devise the ways to propagate the body of the intellectual capital being generated by many research-oriented NGOs, has scuttled the spread of the good work.

It is true funding bodies cannot collaborate with and monitor millions of NGOs. There has to be alternative ways. One logical approach is to devise guidelines that clearly spell the terms strictly promoting collaboration with other NGOs and expert groups as well ensuring the sharing of the intellectual capital to pace up the process, gaining from the experience of one area to work on the problems of many other pockets. 

All is never lost. There have been and there are serious players trying to do meaningful things on the ground. They are sincere enough to find partners to extend their work. They work methodically to devise innovative approaches and share them across the platforms to maximize resource utilization in a resource-starved sector.

My experience till date has brought me in contact with good number of such bodies. This international body is one of them and I would love to extend any possible help because I know the intent is genuine.

Can you suggest me some ‘not so-big-BUT-SINCERE players’ to collaborate - in Eastern UP, Bihar and Jharkhand?

 ©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/