Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for your assistance.
Read more about AID philosophy, and about how AID projects involve Community in decision making process. Read about how to volunteer with AID and also about responsibilities of an AID volunteer.
Learn about a CSH and an ORM and also about the difference between them. Know about our newsletter and also about the email listserves.
Learn about AID Delhi's "meal a month" drive and also about how AID volunteers are instrumental in keeping the operational costs of the organization low.
AID Delhi is related to AID US and AID-India by the common philosophy and principles of operation. AID Delhi is a chapter of AID-India. AID-India is a registered non-profit (or not for profit) organization in India. AID-India and AID US share values and principles. We are also related through a common string of volunteers who decided to come back to India from the US and also those who moved to the US or any other country from an AID-India chapter.
AID volunteers believe that "Interconnected problems have interconnected solutions". Along with it, we also realize that "Sewa", "Sangharsh" and "Nirman" are imperative to development. AID volunteers are pluralistic in their approach and involve community in defining solutions for their problems. This set of common guiding principles bind all AID chapters - whether in AID US or AID-India together.
Over the past years of operation, AID has come to realize a very basic fact about development. We understand that different problems like poverty, illiteracy, disease, exploitation, that plague the underpriviliged sections of Indian society are all interrelated.
A laborer earning sub minimal wages does not send his or her children to school. These children may work in unhygenic conditions and exposed to diseases. This leads to missed work days as well as costly treatments which may be delayed till the conditions become even worse. Rising costs may plunge the family into debt and a cycle that is difficult to escape.
So, the interconnected problem had an interconnected solution.
AID approaches different projects with this holistic outlook. It is this approach that has enabled AID to spark the minds in different communities to find sustainable solutions for themselves.
At AID we believe that community participation in decision making process is mandatory for success of any social intervention. The top-down approach in development will be as ineffective as any other government program in which huge amounts of funds are siphoned off because of lack of transparency and ownership.
When community gets involved in decision making process, transparency automatically follows. Decentralized approach to development projects allows customized solutions for different communities. A community in Rajasthan will have a different way to deal with water scarcity than one in Himachal Pradesh. Different cultural conditioning of different communities will define success of different family planning methods. A blanket solution - as is typical of top-down approach in which community is not involved - will not be accepted by all communities.
Hence, AID suggests many alternative solutions to a community, and the community - based on its beliefs and values - evolves the most acceptable solution (which may be a combination of different solutions proposed by the organization). So, the community decides which solution is best for itself.
At AID, we believe that Sewa, Nirman and Sangharsh are imperative in any development initiative.
With Sewa, we mean volunteering and service. It not only involves service and volunteering by agents external to the beneficiary community (like us), but also from within the community. For example, most of our projects involve a service component put in by the beneficiary community.
With Nirman, we understand building, growth, construction etc. This is not only of physical assets that a community will build for itself in the process of development, but also the value system of equality, justice and trust that should evolve out of the development activity. Any development activity that does not ensure trust and equality of all participating parties, will have inherent shortcomings of social, cultural, economic or environmental nature.
When in a development initiative, trust and equality of all parties is not ensured, injustice is often perpeterated. In such times, it is imperative to Struggle (Sangharsh) for equality and justice for the parties that have been neglected. This struggle might be against the values of a society that promotes evils like dowry, or against a corporate that is thriving by crushing livelihoods of underpriviliged or against corrupt official machinery - where it exists and so on. Therefore Sangharsh is an integral part of development process and finds due place in AID philosophy.
Philosophically speaking, all of us do all the three type of activities everyday - in our own small world. We struggle when injustice is meted out to us. We work to build our future and we do some service to the needy every now and then.
AID volunteers also work on all three principles. However, we choose our focus area and work more in one or two fields. It is important that all AID volunteers appreciate the importance of the three imperatives of development, but it is understandable that all activities need people who focus on them. So, volunteers focus on one or two aspects but appreciate and participate in the others as and when required.
