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National Foundation for India (NFI)

Mission Objectives and Guiding Principles

The National Foundation for India was set up as a non-profit charitable trust that would mobilize public opinion and generate resources for supporting development action. The founders recognized the right of every Indian to lead a life of dignity and self-respect in adjust and equitable society. They also recognized the need to improve the capacities of both individuals and communities to improve the quality of their lives and to enhance their ability to negotiate from a position of strength, a strength that would come from being educated, enjoying good health, and having the capacity to be engaged in productive work. In the last few decades, voluntary organizations and community groups have emerged as strategic players on the development scene. Many of them base their work on the emerging needs of the community. However, unlike other organizations that focus their efforts on sectoral programmes, the Foundation supports long-term development initiatives that arise out of the felt needs of the people. The Foundation recognizes that the process of development is as important as the outcome. Within the above-mentioned framework, the Foundation is committed to working towards a synergy of different inputs that are necessary for a people-centred development strategy.


(1) Gender Equity and Justice

NFI supports for the Urban and Rural poor to NGOs/VOs. The grant may be given to NGOs/ VOs either having FCRA or not depending upon the activity and source. The Programs for which grants may be given are the following:



Over the past few years the Gender Equity and Justice programme has been addressing the problem of discrimination against girl children, adolescent girls and women. Community-based interventions have been supported to address both visible and invisible forms of atrocities exploitation and discrimination.


The broad issues of concern of the Gender Equity and Justice programme are :

  • Address decline in sex ratio.
  • Discrimination against girl children and adolescent girls in the areas of health, education and opportunities for skill building.
  • Women’s leadership participation in governance and entrepreneurship development.
  • Institution building and capacity development of small grass-roots organizations.
  • Issues of reproductive health with a focus on adolescent health.


Geographic Scope : Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Chattisgarh.


Some Examples of sanctioned projects –

  • The project focuses on ensuring the survival of, to ensure the survival of girl children. Safe motherhood, and economic and entrepreneurial opportunities for women. In the process of its interventions, NGO motivates adolescent groups to address gender issue.
  • NGO works with traditional birth attendants (TBAs). They are used as change agents to ensure the survival of girl children. In the course of its intervention, NGO felt the need to communicate with the youth in order to bring about attitudinal changes and provide them with livelihood and life-skill opportunities. Now NGO is also running training and capacity-building programmes for the youth on livelihood skills.
  • The grant support is towards improving the education and reproductive health status of adolescents among mamigalized sections of society (predominantly the Mushahar community) in Nawada. The project is also faying to create women’s awareness on legal and constitutional rights as well as provide training for economic development.
  • Several schools have been identified which act as platforms in helping adolescents access information on reproductive and sexual health issues. Teachers are being trained to become counselors and to create a friendly and receptive environment in which adolescent issues can be effectively addressed.
  • The project aims at improving the reproductive and sexual health concerns of women and adolescents. A women’s health fund will be initiated through which women and adolescents can access loans for their health needs. Youth resource and recreation centres will be formed. These will function as information centres in creating a common space for creative activities for young people at the village level.



(II) Public Affairs and Urban Governance


Programme Philosophy

The increasing gap between the growth of cities and the available civic services affects the quality of life of citizens, particularly those who are underprivileged and marginalized. The Public Affairs and Urban Governance programme of NFI supports work that can improve the quality of urban governance and civic life of ordinary people. The focus is on small townships and municipalities, since the government and the donors, due to their weak political presence, often neglect these entities.


Geographic Scope : Delhi, the National Capital Region, Kamataka and Rajasthan.


Some Example of : On-going Grants

  • The project is being implemented in Mangalore and Udipi in the Dakshin Kannada region of Kamataka. The broad objective is to facilitate a consensual planning process at the ward level in selected wards of Mangalore and Udipi by involving citizens, civil society organizations, elected representatives, and the local government, as well as to document specific initiatives in the area of civic management.
  • The objective of the project is to determine the downstream health impact of non-segregation and poor disposal of garbage on rag pickers as well as the impact on their productivity. The project is also aimed at finding better ways of solid waste disposal.
  • This project seeks to address the issue of people’s transportation with a specific focus on rickshaw pullers. Rapid and uncontrolled urbanization along with poor planning has resulted in low quality of life for citizens. Hence, there is a need to look at alternative models of development. This project seeks to look at the problems of this poor community of rickshaw pullers who have been deprived of the benefits of all development policies. The idea is to establish a network of this group of rickshaw pullers by building their capacities and capabilities so that they are able to advocate for their rights with the local government and the state.


