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Report of One-Day Conference

 Networking of NGOs of India

This is a brief report of one-day conference on ‘Networking of NGOs of India’ organized under the aegis of All India Council of Muslim Economic Upliftment Ltd. (AICMEU), Mumbai on 31 July 2003 at the Conference Hall of Hotel Sahil, Grant Road, Mumbai. The conference was participated by more than 60 active NGOs hailing from all over India, although majority of them was from Maharashtra state. The prime objective of the meet was to explore the possibility of networking among the NGOs working for similar objectives. The conference was addressed by experts of international repute, apart from those having rich experience in the field of welfare and developmental programmes within the country. Indeed, the meet was an outcome of thinking of some leading activists for last one and half decades. The participating organizations were mainly chosen on the basis of their significant contribution in the progress and advancement of weaker sections of the Indian society such as minorities, women, Dalits, destitute, etc.


1.  Inaugural Session


The conference began with the invocation by Hafiz Manzoor Ali, chairman Millat Trust, Jaipur, which was followed by introductory remarks of the chief organizer and the chairman of AICMEU Dr. Rahmatullah. He welcomed the participants and guests at the outset and appreciated their valued presence after undertaking long journeys for an august cause while surpassing so many difficulties. He also regretted delay in the proceedings due to some unavoidable circumstance.


Dr. Rahmatullah went on to say that the objectives of the conference were explicated in the circulated write up, enclosed with the invitation for the meet. According to him that note was a product of his exchange of view with a lot of friends and, therefore, it was perhaps a shared document of most of the participants of the meet. He expressed hope that the conference was going to enhance the work of joining organizations in a significant way and it was surely going to boost up the struggle of these organizations for the welfare of common people. Dr Rahmatullah continued to underline that the big question before the conference was whether the like-minded organizations were prepared to network among themselves for the mutual good or not. Then he gave an idea about the participating organizations and informed that out of 75 organizations invited from 13 different states of India, 45 NGOs from 9 different states with 58 representatives are attending this conference. He further explained that although one of the chief guests Mr. Manzoor Ghori, Chairman, Indian Muslim Relief Committee, USA, was unable to grace the conference due to his sudden illness and change in schedule. However, fortunately some timely arrangement was possible due to the presence of an expert from Republic of South Africa Mr. Mohd. Amra, who along with Mr. Mammon Al - Azami, representative of Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, was going to speak to the participants as experts on the theme of the conference.


His remarks were followed by mutual introduction of the participants and the keynote address of the coordinator of the conference Dr. M. Zaki Kirmani, chairman, Centre for Studies on Science, Aligarh.

In his keynote, Dr. Zaki spoke on the theme ‘Need for Federating the NGOs’. He was of the opinion that the conference was going to create a history because it was a pioneering effort of its own kind. He remembered on the occasion the past experiences of a coordination committee, which initiated mutual coordination among like-minded organizations in early eighties and expressed his regret that the experiment was a short lived one, although it developed and strengthened around a dozen organizations, of which the host organization was also one, that grew into outfits of national and international eminence. The learned speaker referred that the nostalgia of the referred experiment and churning of ideas in the emerging scenario in the country had lead to the holding of present meet. He lamented that the normal state of the organizations, otherwise doing a lot of good work in challenging circumstances and generally with smaller resources, was that they hardly come closer to interact with each other and mutually share experiences and resources. He went on to say that there was a sea change in the government policies and much emphasis regarding developmental activities had then been laid on the participation of NGOs. In such a situation, he appreciated that it was a welcomed sign that on a call of just one month’s time a significant number of participants took interest to render the conference an initial success for networking and federal work among the NGOs working for similar objectives. He reminded the audience that most of the participating organizations were working with smaller funds although the government had allocated a lot of funds for the objectives for which they were working and it was only due to lack of proper coordination among them that they were being deprived of those resources which would grow their work by leaps and bounds. Dr. Zaki also made his point clear by taking the instance of open schools and universities of which the weaker sections of society had failed to take full advantage of and the NGOs working for their uplift were consuming very hard earned resources for establishing badly maintained schools and educational institutions for the target people. He also brought home the point that a number of areas of activities and concern were still remained unexplored and much was needed to attend the emerging needs of the people to be served. While concluding his stimulating remarks he once more anticipated that the conference was going to be a historic moment in the way towards networking among a lot of mutually bonded organizations.


2.  Symposium


The Inaugural Session was followed by a symposium on the theme ‘Problems and Prospects of Networking’. The guest speakers Mr. Mohammad Amra, representative of WAMY in South Africa, and Mr. Abdullahil Mamoon Al-Azami, the Community Development Specialist of Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, initiated the discussion of the symposium, followed by presentations of various participants.


