Organisational Trainee Segment

1. Introduction
MYRADA is a non-Government, non-political, non-religious, non-charitable organization, registered under societies act. It is one of the credible NGOs working for poor people through SHGs, waste land regeneration through watersheds and other such interventions.

1.1 Genesis of organisation
MYRADA is an organisation working with rural people established by William Davinson in 1968 as a project to resettle the Tibetan refugees who had come to India in the wake of the Chinese over take of Tibet. After successfully setting up the credit cooperatives with them, it was invited by the state governments to do the same with the bonded labourers. But it couldn’t successfully transfer the idea of cooperatives to Kadiri in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. This was because of lack of confidence in the leadership and poor management systems. Then the community in that area who still wanted to work with Myrada gave the idea of group formation. The large Co-operative broke down into several small groups and the group members repaid their loans to whichever group they chose to join. This triggered the formation of Self Help Groups and thus Myrada entered into the field of Microfinance. This process started in 1984-85 and has been continuing till now. However the scale and area of operation has grown. It was successful in linking the SHGs with the banks with the help of NABARD. Around 1985 Myrada started investing in arid lands and thus started watershed management. With the objective of ensuring food security to poor it started micro watershed programme in Gulbarga District in collaboration with Government of Karnataka. It also collaborated with the forest department, trained them in participatory management practices, micro planning in each village, formed groups and similar other works with an aim to lay basis for the livelihoods of the poor people by providing a range of options.

1.2 Mission
The Mission Statement of MYRADA says that a) To foster a process of ongoing change in favour of the rural poor in a way in which this process can be sustained by them through, building and managing appropriate and innovative local level institutions rooted in values of justice, equity and mutual

1

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

support. b) To recreate a self-sustaining habitat based on a balanced perspective of the relationship between natural resources and the legitimate needs of people. c) To promote strategies through which the full potential of women and children are realized. d) To influence public policies in favour of the poor. e) To strengthen networks and linkages between and among formal and informal institutions that can foster and sustain the impact of development initiatives. The keywords which increasingly guided Myrada are "Building Poor People's Institutions". By reading the mission one can get a preliminary idea of the objective with which Myrada is working (a, b, e of the mission statement) and its strategy (c, d of mission statement). The vision of Myrada focuses on the following issues • • • • • • • Structure of the Organisation Image of the organisation Finance Stakeholders Contribution to the field of development Role of Myrada Influencing the external environment

It is to be achieved by the year 20071.

1.3 Area of operation
At present it is working in 12 backward districts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu managing 18 projects. In other regions, where it is not directly operational, it is engaged on a long term basis in capacity building of other institutions involved in rural development; major examples of such long term support are in North East India (Manipur, Meghalaya and Tribal Districts of Assam), Haryana and Indonesia (IFAD supported projects), in Uttar Pradesh (World Bank supported project), and in Myanmar (UNDP supported project).

1

A detailed vision is provided in the annexure.

2

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

1.4 Principal areas of work
There are eleven principal areas in which Myrada is making significant contribution to development theory, policy and practice. In some of these areas, notably in Self Help Affinity Groups, watershed management strategies, Myrada's pilot initiatives have influenced change in national policy. The 11 areas are listed below. •Identifying and Fostering self help affinity group •Empowering women and supporting children •Management of micro watersheds •Participator strategies in regeneration of Arid Lands and in Forestry management •Resettlement in self-reliant communities of released bonded labored and refugees •District strategies for networking, capacity building and enhancing the quality and outreach of field activities. •Training •Strategic support to programmes in other countries •Health •Education •Sanghamitra, Urban and rural finances.

3

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

2. Objective and Methodology
2.1 Objective
To understand the organisation in terms of its genesis, mission, vision, activities, strategy and dynamics with the aid of frameworks studied during the course.

2.2 Scope
At present MYRADA is managing 18 projects in 12 districts spread over 3 different states. Each project is unique in its own sense. The study was limited to 3 project areas namely Kadiri in Andhra Pradesh, Mysore in Karnataka and Dharmapuri in Tamilnadu and hence the organisation study is more relevant to these 3 projects.

2.3 Methodology 2.3.1 Sources of Data
Primary Source: Interactions with the staff of MYRADA both at the head offices and some of the field offices in the form of unstructured and semi structured interviews and informal discussions Secondary Data: Annual reports, publication of MYRADA, literature review, MIS data and websites.

