Ahilya Mahila Mandal is a NGO in Pen. It was founded in the year 1996 with a mission of "Empowering Women”. I have had the opportunity to closely observe and study the functioning of Ahilya Mandal for more than a decade now. I am awed with the dedication, planning skills and the way they execute various programs, with a very small pool of voluntary members. The purpose of this note is not to list the various achievements of Ahilya Mandal (and they are many!!!) but a selfish one. I want to share the lessons learnt from the study of Ahilya Mandal's Organizational Model from a business management's perspective. As compared to any business, Ahilya Mandal is a clear leader in the area of strategy and the effectiveness of the governing body. It also excels in the area of employee motivation and productivity. They are pioneers, in their own right, at devising policies and procedures that we in business have not even thought of.
Ahilya Mandal runs a dozen odd programs under four clearly defined avenues of service. In all these programs a commitment to management is clearly evident. Sixteen years ago when Ahilya Mandal started, "management" was a dirty word in a NGO set-up. The stigma of this word in still prevalent. However, without the pressure of a bottom line many NGOs get undisciplined. Slowly many NGOs are realizing that they need management. Ahilya Mandal realized it long back that "good intentions" are not a substitute to organization, leadership, accountability, performance and results. Clarity of Purpose: The first thing a business needs to learn from Ahilya Mandal is their clarity of mission. "Empowering Women" is so simple to read but is so actionable than most of the missions we read of big businesses. The clarity of purpose has helped Ahilya Mandal define the 4 Avenues - Education, Self-Reliance, Health and Social Security and the various programs that are ran under them. This has helped them