ActionAid International and ActionAid Association


Location: India
Organizations Involved:
ActionAid Association ActionAid International
Author: Kiely Barnard-Webster, CDA Collaborative Learning & Kshiti Gala, Independent Consultant

This case study outlines the transition of Action Aid International (AAI) to Action Aid Association (AAA), an Indian organization. The report focuses on how AAA applied its organizational mission and values to the transition, particularly through internal and external messaging. In doing so, it builds on Sherine Jayawickrama’s 2012 report1 documenting Action Aid’s systems and processes for transitioning its governance framework, starting in 2003.

This case describes the organization’s “internationalization” agenda prior to the establishment of AAA. This agenda noted the demand for INGOs to be more accountable at the national level so, rather than “exit,” the focus was on setting up transparent national governance processes.

The report was written based on an analysis of relevant publicly available research, interview notes, lessons drawn from a 2017 online consultation led by SAS, and a thorough literature review published by SAS in 2018. The SAS consortia also fed into initial findings following fieldwork in India, and has remained engaged in analyzing lessons from each of the case studies in this collaborative learning project.

This case was produced using qualitative methods, through a series of semi-structured key informant interviews. AAA staff and several external experts familiar with the organization’s transition contributed to discussions. External experts with knowledge of the country’s civil society context were also interviewed.

In total, seven semi-structured key informant interviews were conducted in Delhi, Mumbai, and remotely with individuals at the local, national, and international level. The interviewees were, first, people who had managed the organization during transition or immediately afterwards; and, second, people who had worked at the organization during the transition phase. Given the small scope of the case study, government partners, donors, and program participants were not contacted for case research. The team also interviewed external experts with knowledge of the country’s civil society context.


This case study is an example of a transition from an INGO to a national entity – in this case, the transition from INGO ActionAid International to the fully Indian entity, ActionAid Association.

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