At ASK, we believe in the spirit of constant learning and growth. We foster an environment of exploration, research, knowledge sharing, and experiential learning. Over the years, we have grown as development professionals, mastering specific approaches and methodologies of work, as well as developed an in depth insight into specific development issues and challenges, having worked on them extensively with NGOs world over. Our biggest strength is our ability to apply our learning across a wide array of regions, communities, and issues, thereby facilitating an effective process of cross learning for the benefit if all. Among our gamut of services and sectors of work, we identify the following to be our key strengths and Focus Areasss in the present day context.
One of our most unique and valued methodologies of training include conducting field based trainings. We believe that challenges in making an effective utilization of class room learning on the field can only be met if the training itself is carried out on the field, with the presence and participation of all stakeholders concerned. We facilitate “Learning by Doing”, giving a very practical approach to our training sessions, and using techniques of customization with respect to changing contexts and situations. How can a module on disaster risk reduction be fully understood? -By taking it to the banks of flood prone zones and meeting with the communities most affected by them. How can trainings on results based management techniques be assessed? -With the success of practically testing the approaches on a current project or programme. ASK Field Based Trainings ensure a practical and comprehensive approach to fully imbibing and effectively utilizing training sessions amidst ground realities.
RBM or Results Based Management is a much talked about phenomenon in the development sector. At ASK, the genesis of our organization, as well as that of each of our service domains was undertaken in keeping with the precise results to be achieved from them. RBM is therefore ingrained in our very system, our work and our ethics. We facilitate NGOs and CBOs to not only understand RBM in principle but to make it a part of their everyday actions and decisions. Every activityconducted and every resource deployed towards a programme must contribute in certain measure towards the results to be achieved at the micro and macro levels. RBM is not a product; it is a way of life that we seek to percolatewithin the depths of the social development sector and all the players therein.
Our work across service domains is undertaken with a rights based approach, one that we take to our consultations with communities, CBOs, and NGOs across the country and globally. Our goal is to further the mandate of full accession of rights among right holders and duty bearers. This holds true for a number of stakeholders including laborers, marginalized communities, women, children, elderly, Dalits, Tribals, Persons affected with Leprosy, Persons living with HIV/AIDS, those in poverty, and those most vulnerable. Rights Based Approach centers around the access to human rights, labour rights, social and economic rights, and is the foundation of every development intervention. ASK works with a collaborative approach along with concerned communities, development workers and the government in ensuring that delivery of, as well as access to, services, resources and roles is done in a manner that is based on the rights of every individual concerned.
At ASK we believe that no development effort can bear fruit in the long term if it exists in isolation. For sustainability of development interventions, it is vital to focus on knowledge sharing, mass sensitization, and involvement of organizations, legislators and officials holding the authority and responsibility to address issues in need of urgent attention. ASK supports its partners in using tools of advocacy to bring about positive change in situations at the micro and macro levels, aided with well researched studies, reports and publications. We have been active on this front under ASK Action For Inclusion, successfully approaching civil society members, media, and local government officials with issues and solutions pertaining to child labour, education, and community development across our projects. Our efforts have borne fruit through sustained and persistence efforts in this direction, and we hope to promote our endeavors going forward as well.
ASK works on issues of gender sensitization, empowerment, and mainstreaming as a cross cutting theme across all its projects. The core mandate of ASK regarding equitable development rests on the pillars of equality in all senses, of which gender equality forms a significant part. We have a strong focus on dealing with gender issues at the work place, in families, and in communities, effectively assessing and addressing the need to improve participation in decision making and access to household finances, education, and means of livelihood generation. The challenge lies in countering years of suppression and deprivation borne by women across communities. ASK works to instigate a behavioral and attitudinal change in the larger society towards women, starting with a woman’s right to be treated equally, fairly, and with respect. This is also displayed through our emphasis on girl child education, women’s empowerment, financial literacy and financial inclusion, all of which are core components of our projects under ASK Action For Inclusion.