2.4 Approach
The approach was a mix of explorative and descriptive research. Explorative in the sense that we tried to gain some insights by studying the organisation we interacted with staff at the head office by way of informal dialogues to get basic understanding of the organisation, their strategies and working style of the organisation. The semi structured interviews were informal and the staff whom we interacted was the ones who were free at the time of our interaction. So the selection was random. This was the case both at the head office and also field offices. This was adopted mainly for our convenience but this actually minimized the bias in collecting the data. We then browsed through their reports, publications and other documents. During our interactions and references to secondary material resources we focused on the following issues. This served as our check list. •Structure

4

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

•Systems and procedures •Strategy •Leadership and Governance •Organisation culture •Environment •Learning and Capacity building •Advocacy •Scaling up •Withdrawal The details of the above aspects are discussed in the findings.

2.5 Limitations
Time is a constraint, as a comprehensive study of an organization cannot be done within a period of 7-8 weeks.

5

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

3. Typology of Myrada among the Development Organisations
The programs of development organizations represent a variety of strategic orientations. Some deliver relief and welfare services to alleviate immediate suffering. Some engage in community development interventions to build capacity for self-help action. Others seek to change specific institutions and policies in support of more just, sustainable and inclusive development outcomes. Still others may facilitate broadly based people’s movements driven by a social vision. Each one aims to correct a perceived wrong but implicitly works from different assumptions regarding the nature of the development problem. The following table helps in better understanding of the NGO typology. Using the characteristics in the table, the organisation Myrada is analyzed.

Table 1: Strategies of Development – oriented NGOs; Fourth Generation

FIRST Relief and Welfare Problem Definition Time Frame Scope Chief Actors

SECOND Community Development Local Inertia Project Life Neighbourhood or Village NGO plus Community Mobilizer Project Management Community SelfHelp

THIRD FOURTH Sustainable Systems Development Institutional and Policy Constraints Ten to Twenty Years Region or Nation All Relevant Public and Private institutions Catalyst Strategic Management Constraining Policies and Institutions People’s Movements

Shortage Immediate Individual or Family NGO

Inadequate Mobilizing Vision Indefinite Future National or Global Loosely Defined Networks of People and organization Activist/Educator Coalescing and Energizing SelfManaging Networks Spaceship Earth

NGO Role Management maOrientation Development Education

Doer Logistics Management Starving Children

MYRADA stands for Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency. As discussed in the

6

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

genesis, it was started with rehabilitation of Tibetan refugees i.e. it started its work as a first generation NGO. Later on it mobilized the community to form Self Help Groups, watershed user groups etc. Now the Self Help Group concept is widespread across the country and Myrada is assisting to mobilize the community and form the groups in North/North East India and in other countries. Here it can be said the Myrada functioned as a second generation NGO where it was into community development programs. At present it has the characteristics of both second and third generation NGO. Second generation NGO because it is into community development programs in other parts of the country and also abroad. Myrada has the following third generation characteristics. It is into promoting institutions like CMRC (Community Managed Resource Centers). Its role is being modified from mobiliser to catalyst and its management orientation is strategic2.

2

Time line events in MYRADA

7

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

4. Findings
4.1 Structure
Organisations work within their defined structures to fulfill the tasks assigned to them, so long as the tasks are relatively simple/uncomplicated. With increasing complexity (multiple tasks, geographical spread, variety of services/products etc) the defined structure alone is not adequate and hence secondary structures like committees / other integrating devices emerge to complement the formal structure. This section deals the way Myrada is organized in terms of levels, hierarchy and degree of decentralization. 4.1.1 Formal Structure

It consists of four levels of which the Board comprising eminent persons is the senior most governing body. The executive director (ED) acts as a primary link between the Board and the rest of the organisation, especially the Programme Staff. At the next level is the Head Office at Bangalore consisting of Programme staff, finance & administration and the human resource group. The third level is the projects which are fairly autonomous within the broad strategic guidelines usually provided by head office. At the field there are project leaders/ heads/ coordinators, who are the seniors most in a project, followed by sector officers, extension officers and supported by administration and accounts people. Community volunteers trained by Myrada (formally not part of Myrada structure) support the project teams. These volunteers form a "fourth" level in the organisation chain that can be thought of as the "Extended Myrada family". In terms of functioning, there is a great level of decentralization in operational terms, all across 18 projects. The projects are given authority to try out their new ideas as long as they feel it is manageable. The risk is defined in terms of finances and also the distance to mission. If the risk factor is going to affect the community then the community is consulted before going ahead with the idea. They are also given freedom to mange the resources in their style and are encouraged to take new initiatives. Within the broad parameters of mission statement and the basic purpose of the project, the team at site has a very free hand to implement the project. Some amount of centralization is observed in the case of programme strategy/ directions,

8

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

finance and human resources. But here also people are given space to internalize and often challenge such decisions. In terms of finances the projects are free to raise funds at local level but they need to inform the head office. The international funds are all routed through the head office. The recruitment at local level is done by the projects with the assent of the head office.

