Mennonite Central Committee India


Location: India
Organizations Involved:
MCC India
Author: Kiely Barnard-Webster, CDA Collaborative Learning

This case study examines the Mennonite Central Committee’s (MCC) work in India, supporting a variety of development and peacebuilding initiatives in Kolkata and its surrounding areas. The case was selected as a result of feedback received from participants during several external engagements.1 In particular, participants queried whether the SAS collaborative learning project would diversify and enrich existing case study evidence of exits and transitions by documenting a sustained long-term partnership model. This case study is a direct response to this suggestion, examining why MCC implements projects through partners, rather than directly, and how these working relationships take shape over time. Insights from MCC’s experience in India may serve as guidance for international and local aid actors looking to better understand how longer-term partnerships can help enable ongoing efforts at locally led development.

The report was produced using qualitative methods, with a total of 16 individuals – comprising six community partners, nine MCC staff, and one international partner – participating in semi-structured key informant interviews conducted in Kolkata and the United States. External experts with knowledge of the country’s civil society context were also interviewed separately. Also utilized were an analysis of MCC’s programmatic documents, interview notes, as well as lessons drawn from a 2017 online consultation led by SAS, and a thorough literature review published by the group in 2018. The Context section was put together by an Indian research partner based on both a thorough desk review and lived experience.


Rather than having a clearly defined exit or transition, MCC India’s approach is based on a steady transfer of funding, ownership, and responsibility over the course of a long-term partnership. This “accompaniment model” ensures efforts are genuinely locally led, embedding a mindset of transition from the outset.

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