Citizens & Society :Overview

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The notion of citizenship is defined as membership in a political community, and is associated with the political rights of the individual in society. At the same time it implies a culture of civic participation in the public sphere, to improve life for the community, and for all citizens. While this culture is rooted in social, economic, and political structures, it is also shaped by individual attitudes, beliefs, values, and knowledge. The qualitative contribution of the individual in society is thus a function of enlightened and informed citizenship. Therefore, there is a need to invest in present day leaders. However, leadership is not the sole prerogative of people holding positions of power. It is also exercised by citizens in their individual capacity, who use their vision, charisma, influence, knowledge, and experience to bring about social change.

With this background, NFI has over the past decade has aimed to invest, support and strengthen individual leaders – youth, development sector workers and those associated with the business community in their various capacities to bring in social change and transformation.

The thematic area is categorized into 3 specific initiatives



NFI’s Youth Voluntarism Program is part of a larger Citizens and Society Portfolio which seeks to support both citizens and society in their civic spheres to help recognize their potential as agents of social change. Currently in its twelfth year, the Voluntarism program seeks to channelize the idealism of youth and promote the spirit of voluntarism and civic action among young people so that they can bring about greater social justice and humaneness in society. It operationalizes this vision by implementing an annual youth internship program in Delhi and through its grant making program which gives small grants to civil society organizations engaging with young people in different parts of the country.


NFI has been working with predominantly 2 kinds of model – The youth internship and the Grants for youth engagement.
With the objective of facilitating a process of exposure and interaction between young people from varied backgrounds and the development sector as a whole, for the past seven years NFI has been facilitating the initiative with a multi pronged approach. A school voluntarism program, Youth Internship and Apprenticeship program are elements of this approach.
To promote the spirit of voluntarism, each year, on an average, 70 students are placed in different NGOs across the country. Along with the enthusiasm of the students, host NGOs too feel that this is one way to attract and recruit talented and idealistic youth into the development sector. Besides the internship programme, NFI also supports a range of initiatives including seminars and conferences that are designed to make young people more interested and aware of development issues. One of the key focuses of the programme has been supporting Youth Resource Centers that create platforms for the youth to learn and share, enhance their skills and gain confidence to become responsible members of their communities. The work at the adolescent resource centers is geared to inculcate in the minds of the youth a sense of universal responsibility while at the same time help them gain a positive identity in their society. NFI through its initiatives in Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan and Delhi has been working with adolescents and youth to create social awareness among young adults. Various mediums such as informal discussions, art, debates, computer, English and personality development trainings, theatre, seminars, sports, painting, exhibitions, film screenings, debates, festivals, writing and photography workshops are being used to engage with the youth. Till date we have had around 350 young interns who have completed their internship successfully with NFI and partner organizations, 12 youth apprentices and about 15 grants to promote youth voluntarism across the country. The School Voluntarism Programme has been designed as an interactive programme around a photo exhibition, exhibiting development and challenging work and activities of various communities and NGOs across the country. We reached out to 1000 students (together from school and college) through the exhibition cum interaction.

C S Awards


NFI has initiated a Social Leadership Programme with a vision to promote grass-roots leadership and to strengthen the voluntary sector’s understanding and need for promoting leadership for social transformation. The objectives of the programme are to stimulate collective leadership among the marginalized in order to help them transform from passive spectators to active agents of social transformation.


Based on the above vision, NFI has designed its own leadership programme, which has three components: C. Subramaniam award for mid career voluntary workers and community leaders, Fellowship programme and project grants. 1 C. Subramanium Award:This award is given by NFI on an annual basis to select mid career voluntary sector workers and community leaders. Over the last seven years, more than 40 persons were given the award. Nearly half of them are women fellows.
In 2008, the C.S. Award programme was decentralized and was taken to Northeastern India for a wider reach in the difficult areas. NFI has taken this initiative to some of the partner organizations in the northeast region. NFI supported four organisations- Synroplang for Social transformation (SST) in Shillong; Tamulpur Anchalik Gramdan Sangh (TAGS) in Kumarikata, Assam; Action Network Trust (ANT) in Bongaingaon, Assam and Tejpur District Mahila Samiti (TDMS) in Tejpur Assam to pilot the leadership awards program at their levels.
2. C.S Fellowship: Over the years, the C.S. Award programme has evolved into a full-fledged fellowship programme. The fellowship programme includes sessions for the awardees on self-reflection and experience sharing, keynotes and special lectures, exposure visits and interaction and other activities over a time period of 7 days. It ends with a year-long assignment on subjects chosen by the participants themselves. 3. Project Grants: NFI gives project grants to field partners to build social leadership on the ground. For example, a project grant was made to Sahyog Community Coordination Network in Vishakhapatnam district of A.P. in December 2007 to pilot a project on building social leadership among the trans-border Primitive Tribal Groups of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. This partnership still stands.

Future Outlook

NFI has been working with NGOs in the Northeast and Andhra Pradesh on a pilot basis. We want to extend/replicate the programme to all the states, particularly to those where tribal people form a significant portion of the population.

Program Team:

Barsha Poricha, Programme Director ( )


Mini Kakkar , Programme Officer (

C S Awards:

Amita Pal ( )

Social Justice Philathropy:

Pradeep Patra, Senior Programme Officer ( )

Community Leaders

Voluntary Sector Workers

Contact Us

National Foundation for India
India Habitat Centre
Core 4A, Upper Ground Floor
Lodi Road, New Delhi 110 003, INDIA

 91-11-24641864, 24641865

 91-11-24648490, 24648491