Mr. Amra shared his experiences and observations pertaining to the advantages of networking for the common cause as he gathered in his own country. He said that people of minority communities in South Africa were very much conspicuous in their activities although their numerical strength was hardly two per cent. According to him it was the outcome of effective networking and pertinent coordination among various non-governmental organizations of the nation. In his interesting and absorbing style he discussed the basic idea of networking by making sense of the commonly resorted mechanism of networking around, such as friend circle, cooperatives, Internet, mosques, chambers of commerce, etc.


While deriving importance of networking from the verse of the Qur’an, which emphasizes mutual cooperation for good and virtuous cause and forbids cooperation in vice and evil, the lucid speaker Mr. Mamoon al-Azami made it evident and clear that the motive for the cooperation should be basically for the sake of God Who commands mutual cooperation among human beings in all their affairs. He then discussed from his well-presented notes on such sub-themes as Defining an NGO, What is Networking?, Why NGOs should Network?, How to begin Networking?, Developing Strategy for Action, Role of the NGO Bureau, etc. His ideas regarding the concept of Networking were taken well. Participants inmass endorsed a suggestion of formulizing networking as suggested in the basic documents distributed.


These guest lectures were followed by general discussion on the central theme of the conference. Every participant raised his concern and shared his thought on the issue. However the following suggestions and ideas were postulated by a number of speakers:


¨      Mr. Ghaffar Shaikh, MCED, Aurangabad  (Maharashtra)

Entrepreneur development is an essential task before the NGOs

Proper training of the workers should be regularly undertaken for better results

Resource persons should be shared

¨      Mr. Tariq Sajjad, Ranchi (Jharkhand)

The network should provide timely information to its members

Guidelines should be provided for preparing projects to avoid common shortcomings and official vendetta

Vital issues such as FCRA should be raised with the officials

News bulletin of the network should be published

Training course for the social workers should be developed

Website should be launched

Directory of the NGOs should be prepared and published

¨      Mr. Abdul Rashid Agwan, Director, CAVE, New Delhi

Information flow among the members

Ideological and conceptual development of workers

Development of uniform policies

Sharing of views and experiences

Sharing of surplus resources and seed money for initiation of work in new areas

Lobbying with officials and government departments

Accreditation of genuine organizations

  Mr. Abdul Rashid, Parbhani (Maharashtra)

Central body should remain active

Survey and data collection for better planning

Avoidance of duplication of work

Blueprint for long term goal of the work

¨      Mr. Parvez Anjum, Kidderpore Literary Society, Kolkata (West Bengal)

Eradication of religious divisions of the community

NGOs should take interest in preservation and development of Wakf properties, mosques, etc. for the common cause.

¨      Dr. M. I. Bagisiraj, Director, HRD Academy, Belgam (Karnataka)

Removal of isolation of the NGOs from the mainstream

Effective linkages with fund providers

Development of sense of togetherness

¨      Mr. Hafiz Manzoor Ali, Chairman, Millat Trust, Jaipur (Rajasthan)

Professional backup for governmental funds required

he community should financially support at least one dynamic volunteer in each state to undertake networking responsibilities

¨      Mr. Abdul Majid, Guwahati (Assam)

State committees of the network should be formed

¨      Mr. Syed Zahid Ali Akhtar, President, AIIGA, New Delhi

Sharing of premises by different NGOs

Professional organization should provide specific help to the NGOs

¨      Mr. Abdul Karim Salar, Jalgaon (Maharashtra)

Eradication of corruption of the NGOs

Education should be the first priority

Well known and recognised organizations and institutions should take initiative for strengthening local work

¨      Mr. Ishaque Sharfuddin, Pune (Maharashtra)

Priority should be given to education

Some fund should be developed to support students to pay higher fees due to the ongoing privatisation of education

¨      Dr. Mazoor Ayyubi, Malegaon (Maharashtra)

Follow up of the conference is very important

The problem of child labour should be properly addressed to

Prime attention should be given to smaller organizations on priority

¨      Mr. Nasim Khan, Ideal Education Movement, Mumbai

The NGOs should be potentially open for all people

Drop out rates should be properly dealt with

The organizations like IDB should pay attention towards primary education and mass literacy