(Ill) Remedying Regional Imbalances


Programme Philosophy

The programme for the North East is committed to strengthening voluntary action for development and peace in the region. The Foundation recognizes that conflicts have hindered development in the region. It therefore supports initiatives that promote conflict resolution as well as undertake development work.


Geographic Scope : Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

Some Example of : On-going Grants

  • The new voluntary organization, has started a primary school in Diyun in Changlong district to help children of the Chakma tribe a historically and politically disadvantaged people.
  • ANT is working primarily with the women and youth of the Bodo community in the villages of Bongaigaon district in Assam. Their work is focused on improving livelihoods, education, and health. ANT helps women’s groups with design inputs and in the marketing of their finished products.


(IV) Development Communication


Programme Philosophy

The Development Communication programme uses the media in creative ways to promote the concerns of the marginalized. It also aims at developing communication initiatives that go hand in hand with the development interventions of the Foundation in its key theme areas of Gender Equity and Justice, Public Affairs and Urban Governance, and Remedying Regional imbalance.


The programme also seeks to shape the discourse on development based on the experiences of civic actors involved in bringing about social transformation.


Some Example :

Charkha is a communication initiative started by social activists with the following aims : to expand the space for social and development issues in the mainstream media through news reports, features, and edit articles; to train and establish a network of grass-roots journalists; and to impact communication skills to NGOs working on development issues. Currently there are five Charkhas running in different parts of the country – Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Karnataka.

  • NFI sponsored a short film Random Voices from Kashmir by Dr. Parvez imarn. The film portrays the pain and desperation, the humanity and hope of the people of Kashmir. The sponsorship of the film was done through the initiative of Charkha, Delhi.


(V) Voluntarism and Philanthropy


Programme Philosophy

The programme aims to build bridges between the world of poverty and deprivation and world of privilege in terms of education and access to resources that could benefit the poor.


The NFI Internship Programme

The NFI Internship programme is now in its third year. This year 22 students were placed with around 16 NGOs spread across the country. A two-day orientation programme was held before and after the placements. A host of development professionals and activities interacted with the interns and counseled them regarding their internship.


Some Example of : Ongoing Small Grants

Support was given to make a documentary film to promote voluntarism among the youth in Maharashtra.


Core funding was given to enable RIM to coordinate its countrywide programme of voluntarism for social transformation. The volunteer is expected to catalyse local efforts for social change.


Support was given for bringing together youth from South Asia for a seminar on the ‘First South Asian Conference of Economics Students’ in Delhi. This conference brought together young scholars from academic institutions in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India.


NFI supported MARG with a one-time grant for a legal literacy programme aimed at youth volunteers in Delhi.


(VI) Institution Building and Governance


Programme Philosophy

The aim is to enable NGOs to gain professional competence and promote democratic and egalitarian agendas internal to their organizations.


Some Example of : Ongoing Small Grants

  • This grant was towards capacity building and strengthening smaller and relatively new NGOs in Rajasthan. COSAP’S attempt is to raise awareness and facilitate dialogue within the voluntary sector on issues of accountability, transparency, democratic values, equity and gender. They are also helping locate interns recruited from IIRM, Jaipur, IIFM, Bhopal, Indore Schol of Social work, Indore, XISS, Ranchi and Aravali Institute of Management, Jodhpur with small and newly formed NGOs.
  • NFI’s support was towards capacity building for promotion of local governance in the context of social discrimination and exclusion of Harijans and women in five panchayats in Rajnagar block, Madhubani district of Bihar. The project activities include institutional support, capacity building and training of the staff and the community, self-help group empowerment, and promotion of a common platform for advocacy for Harijan self-rule.


(VII) NFI Awards for Partnership in Local Governance

This award was instituted to acknowledge the role of NGOs in strengthening Panchayati Raj institution to improve the lives of underprivileged sections of the society, especially women, through building partnerships between the government, the voluntary sector and the private sector, to document exemplary partnerships, to disseminate the leanings to encourage replication of such partnerships with required adaptation, and to provide support to help upscale such efforts.


Bharat Ratna C. subramaniam Fellowship for Community Leadership, Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Security.

The Fellowship was instituted in recognition of the late Shri C. Subramaniam’s seminal contribution to the areas of food security and sustainable livelihoods. Shri C. Subramaniam was also the guiding spirit behind NFI. The objectives of the Fellowship is to enhance the motivation and understanding of grass-roots voluntary sector workers and community leaders in the field of food security and sustainable livelihoods and to create a network of individuals and institutions to deepen the sector’s understanding of sustainable livelihood and food security issues.


For further details please contact :


National Foundation For India

Core 4A, India habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110 003

Ph.: 011-24641864/5, 24648490-92, Fax: 011-24641867

Email : [email protected] , Website: