DASRA – Indian philanthropists collaborate in bid to build governance

With India’s high-profile elections recently behind us, there has been a lot of talk about ‘good governance’ and the Indian government’s capacity to formulate and implement sound policies and to provide public services. In the wake of this discussion, Dasra, Omidyar Network and prominent Indian philanthropists have joined forces to create a collaborative platform that will aid governance. This new initiative will aim to support high-impact organizations that are tangibly strengthening governance in India.

One philanthropist involved in this project is Rohini Nilekani (pictured), who last year committed INR 164 crores to philanthropy by selling her significant stake in Infosys. In recent years there has been little or no funding of organizations in what can broadly be understood as the ‘governance space’, so it is particularly exciting to have as prominent a supporter as Rohini.

As a precursor to the full-blown launch of this initiative, Dasra convened round-table discussions in four Indian metropolitan areas, which were attended by more than 65 high net worth individuals (HNWIs). Dasra is also putting leading philanthropists on a steering committee that will convene at the Dasra Philanthropy Week in March 2015 to discuss the topic of ‘good governance’.

About 20 organizations will go through the Dasra Social Impact Accelerator Program in the run-up to the conference in March; they will then pitch to funders in the course of the conference.

The publication of an introductory paper before the elections, Voting Counts, generated dialogue around, and greater engagement in, the subject of election reform. The full research report, which Dasra expects to publish in late 2014, will showcase both work being done on the ground and also the interventions that are starting to effect change locally and nationally.

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