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Apart from issues pertaining to adolescent girls, the Dasra Philanthropy Week this year focuses on governance.
Apart from issues pertaining to adolescent girls, the Dasra Philanthropy Week this year focuses on governance.

Giving for governance

Ahead of the Dasra Philanthropy Week that starts on Thursday, two philanthropists address issues of governance

If there is one word that has become a talisman in our country in the last year, it has to be governance. Every election—whether it is at a state level or the centre—has been fought with each side promising better governance, less corruption, more transparency. But are there really one, or two, or three parameters within which governance can be defined? Can we really expect good governance if we, the citizens, do not make an effort to engage in it beyond casting our vote, if we do not have a say or support efforts that force us to analyse and think about how the country should function when it comes to transparency, accountability, legal and parliamentary reform and free media?

In 2014, Dasra, a Mumbai-based philanthropy foundation, launched a study Good to Great —Taking the Governance Leap in India, which identified a clear need for non-profit organizations to partner with both the government on the “supply" side of governance and civil society on the “demand" side.

The findings of the report will be discussed on 21 March at Dasra’s annual philanthropy event—Dasra Philanthropy Week 2015 that starts Thursday. “We have identified over 120 non-profit organizations and social businesses in India that are strengthening governance by building state capacity as well as expanding civil society engagement. Their approaches include research and policy advocacy, citizen journalism and independent media, transparency and accountability mechanisms, and building local government capacity," says Dasra’s co-founder Deval Sanghavi.

Apart from issues pertaining to adolescent girls, the Dasra Philanthropy Week this year focuses on governance.

Sanghavi believes “it is critical that the impetus to support organizations that work with governance and related issues comes from a new collaboration between civil society, government and the private sector".

Over the next five years, Dasra aims to direct 50 crore to 15-20 of the most high-impact, scalable non-profit organizations in this space. “To achieve this, we will engage with over 200 Indian philanthropists and foundations to bring them on board the collaborative giving platform that is already in place," says Sanghavi.

To understand what kind of support not-for-profits working in the space of governance require and how related reforms can be speeded up, we invited a few well-known philanthropists and professionals to tell us what needs to be done. Today, Rohini Nilekani talks about good governance being more than just about government and its institutions, while Rati Forbes explains why the government, business and civil society must work in tandem. On Friday, Kavita N. Ramdas will about India requiring urgent governance-related interventions to promote gender equality, while C.V. Madhukar will make a case for minimum government, maximum governance though prudent use of technology. On Saturday, Amit Chandra explains what the social sector must do if it wants to scale up its impact.

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