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Home >> Case studies from the Indian Voluntary Sector >> Apnalaya


About the Organisation

Apnalaya strives to create equal opportunities for everyone and promoting an optimum quality of life. Apnalaya extends its helping hand in communities that lack the most basic amenities and where access to education is difficult. It concentrates on developing local knowledge, skills and leadership and on providing direct services when required.

The Apnalaya Board

Perspectives from both a Board member and CEO

  1. The Board comprises people who have evolved and grown with the organisation
  2. It is a Board of peers and is homogenous – diversity for the sake of it is not practiced and its quality of the individuals in terms of skill and commitment that form the basis of selection of Board members
  3. Most have worked and continue to engage in the programme on a voluntary basis but in a hands on manner.
  4. It has been mandatory for all Board members to posses some degree of community orientation in addition to the other skills they bring in
  5. This has led to a greater understanding of organisational needs and the context in which Apnalaya works.
  6. Board members are accessible at all times and are in touch with the programme and all related aspects by way of information
  7. Board members have to have demonstrated pragmatism and flexibility in their approach, given the nature of Apnalaya’s work.
  8. The processes in the Board are very democratic and disagreements are always resolved through discussions and dialogue.
  9. Whilst democracy and consultation may sometimes compromise speed…it has worked for Apnalaya in that it has enabled a great sense of ownership and pride across the Board on all issues
  10. Whilst formal lines of authority are non existent, there are stringent guidelines for financial and programme accountability.
  11. Supporting and trusting the CEO form the basis of engagement of the Board with the organisation
  12. Clarity in terms of expectations of time and commitment makes it easier to engage individual Board members appropriately.
  13. The Board is encouraged to meet with field staff as well as the community
  14. Since access to all stakeholders is high and channels of communication open, it has been possible to develop a high degree of ownership in the Board of the organisation
  15. everyone has access to information
  16. The role of the Chair has been significant in ensuring the effectiveness of the Board.
  17. Since Apnalaya is a ‘community led’ organisation, planning too much into the future in terms of Board needs is not very relevant

Apnalaya maybe contacted at

75, Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai 400 026, India Email:  &