Social Sector Organisations: Forms and Actions

The role of social sector organisations in actions ranging from sangharsh to nirmaan and impacts at the grassroots. 

This concentration is to help you understand the evolution and purpose of social sector organisations (SSO) and the regulatory frameworks that govern them. The terms social sector organisations’ refers to development organisations, third sector organisations, voluntary organisations, NGOs and terms for non-sate, non-market organisations working on issues of development. It also includes social enterprises.

You will develop the capacity to build and sustain member-based organisations, design and plan interventions with organisational strategy and to monitor and evaluate programmes and interventions in SSOs. 

This concentration comprises of four courses.

Social sector organisations (SSOs) can be broadly classified into not-for-profit and for-profit, and are diverse in their nature of work, funding sources, legal forms, geographies, communities and end users they engage with. Each type of SSO comprises many legal forms and these organisational forms have emerged in specific sociopolitical contexts and their evolution is governed by legal frameworks.

This course will use the economic theory of the firm’ lens to analyse select forms of organisations and critically assess the need for different forms. It will include case studies on member-based organisations such as cooperatives, for-profit organisations such as those registered under companies act and not-for-profit organisations such as societies, trusts and Section 8 companies.

The course will trace the evolution of select organisational forms in-depth and help examine purpose and the socio-political context that shapes the work of SSOs. The course will also guide students to engage with current debates on changing orientation and working of SSOs, and their relevance in the current context. This course is not meant to be a how to’ guide on legal and statutory requirements of organisations.

This course focuses on the programmes and interventions by SSOs, locating them in the context of organisational mission, vision, goal and strategic plans, tracing how organisational practices and priorities flow from the organisational goals and strategic plans.

This course is meant for building competencies in designing an intervention and developing an action plan for its implementation.You will pick up the skills to analyse programmes of SSOs in relation to their organisational mission, vision, mandates and strategic plan. 

Conceptualising and designing development action will involve ability to use needs assessment tools, analysing and prioritising problems, identifying solutions and designing interventions in line with the organisation’s goals. You will use hands-on exercises, interactions with practitioners and examples from real-life interventions in order apply the results framework and develop the objectives, activities, timeline and budget for the intervention.

Many SSOs and government programmes form member based organisations (MBOs) to implement interventions or help communities to engage with the state or market. India has seen a proliferation of various kinds of MBOs such as producer groups, cooperatives, savings and credit associations and other collectives in the last three decades. 

SSOs often grapple with creating viable and self-sustaining MBOs. We believe it will be of great value for you to develop competencies to mobilise and build MBOs and help them transition into independent and self-reliant entities. 

This course will cover the three prevalent types of MBOs: groups based on self-help and mutual assistance (such as SHGs, producer groups etc), cooperatives, and unions. Through case studies, practitioner-led lectures and simulation exercises, the course will help you identify appropriate community mobilisation strategies used by SSOs. You will learn of the process of building these organisations including statutory and legal requirements. We will also study conditions and good practices and challenges (external constraints, internal dynamics and resources) to be mindful of in establishing and nurturing MBOs on their path to organisational sustainability.

The course begins by situating evaluation within the larger framework of programme design, planning and implementation and evaluation theories. It offers a critical look at the theory of change underlying it, followed by feasibility studies, which include both qualitative and quantitative ways of assessing resource allocation and socio-economic feasibility of an action. We will address several practical concerns in asking whether the action is worth’ consideration (as per cost effectiveness, cost-benefit analysis and for political purposes). 

The course also explores impact evaluation and the outcome traceable to the action and will introduce the students to different methods of evaluation by covering relevant experimental & quasi-experimental causal design methodologies and their critiques, as well as (qualitative & quantitative) methods of data collection & analysis. The students will also get an exposure to participatory evaluation methods and social audits.

Even though evaluations are often discussed in the context of programme design studies, the course intends to take insights from these studies and apply it to a variety of development action, which will be discussed using case studies from various developmental domains.