Volunteering with AID is simple. Wherever you are, you can make a difference to lives of millions of underpriviliged people in India. You can participate in activities of the AID chapter closest to you. If you are in India, then you also have the option of volunteering with any of the hunderds of partner NGOs of AID. Click here to find the chapter closest to you. To know more about our partner NGOs, click here.
Every chapter has volunteering opportunities based on the type of projects that it is working on. We suggest that you visit the chapter website and find out the details for yourself. As for AID Delhi, please visit the "What YOU can do?" and "Volunteer Oppurtunites" sections of the website (in Volunteer section), to know how you can become an agent of positive change in the society.
To volunteer with AID Delhi, please fill the registration form by clicking on 'Register here' link on the right-hand menu. Our volunteer coordinators will get in touch with you. as soon as we receive your registration details
The best way to know AID Delhi is to attend our Community Service Hour (CSH) or an Operations Review (OR). However, if neither of the two events is planned in the near future, you can know about us from our website: http://delhi.aidindia.org/. We try to keep our website updated with latest developments in different projects. Our newsletter is also available online and will give you a summary of different activities of AID Delhi.
Our egroups (Mailing Lists) are also very active. Read More about our Mailing Lists.
Community Service Hour or CSH is the name of regular meeting of AID Delhi volunteers. AID Delhi volunteers meet every month one or two times to discuss different issues involved in day-to-day running of AID Delhi. Every volunteer should attend at least one CSH in 3 months. This not only keeps all of us together as a team but also keeps us actively involved in the AID activities. We feel that physical meeting is a very important part of any team work.
What is an Operations Review?
AID Delhi volunteers conduct an operations review every quarter to not only update the community (including donors) about progress in different AID Delhi projects, but also to brainstorm on issues and problems that we might be facing in different projects. While CSH is more about day-to-day activities of AID Delhi, an Operations Review provides the medium-term to long-term direction to different projects. We also discuss our finances in this meeting.
All AID volunteers have to abide by AID by-laws. Different responsibilities of an AID volunteer are described here. In addition to these responsibilities, AID Delhi volunteers passed a resolution in our community service hour (CSH) that all volunteers of AID Delhi have to contribute cost of one meal towards AID Delhi projects.
What do you mean by "cost of one meal"?
AID does not have any membership fees. A fixed membership fees will prevent many individuals who can not afford it from becoming AID volunteers. AID believes that every individual has the ability to make a "positive" difference in the society and that each individual is an "agent" of change. So, everyone can be an AID volunteer.
However, AID projects need funds. When we seek funds from donors, we also believe that we should contribute our bit to AID activities. Hence, AID Delhi volunteers decided that all AID volunteers will contribute cost of 1 meal a month (out of 60-90 that we have) to AID Delhi. This will mean a different amount for every individual, for some it will be a lunch or dinner at The Hyatt, for some at Pizza Hut and for some at a roadside dhaba. But all are equivalent in value to the individual making a contribution - in terms of minimum contribution.
Why "one" meal?
One is a very potent number. EveryOne counts. Every"One" is a potent agent of change. AID started when some volunteers contributed one meal towards education of children in a village school. That "one" meal made the impact. So, even "one" meal from all of us goes a long way. Check out website of our One for India campaign - http://www.oneforindia.org/ - to know what "one" can do.
Anyone can donate more than one meal to AID. "One" meal every month is the minimum contribution desired from an AID volunteer. Please feel free to contribute more.
You can make this contribution in any of AID Delhi meetings - publicized on our egroup and also the website. You may make your contribution at a CSH or at the quarterly Operations Review (OR).
Also, we have volunteers in every region of NCR who are responsible for collecting these funds from donors. All you need to do is fill up our pledge form by clicking on the "meal a month" link on the left-hand menu or on the top of this page and our volunteers will get in touch with you.
You can give your donation through cash or cheque. If you have an ICICI bank account, you can directly transfer the money to AID-India account. We are also working towards accepting your donations through credit cards.
