In recent times, a number of laws related to the formation and functioning of civil society organisations (CSOs) have been changed at the national and state level. These have implications on the autonomy and effective functioning of CSO. Many of the laws which have been changed at the national level are also applicable to the state of Jharkhand. Organisational capacities of CSOs are influenced by factors in the external environment. This in turn affects NGO development and sustainability. Supportive conditions can help the civil society movement develop, become stronger and sustainable as per the local conditions and culture.
PRIA is conducting a participatory study of civil society in Jharkhand for Oak Foundation to assess the present legal, political and infrastructure environment in which CSOS in Jharkhand operate, the needs of the civil society sector in general and NGOs in particular (programmatic and institutional) and to suggest a series of proposed interventions which can become a wider CSO movement building strategy.
• Assess the legal and regulatory framework, political and advocacy environment in Jharkhand, relevant to the civil society (including the role, actions and attitude of state actors and other stakeholders like CSR programmes)
• Assess the sectoral infrastructure: resource base, access to knowledge and information, support organisations
• Get an understanding of the resilience mechanisms within NGOs to withstand exigencies and how they differ among local and national organisations
• Assess the capacity needs of the NGOs in the state and existing partners, in particular
• Assess the support available to NGOs in the state (intermediary capacity building providers)
• Provide recommendations towards building a strong civil society in the state and strong, viable organisations
Entire state of Jharkhand
(i) Finalising environmental and organisational capacity assessment frameworks
The study will draw inspiration from various frameworks used by different researchers which have resonance in the context of Jharkhand in order to better understand both the environment in which CSOs operate as well as the internal organisational arrangements and capacities that contribute to social transformation and sustainable development. Once these frameworks are finalised, various tools for data collection (like questionnaires, interview guide, focus group discussion guide, etc.) will be finalised. Essentially three sets of questionnaires-cum-interview guides will be prepared to elicit responses from (i) CSOs which may include the head of the organisation and project implementation team, (ii) donors or other resource providers including CSR programmes, (iii) relevant local, state and national level stakeholders.
(ii) Preparing a list of CSOs and other stakeholders
A preliminary scan indicated that there are about 15 organisations with which Oak Foundation is working in Jharkhand. A list of CSOs will be prepared in consultation with Oak Foundation including their current partner organisations along with a list of other important CSO actors across the state. In addition, a list of other stakeholders will be also be prepared, including key donors, CSR programmes, government officials from key departments which have engagements with CSOs, and a number of academic and media institutions.
(iii) Environmental and organisational capacity assessment of CSOs
The environmental assessment will be undertaken in two stages. In the first stage, the study team will assess the CSO environment through a comprehensive literature survey and analysis of legal, political and resource environment in which CSOs operate in Jharkhand. In addition, a number of programmes and schemes of various ministries and departments of the national and Jharkhand government also involve CSOs in their implementation and monitoring. These programmes and schemes will be assessed to gauge the opportunities and limitations from the vantage point of CSOs. In recent months, a plethora of media reports, commentaries, meeting and workshop reports have been published by a number of agencies to gauge the ground realities related to the functioning of CSOs. These documents, particularly in the context of Jharkhand, will also be assessed to make sense of the direction of this discourse. A list of donors operating and/or supporting the CSOs in Jharkhand will be prepared from various sources.
In the second stage, 35-40 in-depth interviews will be conducted face to face and/or telephonically with key CSO leaders, officials from key donors, CSR programmes, government departments, media, and academic institutions working in Jharkhand. It is proposed that 35-40 such in-depth interviews will be conducted.
The study will emphasise the existing capacity building support providers in the state, and data will be collected from such support organisations on aspects such as: Sectoral and thematic areas in which capacity building support is provided; capacity building methodologies followed in such support (e.g. training, mentoring, coaching, tailor-made support, etc.); target organisations; and methodologies used to measure the impact of capacity building interventions
The secondary data collected through programme document reviews and the primary data collected through interviews, focus group discussions, observations and other means will be organised and categorised in a study report. The report will highlight both qualitative and quantitative outputs and interim outcomes.
The reports will be shared with stakeholders in two regional workshops in Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana. The purpose of the workshops will be to share, revalidate and improve the preliminary findings of the assessment study. The responses and recommendations from these two regional workshops will be incorporated in the final report.
April 2016 to November 2016
Oak Foundation Joint India Programme