Voluntary Action Network India (VANI) is an apex body of voluntary organizations. It has over 550 members and outreach to approximately 10,000 civil society organizations across India. Being a membership-based organisation, VANI has practiced robust feedback systems through conventional and digital methods.
VANI is one of the ten project partners involved in the development and promotion of the Global Standard on CSO Accountability and its 12 commitments since 2014. Currently, it is encouraging CSOs within India and South Asia to adopt accountable practices through the Global Standard and its Dynamic Accountability approach. So far, VANI has organised one South Asia regional meeting, three national meetings and seven regional level meetings to promote the Global Standard on CSO Accountability. Our engagement with CSOs and networks in Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh have received an encouraging response.
Our association with the Global Standard for CSO Accountability has had a major impact on VANI. It adapted its existing (3-decade old) Code of Conduct in line with the Global Standard for CSO Accountability. The revised Code became more comprehensive with five clearly defined principles, outlining the basic and leadership indicators.
VANI made efforts to introduce and encourage its members to adapt and adopt the Global Standard subsequent to its launch at the International Civil Society Week in Fiji in December 2017. Of the 12 Global Standards commitments, important progress has been made on Women Rights and Gender Equality (commitment #2), People-driven Work (commitment # 5), Strong Partnerships (commitment #6) and Responsible Leadership (commitment #12).
In this regard, the member organizations have shown an increasing trend towards including women in leadership positions. State-wide networks have been set up in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh to promote inclusiveness of small and grassroots level organizations in decision-making. State-level CSO networks were also given an opportunity for forming joint platforms and benefitting from each other’s strengths. In addition, our VANI board members are actively engaged in our interventions and have taken the message forward in their respective states and at other important forums in which they participate. In conclusion, VANI intends to continue and intensify our efforts on CSO good governance in the future.