- Themes: Building networks
In the era of globalization where the world is becoming one big market and economic boundaries of countries are dissolving, it becomes essential to coordinate efforts at an international level especially because most countries are facing similar problems viz. poverty, unemployment, terrorism, HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, gender inequality etc. There is an urgent need to share knowledge, expertise and experiences with networks/NGOs in other countries so that we all benefit from it and which will in turn lead to a positive effect on development programmes across the globe. VANI is the largest apex body of voluntary organisations with 19 Network Federations, 322 Organisations and 42 Individuals as its members. It has a strong base of 2500 Voluntary organizations, spread out in almost all states of India. VANI has also become coordinating agency for strengthening national similar national networks in Asia. The partnerships of such national networks are now spread in the countries of South Asia, South-East Asia and far East Asia.
Since 1991, India’s entry into the domain of global capitalism has accentuated especially with its been involvement as a major player in international platforms such as BRICS,G-20 and SAARC. By donning the role of a ‘funder’ to underdeveloped countries while a majority of the population remains firmly intact to poverty and underdevelopment, the narratives that emerged pointed out to India being self-sufficient to combat its own problems and matured enough to shed the ‘dependent’ tag rendered to it. To better understand this narrative VANI initiated a study ‘India’s Global Footprints’ to map the rejuvenated persona of a ‘developed nation’ India had taken upon. Endeavoring to study and understand why aid to other countries was accorded when underdevelopment remained conspicuous as a social evil, the aim was to see the potential role voluntary sector could deliver as a partner at the national and international level.
The need to have space for the voluntary sector in international forums like the G20 has become evident from the recent developments. Voluntary sector from India has consistently emphasised on the principles of equity, justice and inclusion within the developmental discourse. Indian civil society has been very categorical in stating that development cannot be understood in isolation without reference to human rights and related issues. The discourse on development is not merely an economic exercise, but one which has socio-political and cultural ingredients to it.
International activities have also seen VANI partnering in consultations with International civil society groups like CIVICUS, IDF and ADA who are involved in efforts to democratize institutions and encourage increased civil society participation.
VANI is an apex network of Voluntary Organisations which works on the thematic issues concerning good governance in the voluntary sector, Strengthening Networks, articulating independent voices of the sector and research and advocacy of policies and laws affecting the voluntary sector. We understand that to be effective in the development scenario and also to become important voice, there is need to further collectives in the sector. VANI has its associated state networks in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. There are informal networks are in Orissa, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, North Eastern states and Tamil Nadu. Every state in the country has some problems which are specific to that state only and need to be eradicated through specific means only. VANI's networks across the state have been organized keeping this reality in mind. The objective of these would be to play a role of convening and networking to act as the platform for voluntary organizations within and outside India.
VANI will also strengthen its networks to take up the issue of preparing state policies for Voluntary Sector.
Through its state networks VANI will organize studies and interactive events in various states. In the current scenario the voluntary sector is facing a lot of new challenges related to regulations and policies and concerns related to its future sustainability. There is lack of awareness about the policies and issues among organisations which are adversely affecting the sector. VANI being the independent voice aims to channelise networks (national/ state) in building the image of the sector, sharing information and capacity building of the smaller VOs. There is a need highlight the social contribution that the sector has been making since ages in the lives of million of people and community and focus on building partnerships with other stakeholders especially the government, private sector and media.
As a platform, it promotes voluntarism and creates space for voluntary action.
As a network, it attempts to bring about a convergence of common sectoral issues and concerns for building a truly National agenda of voluntary action in the country. It also facilitates linkages of various efforts and initiatives of the voluntary sector in the country for a multiplier effect, to create and sustain the process of change in an organic manner.