4.1.2 Secondary structures
Formal committees exist- project staff meetings (regular), programme officer's meeting (not very regular) and programme and project officers meeting. There are also regular programme/ project reviews at different levels. It can be said that the organisational flexibility is manifested in terms of almost a continuous dialogue between different people- vertically and horizontally across the projects and not necessarily in hierarchical manner. People constantly interact hence structure is highly porous in terms of communications. The programs are usually implemented through small well knit teams. The team spirit and their feeling of empowerment to meet the project goals and do something to the community are clearly depicted in their words and deeds.

4.1.3 Consultancy Management
The hierarchy levels exist in Myrada but the tendency is more towards consultancy management. By consultancy management we mean that ones’ superior (superior in the sense of organisational hierarchy) can only suggest, but cannot impose his/her ideas. During our stay we observed that ED or any officer in head office only gives suggestions to his subordinates but does not strictly enforce them. However the accountability and responsibility for the actions is expected to be taken by the subordinate3.

4.2 Systems and Procedures
Systems and Procedures help in understanding the functioning of the organisation and also the extent of formalization. Systems are a visible aspect of Myrada. The following four systems were studied. •Financial Systems •Programme Management Systems •Human Resource Management Systems •Documentation Systems.
3

For the organogram refer annexure

9

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

The documentation system is regarded as strength of the Myrada while the financial system is given much importance. 4.2.1 Financial Systems

There is high degree of formalization of financial systems- budgets; audits, money management, account practices, closure of accounts etc are systematized. This has contributed to the increased credibility of the organisation. This process of streamlining the systems has started some time in the mid 1990's and it was initiated because of donors' requirements. There are 9 foreign and 14 domestic donors with both contributing equally4. The largest donor is Plan International, UK. But it is going to phase out by the end of the year 2007. Operational plans are sent to the donor every year and every quarter they are sent a report on progress of the projects. At the field level the data is collected and it is consolidated at the project level by the respective accounts department. Then it is forwarded to the head office. The accounts departments at the head office consolidated the data and send to the respective donors and also to all the projects. Three types of audit are done. One is the external audit, other is the compliance audit done twice in a year by Myrada and the third one is the audit from donor side which can be done at any period of the year. The projects are also audited in the similar way. The books of self help groups and recently CMRCs are also started being audited at least once in a year. The staff view that this type of strong formalized financial system has given them credibility with all the stake holders and the transparency of the systems has heightened the accountability. They are also looking at the prospect of an internal auditor at each project level to easy the process of auditing annually. There are different formats for different donors which are need to be submitted and are being submitted regularly shows the proper functioning of financial management. The fact that all the consolidated data of all the projects is sent to every other project shows the responsible and transparent way of functioning.
4

Details of donor list is given in annexure

10

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

4.2.2

Programme Management Systems

Programme based systems like multi-level reviews, frequent evaluations; open debates on any studies etc., have been helpful to Myrada to learn from field experiences. Workshops, meetings etc. are conducted to the staff to review the work on existing as well as new projects. These form a platform to discuss the shortcomings in the programme and to review them. The external agents like students for internship (both Indian and foreign) are given a chance to study these programmes without any restrictions. This serves two fold i.e. leaves scope for the organisation to improve and the student has some real learning. From the above we can say that Myrada is a learning organisation. Any project is open for study by external people whether interns or donors and they are given free hand while conducting their study. Apart from this there is internal monitoring. In a way by doing these Myrada is breaking the conventional cultural and political assumptions.

4.2.3 Human resource Management System
Human resource Management System has evolved over a period of time to match the changing environmental needs. Compensations are reviewed and restructured periodically to reflect the increased needs of the people. The recruitment at the project is done locally for the jobs of volunteers and others. But for other jobs, the project office recommends a person whom the head office may appoint after a formal interview. The basic education qualification is graduation. Most of the senior level staff are hired from outside. The type of employment has been changed to contractual from permanent in 1990s. This was to address three issues 1) avoid unionization of employees (as per the statutory requirement of GOI) 2) To keep checks and balances on the employees and 3) the programs undertaken are of temporary nature. These contractual employees are assessed every year by their project and programme officer and the renewal of contract is decided. At present there are 506 employees working in Myrada with 78% being contractual employees. The permanent staff

11

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

includes the ED, programme coordinators, and project officers. This process has ensured the formulations of service and business plans. It has made the overall working style more systematic, increased the accountability of employees and in a way has improved the documentation. Superficially, it may look like an organisation enforcing the employees to achieve the targets but as such no targets are fixed. The employees are free to explore and during their appraisal their achievements in a year keeping in view the local conditions, are appraised. The job description is very general and most of the times a new employee does not know what he/she are expected to do, because everyone does everything in the office. They are given freedom to explore and in case of problems they sit with the seniors to settle the issues and seek direction. This results in less role clarity of the job but in a way this helps in forming adhoc committees for specific programs and the employees will become well equipped with the skills required. 4.2.4 Documentation System