ASK has worked extensively on issues of Disaster Risk Reduction across the country, providing capacity building support and evaluations of CMDRR programmes in regions most affected by natural hazards such as flood, tsunami, drought, and earthquake. We have over the course of our experiences developed an expertise in the subject and in facilitating better disaster management and risk reduction among communities and NGOs. CMDRR promotes an approach whereinthe development programme is managed by the community based on their needs and only facilitated by the supporting agencies. The process involves capacitating the communities for rights based action, wherein the sufferers of the yearly floods or earthquakes are also the deciders of measures to be adopted to mitigate the same. We have helped communities in their efforts to develop contingency plans for disaster preparedness along with long term DRR plans that address the root causes of vulnerability to disaster. Efforts are made to make the process highly participatory and inclusive of all sections of the society, engaging with stakeholders at the village, district and state level, while continuing efforts towards advocacy and lobbying with the government and the media.
Over the years ASK has developed an expertise in conducting a wide variety of evaluations, studies, and assessments across socio-economic issues, sectors and regions. We deliver comprehensively covered evaluations and studies that focus on different stages of a programme from pre-commencement to post-completion. Our partners approach us for our in-depth understanding of subject matter domains and ability to facilitatean informed, participatory, and sustainable process of tapping results for social change. We are recognized for our novel approach to community participation through exercises, consultations and group discussions, bystakeholders including NGOs, the Corporate Sector, Government and Donor Organizations.
ASK works towards the improvement of social, economic, working and environmental conditions in supply chains, encouraging international and domestic industry best practices, and increasing transparency in social compliance systems. We provide our services in partnering with factories to help them improvetheir systems of HR, compliance, policies, working conditions, supervision, management, and in developing their own codes of conduct. Our role is to serve as facilitators providing expertise and customized inputs enabling various stakeholders in the supply chain to adopt effective and ethical business practices. Our cross-industry experience and grassroots approach enables us to work from the bottom of the pyramid from the primary producers to the supplier and buyers. Our efforts include various tools such social audits, supply chain documentation, sensitizing various levels of a supply chain through engagement and discussion, and conducting participatory and inclusive capacity building of the various stakeholders.
Leveraging upon the years of cross-industryexperience in working with corporate houses, organizations, and the global business community, ASK offers its guidance, expertise, and managerial guidance to the Indian Corporate Sector though a number of customized services. Corporate Social Responsibility has gained further prominence over recent years, with introduction of new legislations and bills that guide and govern corporate spending and contribution to social development. ASK provides its expertise right from the study and conceptualization of CSR interventions, to facilitating management, monitoring and evaluation. Our grassroots approach combined with our experience of working with large corporates enable us to provide comprehensive solutions that are relevant, fruitful, and sustainable.
ASK has been working extensively on the issues of displacement, resettlement and rehabilitation of communities that are adversely affected due to infrastructure development projects. Issues of displacement arise due to lopsided development, wherein communities are forced to give up substantial portions of their assets without being recognized as primary stakeholders in development projects. The Resettlement & Rehabilitation (R&R) division of ASKworks to address such consequences of development-induced displacement, working with multilaterals, government bodies, autonomous institutions, private sector and financial corporations to address the agenda of social development and R&R in all such projects which involve involuntary resettlement. Our expertise includes conducting baseline surveys, resettlement census surveys, socio-economic surveys, poverty and social impact assessments, regional and national data analysis, development of frameworks on community participation and preparation of resettlement action plans for mitigating the negative impacts of development projects on the affected communities. ASK also entails monitoring of resettlement plan implementation as well as capacity building and institutional strengthening of Executing and Implementing agencies on social development and social safeguard aspects.
ASK has been working dedicatedly towards the agenda of Inclusive Development since its inception. Efforts, whether through partner organizations, or through ASK Action For Inclusion interventions, focus on elimination of any form of discrimination and marginalization based on ethnicity, gender, age, disability or poverty. Action For Inclusion covers select projects implemented directly by ASK,which hold demonstrative value and enablesurrounding NGOs, civil society members, and stakeholder to build their capacities in making a joint effort towards inclusive development. We believe in promoting equal access to opportunities, resources, rights, and decision making among all members of the community without bias. Success on this front can be achieved with a two pronged approach –by increasing awareness and access to resources, and byconstant collaboration with the government and service providers that reach out to communities most deprived.