In its journey of 30 years, the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement has received quite a few awards for its work – whether it is the National Youth Award, or the UN Award for our work in the field of HIV-AIDS, the ICAI award for best presented financial statements, the best Annual report award, the Bhagwan Mahaveer Award or the Devaraj Urs Award from the Government of Karnataka. Each of these awards has been given to us for a specific reason and for the high standards that we have been able to maintain over all these years. Whether it is the recognition or the cash awards that accompany the citation, these awards do mean a lot. Apart from recognizing and affirming our relevance and contribution to society, they also seek to raise the bar, both individually and collectively. The recent award that was bestowed on SVYM by Resource Alliance is yet another recognition and a critical milestone in the history of SVYM. This award is special as it is given for NGOs at the National level and the winning organization is selected after a long and systematic multi-layered process. What makes the award all the more special and meaningful is the fact that only people and Institutions from the development and civil society sector are involved in the entire selection process. SVYM was bestowed with best NGO in the large category for the year 2015. SVYM was shortlisted out of 300 participants invited for India NGO Awards, organized by ‘The Resource Alliance’, New Delhi and the EdelGive Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation sponsored the cash prize.
The evaluation criteria that the selection process was based on were the following:
1. Effective and sustainable mobilisation of resources in support of programme ?and project work, including support from local communities
2. Demonstration of efficient management of financial and human resources, good governance practices, transparency and accountability, and effective communication.
3. The impact of their work in bringing about tangible benefits to their target communities.
4. Innovative practices within program and project activities, their implementation and measures to ensure sustainability.
5. Gender sensitivity in the planning, implementation and impact of the program/initiative.
6. Sharing of good practices and good policies with other NGOs.
The selection process was also elaborate and done at multiple stages.
Stage 1 was the Internal sifting of entries – Entry forms were scrutinized and checked for all the requested documents.
First level shortlist was done as Stage 2 – Independent Assessors and M/s Grant Thornton reviewed completed entries and shortlisted organisations for the next level of review.
Stage 3 was shortlisting these organizations at the Second level and they were requested to submit a Statement of Support describing the role of innovation, scale, replicability, collaboration and impact of work in enrolling individual/other donors.
Stage 4 were the Site visits – These were done by independent Assessors who evaluated the statement of support and further shortlisted the top 10 organisations for the large category for site visits assessment. The financial statements of shortlisted entries were then evaluated by M/s Grant Thornton and four finalists were shortlisted.
Stage 5: Jury Round – The 4 shortlisted organisations were asked to make a presentation to the Jury in New Delhi on 23 July 2015.
Dr Seetharam and myself had been to Delhi to make these presentations on August 23 and explain to the jury our many activities and respond to the different questions that they had. The decision of the jury was announced on the 24th evening and the award given to us in a function that was held in New Delhi.
Apart from the joy of receiving this award after such a thorough process of selection, the processes involved also taught us a great deal. It helped us understand ourselves better from the framework of resource mobilization and utilization, from the perspective of efficiency and effectiveness of our many programs and from the sustainability and scalability angle of SVYM as an organisation and of our many interventions.
More than anything else, this award along with the many other recognitions that SVYM has got over the last three decades once again re-affirms our commitment to our values of Ahimsa, Satya, Seva and Tyaga and to the spirit of togetherness that prevails.