Documentation System can be seen as one of the greatest strengths of Myrada. The ability of the organisation to influence the policies at various levels has been mainly on account of the documentation of its field experiences. Data, case studies, evaluation reports etc., have all been used to put across a case for change in policies/advocacy at various levels. The major part of documentation is done at the head office level with ED's contribution being high. The experiences of Myrada in various initiatives have been documented in the form of Rural Management series papers (till now 41 have been written) and many publication books. Myrada has to its credit the training manuals for SHGs and Watershed groups which are regarded as one of the best training materials. We think that Myrada has gained though documentation in the following ways. •Institutionalization of learning within the organisation •Capacity building of other organisation/partners. The training manuals and the videos have been much useful in this regard. •In advocacy and influencing policy at different levels. For instance influencing national policy on SHGs and bank linkages was based on extensive documentation of Myrada experiences. 12
Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

•Enhanced credibility through back up of data. Myrada's project experiences and models that have been documented provide for clear evidence of what Myrada does and how it does it and why it does it

4.3 Strategy
Strategy is the path to achieve the mission of the organisation. It determines the direction in which the organisation wants to proceed. Broadly the strategy of Myrada can be said of two-fold:  Foster alternate systems of the poor through which the organisation mobilizes and manages the resources they need; these institutions form the basis for their sustained empowerment.  Then lobby with the official system to recognize these alternate systems in their own right and to relate with and support them Myrada has been primarily focusing on rural development and is known for its work in three strategic areas- micro credit, self help affinity groups and watershed management. Some of the main features of its strategy are:  Focus on building, strengthening and working with community level membership institutions, as a necessary path to empowerment and sustainability. Thus participatory approaches are very much essential part of Myrada’s work.  Emphasis on field experience.  Flexibility and freedom to work with new ideas and new ways of working. Decentralization of project gives them that independence and responsiveness.  Working with the government (and within its system) to be able to influence, to be able to upscale and to increase the effectiveness of programs.  Working though networks specially at district level to upscale, enhance and standardize programme quality and build capacity in other organisations to enlarge Myrada’s influence/impact area.  Myrada started its work as implementer i.e. deliverer of some services. But now its role has changed itself to facilitator.  There is always a frequent informal dialogue on strategically issues going on in the organisation.  Any new idea is allowed to grow during which it is nurtured and then later thought of formalizing some of its procedures.

13

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

 In order to have a balance between capacity building/training, field work and also decentralization, Myrada has taken steps to spin off some of its training centers under the name “Center for Institutional Development and Organisational Reform”. As such the procedures which are being used are more of reactor in nature (adhoc) and specific to the programmes at hand. So the lower level personnel are not familiar with the broader picture of strategy followed by Myrada.

4.4 Leadership and Governance
For an organisation to function effectively a good leadership is needed. The leadership and governance structure gives an understanding of the power relations in the organisation, the decision flow and also the hierarchy. Myrada exhibits the characteristics of leadership at different levels- strategic at the top, operational at different levels and situational operational at almost all across the organisation. In other words it can be said that Board and ED are at the top, programme officers at the corporate level and project heads at the project level. Coming to the governance, the board of directors (BoDs) constitutes the formal governance structure. The BoDs are very eminent person’s i.e. senior IAS officers5. The board is mainly a guiding board. It does not interfere in the working of the organisation except performing the regulatory role. It keeps track of the developments going on in the organisation. In Myrada, the leadership is also characterized by continuity. The first ED remained for 15 years and at present is the second ED since the past 18 years and continuing. Both internally and externally the Executive Director is seen as the driving force of the organisation. Everyone agrees that he is a charismatic personality with great vision and very well networked. He is also seen as someone who gives, others space and he has time and again demonstrated his ability to work in teams. The programme officers based at the head officers monitors one or more projects. Almost all the senior staff has been in the organisation since the past 15 years. The leadership in Myrada is personality dependant rather than level dependent. Myrada helped by creating spaces for

5

The details are given in the annexure

14

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

these people to come up with their new ideas and an appropriate conducive environment has been provided so that their personality and levels are eventually matched. But there is no proper plan for successor to the post of Executive Director. The problems are that the present ED is charismatic leader with very good documentation skills and he is very informal with the employees of Myrada. The successor might not be of the same nature. Then Myrada will have problem in tuning itself to the frequency of new leader.