Qualitative and competitive educational environment should be build up

Pooling of human and material resources

¨      Mr. Irfan Merchant, Rahat Welfare Trust, Mumbai

Social audit of NGOs is necessary

Special efforts for the uplift of slum areas

¨      Mrs. Shazadi Hakim Khan, Rashtriya Mahila Nigam, Mumbai

Sharing of good things from every one

Gaps between haves and have nots should be reduced

The CAs should undertake social audit

Motivation of boys for education especially in slum areas is required

Studies abroad should be supported

¨      Mr. Munir Khan, Nasik (Maharashtra)

Life without leader should be eschewed

The AICMEU’s plan for economic development should be considered for implementation in various parts of the country

Social leaders should not be bothered for livelihood

Removal of corruption should be on the agenda of the network

¨      Mr. Liyaqat Parvez, Banglore (Karnataka)

Participation in programmes organized by other NGOs

Interaction with organizations working for similar objectives

Advantage should be taken of the World Social Forum to be held in Mumbai in early next year

¨      Ms. Alia Sabir, Khidmat Trust, New Delhi

There should be an underlining sense of responsibility towards God and not just the motive of material gain and self-gratification

Development of team work

¨      Ms. Farzana Loya, Mumbai, Al Huda Children’s Welfare Trust

Stress on harnessing governmental funds

Mr. Mamoon Al - Azami, while summing up suggestions of the participants, remarked at the end of the symposium that there were around 40 points presented by them out of which some were very important from his point of view, namely, mass literacy, preparing social leaders as service providers (khadim) and not as self-gratifying leaders, supporting the supporters, remembering the real motive of social work that is the Pleasure of God, and the development of team work. He also highlighted three “Es”, i.e. economy, efficiency and effectiveness and three “Is”, i.e. initiative, interaction and involvement. Lastly he reminded “In our approach we are not pro-Muslims rather we are against none. Indeed we are bridging people across their affinities”.


In his concluding remarks, Mr. Amra appreciated the intensity of heat that emerged in the symposium. He expressed that NGO as a unit had an organic role. He appealed that the contract of the NGOs with the society (abaya) should be honoured and more and more workers should volunteer their time for the cause of development and advancement.


Before concluding of the session, Dr. Rahmatullah Chief organizer asked the participants about the end product of the daylong deliberations. Responding to this with a voice vote all the participants resolved unanimously that this exercise of Networking of NGO’s of India be taken ahead till it materializes on a ground scale. Further the participants authorized Dr. Rahmatullah to go ahead with the scheme and promised that they all will extend their wholehearted cooperation for the scheme as and when required.


These remarks were followed by the presentation of Resolutions of the Conference by Dr. M. Zaki Kirmani, the Coordinator of the meet. The audience subsequently endorsed the document after minor modifications as below.




“This conference of like-minded NGOs, working for the cause of minorities and other weaker sections and hailing from different parts of India, at Hotel Sahil, Mumbai, on 31st July 2003, resolves:


1.      To attend to the need of coordinating the NGOs working for similar objectives in different areas of upliftment, development and reformation.

2.      To develop a structure and mechanism for networking and federating among interested NGOs having homogenous and heterogeneous objectives.

3.      To chalk out ways and means to take full advantage of resources available through government channels and other funding agencies.

4.      To form a core group of NGOs representing from different regions of the country with the objective of formulating and proposing aims and objects, shape and structure and mechanism for the proposed network/federation.

5.      That all the NGOs present in today’s conference will constitute the basic constituents of the proposed structure of the federating NGOs.”


At the end of the symposium, Mr. H. B. Nawab, the Honorary Secretary General of AICMEU, the host organization thanked the inspiring guests and all the participants and volunteers of the Conference. Mr. Tariq Ikramullah, Secretary of The students Islamic Trust, New Delhi, made dua for the success of the initiative taken by the conference.


Dr. Rahmatullah declared the conference as over and invited the participants to join the lunch in the lobby.


Note: - On authority given by the constituents Dr. Rahmatullah in consultation with the coordinator Dr. M. Zaki Kirmani formed the following team to carry on this task jointly henceforth –


1.      Mr. Tarique Sajjad                Ranchi (Jharkhand)

2.      Mr. Tarique Ikramullah          New Delhi (Delhi)

3.      Mr. Mushtaque Ahmad         Chennai (Tamilnadu)

4.      Dr. M. Zaki Kirmani               Aligarh (U.P.)

5.      Dr. Rahmatullah                     Mumbai (Maharashtra)


Rappottuers; - Mr. Abdul Rashid Agwan



Annexures: -  

1.      Introductory document circulated among participant NGOs. 

2.      List of the NGO’s (Representatives) attended the session.