The growth of the Not-For-Profit sector in India in the last two decades has been phenomenal. India has possibly the largest number of active non-government, not-for-profit organizations in the world. Official estimates put the number at 3.3 million. From relief services to educational initiatives, from healthcare projects to housing organizations, grassroots NGOs work in numerous spheres which touch the daily lives of marginalized communities across the country. Engaging directly with the people, these NGOs are able to participate in the thought-making process of the communities they work with and thus have the capacity to bring about long-term change. As such, the sector has had a substantial contribution to the nation-building process.
Ensuring sustainability of initiatives requires a reorientation of NGOs focusing on their capacity building to attain competitiveness. This is not an easy transition, requiring NGOs to rethink and reform their program designs, planning, fund mobilization, fund management, and effective program delivery. There is also a need to guide these NGOs to be able to identify and adapt to the changing national and global socio-political and economic developments which affect them. To equip and facilitate grassroots NGOs in the country to address these issues and eventually aim at achieving sustainable development at the grassroots and community level, Smile Foundation initiated Empowering Grassroots.
Empowering Grassroots is aimed at handholding, training, and enabling community-based organizations (CBOs) to maximize their impact on the ground. Under the ‘Empowering Grassroots’ initiative, CBOs are trained on vital issues relevant to the development sector in the country like scalability, sustainability, communication, resource mobilization, and governance by industry experts from reputed Indian and international organizations.