4.5 Organisational Culture
The organisational culture is the glue that holds the employees together in the face of adversity. In Myrada the culture is distinct; though it is a big organisation it exhibits many cultural characteristics like informal talks, calling everyone with their names irrespective of age and experience etc. which are usually seen in small organisations.

4.5.1 Values
The staff is proud to be a part of Myrada. There are some cases wherein some of the staff left for a higher paying job but came back again just to be a part of Myrada. The primary relationships are strong. Care and concern for the well being of the staff at all levels is expressed beyond the organisational boundary. A value that stands out is the deeply held concern for the poor and the respect for the intrinsic capacity of the community themselves Usually when people meet in the organisation they talk of projects, new ideas, happenings in other project areas etc. Such type of informal chats not only helps in building rapport but also review the work informally. 4.5.2 A sense of Mission

There is a clear mission and vision statement to guide the staff. Even the new comers are exposed to it very quickly. Always a link is established between mission and what is done day-to-day basis. This familiarizes the employee with the meaning of mission and also enhances his commitment to the organisation. The risk of a new idea is measured in terms of its distance with the mission. 4.5.3 Teams and Team work

Team work can be seen as the fundamental way of working in Myrada. Internalization of mission and a sense of family facilitate the staff to work together in teams. Hierarchy is not

15

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

seen as inhibiting in any way. People feel free to voice their opinion even if they disagree with their superiors. 4.5.4 Appreciative Learning Culture

The culture of Myrada can be said of an open culture because they are very open to criticism. The other aspects of Myrada’s culture are simplicity, austerity and publicity-shyness. The offices are very furnished in a simple way. Myrada has evolved appreciative culture through learning from its successes and failures but focusing on positives all the time. People remind not of failures but of lessons learnt. The failures are remembered as jokes and stories. Often one can hear that “don’t do Saleela or don’t do Vidya”. This means that they have failed in some way which is not to be repeated. The failures are thus remembered in humorous way. This is helping the organisation in two ways. One is that the morale of the employees is boosted by mentioning the positives only and the second one is that failures are remembered as jokes (which usually do not hurt). Apart from the above there are stories told in the organisation which communicate and also internalize the mission of the organisation in a simple way. These ways help in effectively communicating the experiences and also the expectations to the newly recruited employees.

4.6 Environment
Working in isolation is impossible for any organisation. An organisation needs to redefine its goals and strategies according to the changing environment. In this section the relationship between Myrada and different elements of its environment- e.g. communities, government, other NGOs and donors etc is examined. 4.6.1 Communities

Myrada has been working largely in the field of rural development and hence its engagement has been with rural communities. Though it has intervened in health and other sectors it has focused itself on self help groups and watersheds. A conscious shift from “implementation” to “facilitation” over the years has ensured further depth to this focus on the community. Myrada has recently started working with the elected bodies. It is emphasizing Gram Sabhas as being of greater importance and encouraging the SHG women to become members of Panchayats.

16

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

4.6.2 Government Myrada’s relation with government started from its inception i.e. with the Tibetan resettlement. Later on its spread to three states is also result of invitation of the respective state governments. Observation reveals that Myrada’s involvement with local and state government is through it’s working while its engagement with national level agencies and central government has been in terms of advocacy and policy influence. The range of collaboration with the government has been from consultations by the government on policy and programme matters to sending the staff of Myrada to government programmes for extended periods of deputation; to engaging in formal contractual agreements; to executing certain programs; to spread awareness on government schemes. There are instances wherein the organisation has pulled out from working with the government when there was an ideological clash. 4.6.3 Donors Myrada is supported by government and private donors (both in country and foreign); 14 in country donors and 9 foreign donors. The relation with private donors is of two types. Some donors enter into partnership with Myrada because of their similarity in objectives (for example NOVIB, Netherlands, HIDA, Canada etc.) and others limit themselves only to a particular project. PLAN International is one of its major donors. Among the Indian donors some of them are CAPART, Government of India, Various State Governments, Population Foundation India etc. 4.6.4 Other NGO networks Myrada’s participation in NGO networks is in two directions. Firstly, forming networks is seen as a way of extending Myrada’s influence and impact area. Secondly Myrada participates as one of the several NGO’s that donor’s fund, to work on similar projects in different areas. Myrada has on-going formal collaborations with: i) The Women Development Corporations of Karnataka (in the Devadasi Programme, and Swashakti) and Tamilnadu (in Mahilar Thittam, the successor of the IFAD supported project for women’s empowerment). ii) The Karnataka Forest Department in the Western Ghats Project (supported by DFID-UK). iii) The Agricultural Engineering Department of Tamilnadu in Kattery Watershed Project, an Indo German Bilateral Initiative, iv) The Andhra Pradesh Government in Anantapur District under