The cheques should be drawn in favor of "AID-India". To donate to our partner NGOs, the cheque should be drawn in favour of the NGO (and not AID-India).
For more details on "how to donate", please click on the "Donate" link in the left hand menu.
At the time of donating, you have the option of directing your money to any particular AID Delhi project of your desire. 100% of your funds will directly be transferred for expenses in the particular project in that case. However, we prefer that you don't specify any particular project when you donate. This helps us ensure that whichever project needs more funds, gets them and that funds are not underutilized in any project. Some AID volunteers contribute their meal towards AID Delhi running costs. You may decide to contribute a part of your donation in projects and a part to AID Delhi's running costs.
AID Chapters typically have very low operational costs. Most of the funds are directly transferred to our projects. For AID Delhi, we have managed to keep our administrative and running costs to less than 5% of funds raised. This is favorably compared with high running costs (at times as high as 50-70% of funds raised) of some NGOs. It is because of efficient utilization of donor money that AID worldwide is rated amongst the best charities.
The main reason behind low operational costs of AID chapters is that AID is a largely volunteer run organization with very few employees. Moreover, AID does not believe in marketting budgets. The good work and best wishes speak for AID. The enthusiastic, committed and satisfied volunteers are the best advertisement. The happy beneficiaries are the proof of our work.
AID Delhi volunteers share responsibilities for different heads defined in the attached organization chart. The vertical lines denote projects and horizontal lines indicate functions that are common to all projects. This document explains responsibilities of coordinators (representative of the activity). This document also defines the steering committee of AID Delhi constituted of office bearers and also coordinators.
President : The president should have a keen interest and commitment to the objectives of AID. His/Her main task would be to ensure that the AID-Chapter meets all its objectives and functions efficiently. He/She should strive to expand the scope and reach of AID in terms of awareness of AID activities, especially in minds of people in the city and state where the AID-Chapter is located, and in terms of the breadth and depth of various developmental projects in India. He/She should have a vision for the future and should come up with interesting ideas so that people can get motivated to contribute time, money and effort to the cause of AID. He/She should delegate responsibilities to other volunteers and should coordinate the various tasks of the AID-Chapter. He/She should also be active in collecting information about prospective developmental projects for AID. He/She should take an active part in increasing the awareness in the general public of the various activities of AID. He/She should interact with the executive committee of the other AID-Chapters, the Executive Board and the Board of Directors constantly for acheiving the overall objectives and functions of AID. He/She should also interact closely with the Head Quarters or Regional Head Quarters, recognize its various innovative and effective strategies and implement them in his/her own AID-Chapter. He/She should preside the GBMs of his/her chapter in the normal course of events.
Responsibilities of a project coordinator (representative of a project) include the following.
At present, different projects are represented by the respective coordinators in the steering committee.
This horizontal function is one of the most critical functions for a volunteer organization like AID. The responsibilities of volunteer coordination team will include the following.
This horizontal function essentially involves reporting different events and activities of AID Delhi to the various donor forums – including AID-news and other AID-wide lists. Responsibilities of this team include the following.
Treasury will manage incoming and outgoing funds of different kinds. Responsibilities of this team will include the following.
This activity is central to a social organization like AID Delhi. Responsibilities of this team include the following.
This horizontal function has not been active till now. However, a strong need is being felt to strengthen this function. The responsibilities of this team include the following.
We need to understand that AID Delhi is a dynamic and evolving organization.
The leaders of different activities will keep changing over time. Also responsibilities of different coordinators will evolve as the organization grows.
The steering committee will include all coordinators and office bearers. Steering committee meetings can be called at time of any urgent/ emergency need. At the minimum, the steering committee will meet in first week of every month to review progress of different projects in the past month.
The secretaries will be responsible to present any new project proposal to the steering committee.
Some representatives of cells may also be a part of steering committee based on activity seen in the cells. At present Women’s Cell, Water Cell, Education Cell, Environment Cell, Peace Cell exist.
More vertical lines will be added as and when needed.
More horizontal functions may also be defined as and when a need is felt.