Pratham India Education Initiative
About the Organisation
Nearing eleven years since the start of its
operations in the slums of Mumbai in 1994, Pratham has
reached over a million children so far, consistently reaching
over 200,000 children over the last few years through
pre-school, in-school and out-of-school programmes all aimed
at achieving its mission. A comprehensive study of the
Pratham Organization and its contribution to the problem of
primary education led to the conclusion that corporate India
would need to get involved to help scale up the model and as
a result Pratham India Education Initiative was established
as a 'Not for Profit' Company in June 2002. Its main features
1. A Board of Directors from amongst the leaders of
Corporate India who could oversee, guide and aid the
progress of universalisation through financial, managerial
and organization support was formed.
2. A Programme Support Group drawn from persons with
long experience in corporate environment led by the CEO of
Pratham to provide support in the areas of fundraising,
finance management, compliance and other related
managerial functions were recruited.
3. A Resource Centre was constituted which comprised
people who built Pratham since its inception and have
expertise in areas of mobilization, social-organization,
pedagogy, evaluation, research, training, and related
functions, namely Director, Resource Centre and five other
Directors including convener of the Exchange Forum.
The PIEI Board
The unique feature about the Board is the fundamental
belief that each individual member as well as the entire
Board has in the mission of Pratham and that their
involvement is crucial in achieving the same.
- The Board’s
engagement and involvement is a natural response to the
quality of work that the organisation does and the
commitment of the management to deliver on results
- Pratham has always invested time and effort in
attracting the best of talents to the organisation at the
management and staff level and invests in ensuring that
interest and commitment are sustained in staff.
- The main function of the PIEI Board is to sustain the
loosely federated network of organisations under the
Pratham umbrella - each a separate legal entity with its
own governance and reporting structure.
- The above is articulated and expectations are clarified.
- Some individual members are more accessible than others
and the CEO bearing in mind individual member motivations,
availability and the specific skills/expertise each brings
to the Board, solicits their contributions.
- Engagement is consciously planned and a well thought
through process by the CEO
- The relationship between the Board and the management is
one that offers guidance and overall supervision of
long-term strategy and policy.
- Communication is open and Board members are informed
when there are important developments. Otherwise, it is
only at the time of the Board meetings.
- Pratham has an extremely effective founder.
Understanding the passion and the drive of the founder and
managing the same in the context of a high profile Board
calls for very special people management skills in the CEO
Pratham India Education Initiative may be
12th floor Arcadia NCPA Lane Nariman Point
Mumbai Tel: 022 2288 6975
Mr Vaghul , Chair ,GIVE Foundation , India and Pratham India
on the role of Boards in the Indian Voluntary sector says
Usually Boards in NGOs in India primarily
fulfill a statutory role. In those organisations where the
founder/CEO is open to suggestion and inputs, it is easier to
introduce principles of good governance and extend the role
of the Board to that of offering guidance and strategic
Board members will rarely have the bandwidth
to be involved with all aspects of the programme and it is
not their role to do so. However, this creates information
asymmetry on the Board and almost forces members to play a
‘limited’ role. Therefore, communication to Board members
must be appropriate in terms of timing and content.
Inputs from Board members have to be
solicited intelligently and appropriately, keeping in mind
their other commitments. It is only in such a situation that
Board members can contribute optimally and effectively.
The role of the Chair is very important to
ensure appropriate Board room dynamics and effective team
spirit within the Board. Ensuring that the relationship
between the CEO and the Board is conducive to enhancing
organisational effectiveness and not counter productive is
also the Chair’s job.