17

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

a UNDP sponsored rural poverty alleviation programme, and in Chittoor District under the APRLP watershed Project. v) The Government of Karnataka (RD&PR) in DDP, DPAP and NWDPRA, in the SUJALA Watershed Project supported by the World Bank and with the Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment Management Project supported by ADB. vi) The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) in a Krishi Vigyan Kendra based in Talavadi, Erode District, Tamilnadu, vii) The Karnataka Watershed Development Society (KAWAD) supported by DFID-UK and the Government of Karnataka in a watershed programme in Molakalamuru, Chitradurga District, Karnataka. viii) The Mewat Development Agency, Haryana where it has deputed staff ix) NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) in several innovative initiatives in the micro finance sector over a period of 16 years starting with NABARD’s support under R&D in 1987 to promote Self-Help Affinity Groups and policy change related to SAGs. The related training and exposure programmes have so far covered 3650 Bank officers. NABARD is also involved with Myrada in developing a District Strategy by bringing in RRBs and DCCBs to promote SAG Districts. MYRADA is also involved with the RBI, several State Governments and Multilateral/Bilateral development organisations to evolve frameworks for policy change in micro finance, watershed management, and social policy and in setting up supporting structures for development programmes. MYRADA has been actively involved in promoting the SAG and watershed strategies in other countries, notably in Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. Its staff visits these countries to train local people in implementing poverty alleviation strategies like the self-help affinity group approach and to assist in strategic planning. These projects have been supported to modify strategies to suit local conditions as well as design training materials in local languages. MYRADA has arranged visits of these teams to India to interact with various development actors like NGOs, Government functionaries, bankers and CBOs and to understand ways in which collaboration can be built for development in their own countries.

4.6.5 Internal Environment The internal environment has witnessed major changes in 1990s when the regular employment was made contractual and there was also reduction in strength of the staff. The environment has been changed (structurally and functionally) to make it more training oriented. With the setting up of rural training centers and encouraging them to become

18

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

financially independent (those were later on spinned off as CIDORs- Center for Institutional Development and Organisational Reform) the intrinsic character of Myrada has changed to be more training oriented. Its success in training also reinforced this belief. Finally it can be said that the strategy followed by Myrada in reacting to its external environment is appropriate. At present Myrada has its own approach in dealing with government officials and others.

4.7 Learning and Capacity Building
The capacities of the staff can be built through facilitating learning. This can be informal or formal facilitation. In this section the learning channels for the employees of Myrada are dealt and also the way innovations occur along with their link to the learning. While the formal facilitation is though the learning channels, there is always informal facilitation in terms of providing enabling environment to learn.

4.7.1 Learning channels
The learning channels for employees in Myrada are training programs, workshops, individual projects, deputations etc. The training programs are organized by Myrada to its employees or they are also sent to other training programs in specific areas outside the organisation. Trainings within the organisation are fairly regular events and on various subjects. Workshops for selected members are usually coordinated by the head office and faculty is invited from other institutions. The trainings are the individual project level (here project means the geographical area in which some programmes are implemented, for e.g. Kadiri project area, Dharmapuri project area etc) are initiated by the projects themselves. The deputations to other projects of Myrada, to the government projects both in India and abroad and also the visits (exposure) to other projects can be seen as rich source of learning. 4.7.2 Innovations and Learning Innovations take place at all levels of Myrada- big ones and incremental ones. The bigger innovations seem to be generated at the head office level though, most of the time they are cumulative of the ideas at project level. The source of innovation is not always internal (i.e. project level and Head office). It can also be external i.e. from the CBOs, NGOs and other partners. The concept of self help groups actually came up when the credit cooperatives in Kadiri of Andhra Pradesh failed. This concept was later promoted by the head office.

19

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

The learnings from these innovations are shared across the projects during the workshops. Or sometimes the information is forwarded to the head office and from there it goes to all other projects. But this is still not effective in sharing the experiences across the projects. Probably a formal platform is needed like regular workshops, newsletter etc.

4.8 Advocacy
Advocacy is speaking, acting and writing with minimal conflict of interest on behalf of the sincerely perceived interests of a disadvantaged person or group to promote, protect and defend their welfare and justice. By and large the nature of advocacy exhibited by Myrada is of educating the respective stakeholders in that issue through some awareness programs or workshops. Though sometimes Dharnas and strikes were undertaken, they were less in number and are not of much significant. The strategy used to advocate was that to influence the decision makers. The lobbying of Myrada with the government, so that the banks issue loans (recognizing SHGs as a credit worthy) directly to the unregistered bodies like self help groups is an example of the above strategy. In some of the Myrada project areas men self help groups are working well. May be in future it can influence the public opinion that men self help groups also can function well.

4.9 Scaling up
Usually NGOs start with limited set of activities in restricted areas. When their initial projects are successful they expand. At that time the issue of scaling up comes. Here scaling up need not necessarily mean geographical expansion of the organisation. It means expanding impact. So this “expanding impact” of Myrada is studied in terms of geographical expansion, increasing activities and indirect impact. Myrada started in Mysore and at present its operational area is in three states, excluding the deputations. Internationally its activities are being carried out in 11 countries. Its annual budget during its initial years of inception was about Rs.5-6 crores while now only the fund turnover is 129 crores. It started with 450 employees and now it has 506. (During 1990s there was reduction in the staff strength from 600 to 388).

20

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

In terms of activities it started with resettlement and credit cooperatives and entered into Microfinance, Health, Education, Training, Watershed and many other such activities. In Microfinance, it not only mobilized the self help groups but also set up a microfinance institution called Sanghamitra. Myrada has an extensive collaboration with government and other NGOs through which it is able to indirectly impact those areas in which it has not started activities. Spin-off means that an NGO sets up a unit, nurtures it and this unit undertakes tasks on its own. This unit is legally separate from its mother NGO. Myrada stimulated such a spin off in case of Sanghamitra- a micro finance institution. It can be said that it is this strategy of Myrada of “trigger-nurture-stabilse” that has helped it to scale itself and also spin off some of its units. Instead of mere replicating, Myrada has taken the local conditions into consideration while moving into other regions which made its scaling successful.

4.10 Withdrawal
Withdrawal of an NGO occurs because of three reasons. The prominent reason one is because of change in the donor policies or financial restriction. The second one can be due to change in Government polices or imposing any restrictions. These external threats may sometimes be of the local threats like naxalites, terrorists. The other reason of NGO withdrawal can be that it withdraws when it feels that the institutions set up by it are self reliant and sustainable. Broadly, there are three types of withdrawal; NGO-Peoples organisation, NGO-Donor model and NGO- Branch model.  NGO- Peoples organisation: In this case, the NGO village level groups are formed and integrated at different levels. Initially the NGO provides support like infrastructural, training, human resource, financial etc. and there is a gradual reduction of giving these resources. In credit group model the people are mobilized under economic programs. Before withdrawing NGO links these groups with some banking institutions. In case of Community Managed Resource Centers (CMRC) it can be said that the method followed by Myrada is NGO-Peoples organisation. Because it has set up the self help

21

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

groups in the first stage, strengthened them and now they are linked to form an institution called CMRC in turn linking them to a banking institutions and other institutions.  NGO-Donor model: In this model the withdrawal of NGO is because of funds crunch or financial restrictions put by the donor. In Gandlapeta of Kadiri in Anantapur district Andhra Pradesh, Myrada has formed some SHGs with the help of funds provided by UNDP. Once the project ended it withdrew from that area.  NGO-Branch model: Here the NGO trains the branch and when the empowerment is under way then the NGO encourages the branch to get registered itself. This is done so that the Branch can raise its funds. In the formation of Sangamitra we can say that Myrada has observed this model.

22

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

5. Conclusions
The following are the conclusions we have arrived at after studying the organisation • • • • • • • • • • The organisational structure which allows for decentralization makes Myrada to respond quickly to the needs of community it works with. The systems and procedures enhance the transparency and accountability levels of the organisation. The mission statement is internalized widely by the staff which helps them to link their day to day activities with the larger purpose of the organisation. The commitment of the employees to work with the community in participative manner to strengthen them can be seen as biggest strength of the organisation. The charismatic leadership of the ED is seen as source of inspiration and guidance in the organisation. The emphasis given to field experiences and documenting is used in developing the practices and manuals which can be used in future for training purposes. Strong culture of caring in professional and personal terms creates a sense of belongingness among the staff. Myrada has a strong collaboration with NGOs, Governments and communities which might be of strategical use in future. Intensive trainings and capacity building programs for staff enhances the skills of staff which helps in both individual and organisational growth. By building community based institutions like CMRC (Community Managed Resource Center) Myrada is setting an example of the way in which withdrawal can be undertaken.

23

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

6. Issues
From our study we could see that the following are the issues of concern at present to the organisation. • Successor to ED: There is no planning in case of successor to ED which is a crucial issue. At present the organisation depends on ED for its strategic thinking and decision making. So not only the issue of successor needs to be taken up but also the aspects of strategy formulation and strategic decision need to be institutionalized. • Dependency on ED for new ideas and documentation: One can observe that most of the documents are written by ED and also the task of identifying new ideas, conceptualizing and scaling them also is presently done by the ED. When the ED leaves the organisation filling this gap would become difficult. • No formal platform to share innovations and experiences across the projects: Except the workshops which are not conducted regularly, there are no other formal platforms to share the innovation across the projects. In such cases, the information goes to the head office and then is passed on to remaining projects which would actually consume time and sometimes information distortion may occur. • Less role clarity: The jobs in Myrada have generic description. So there is less role clarity. Hence the work load on some of the staff members is very high. (almost all the staff in head office are office are overburdened). • Fund crunch: The donors now want to direct their funds to the north and central Indian states. Plan International, the major donor is going to phase out by the end of 2007-2008. So, though at present there is no funds problem as such, it may arise in near future.

24

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

7. References
• • • • • MYRADA website www.myrada.org Narayanan, NC and Haribandhu Panda (2003), SICDO Course Pack FPRM-2004, IRMA – for understanding withdrawal issues. Fernandez, Aloysius P(1985), An experiment in appropriate sociology, Rural management series Paper -1, Myrada publications, Bangalore. Fernandez, Aloysius P (1986), Credit management systems, Rural management series Paper -3, Myrada publications, Bangalore. Fernandez, Aloysius P (1996), Working with two governments in multi and bilateral projects, Why involve Myrada, Rural management series Paper-26, Myrada publications, Bangalore. • • • Fernandez, Aloysius P (1997), From Compassion to Competition, Rural management series Paper -27, Myrada publications, Bangalore. Fernandez, Aloysius P (1997), Myrada’s Organisational Values, Rural management series Paper-29, Myrada publications, Bangalore. Fernandez, Aloysius P (1999), Building Institutions, Rural management series Paper -31, Myrada publications, Bangalore.

25

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

Annexure 1
Time line of MYRADA involvement Year Event From 1968 to • MYRADA was involved in the resettlement of Tibetan 1978 Refugees • • • • • • • • • • • • 2000 onwards • • Started working for development for poor Credit co-operative society Promotion of SAG Agriculture inputs Credit support Demonstrations (lab to land) Land development activities Village infrastructure development Entered in Watershed management PIDOW (supported by SDC – govt. and NGO as co-interveners). Entered in Health and Education sector Clarity on NRM – Integrated watershed approach with institutions as strong base For influencing at policy level and up scaling Myrada’s initiatives, Myrada started collaboration with govt. Examples: KAWAD, SUJALA Separate MFI’s - Sanghamitra Setting up legal support cell

From 19781985

From 19852000

26

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

Annexure 2
Partners supporting Myrada with finance and capacity building inputs • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Novib, The Netherlands Deutsche Welhungerhilfe, Germany PLAN International, The United Kingdom HOPE International, Canada Miseror, Germany EED, Germany International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Italy IC-SDC, Switzerland SDC, Switzerland UNICEF, Chennai Indian Council For Agricultural Research (ICAR) Karnataka Wareshed Development Department Karanataka State Women’s Development Corporation Tamilnadu State Women’s Development Corporation CAPART, Government of India Karnataka Health Promotion Trust Karnataka Watershed Development Society (KAWAD Society) National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Karanataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Zilla Panchayaths/DRDAs/various Government Departments of several districts of Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka Agriculture-Man-Ecology (AME)

27

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

• •

Population Foundation of Karnataka (VHAK) Society for Service to voluntary Agencies (SOSVA), Karnataka

Co-financing support from the Government of India, The European Commission, The World Bank, The DFID, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Canadian International Development Agency and the Asian Development Bank are also indirectly support as the support reaches Myrada through one or the other of the agencies named above.

Annexure 3
MYRADA's Board comprises the following eminent persons: Shri M.A.S. Rajan, IAS (Retd) Shri. T.R. Satishchandran,IAS (Retd) Shri K .R. Ramachandran, IAS (Retd) Shri M. V. Rajashekaran,Farmer/Social Worker Member Raja Sabha Shri .S. Meenakshi Sundaram, IAS Finance Space Commission @ Atomic Energy Commission Department of Space Shir. J.C. Lynn, IAS (Retd) Smt. Dr. Komala Choudry, Management Expert Shri. B.N. Yugandhar, I.A.S. (Retd) Shri. K.R. Shenoy , Former Chairman , Laxmi Vilas Bank Smt. Sobha Nambisan I.A.S, Principal Secretary to the Government of Higher Education Department Shri. Aloysius P. Fernandez Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Revenue Department Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. Ex Officio Ex Officio Member Member/Secretary Member Member Member Member Member Chairman Vice Chairman Treasurer Member

28

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

29

Vishwasree, Bhanu (June July 2005)

Organisational Trainee Segment

Annexure 4

THE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

30

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful