The burgeoning size and the increasing visibility of the Voluntary Sector have often led to calls for the installation of an evaluation framework for Voluntary Organizations. Their increasing engagement with societal issues and with development programs has seen also the Planning Commission recommending the evolution of benchmarks and standards and some system of rating oraccreditation with reference to these standards. It was in this context that a number of Civil Society Organizations came together in December 2001 to set up a consultative framework for formulating Norms of good Governance in the Voluntary Sector and some system of certification against the Norms.
One of the objectives of Credibility Alliance is to develop a comprehensive directory of Norms,(Minimum Norms, Desirable Norms and Best Practices), sensitive to the spatial and functional diversity of the Sector. This in turn will enable VOs of different kinds and sizes to adopt them.
The core group working on this initiative chose the name Credibility Alliance to describe itself in order to emphasize the collaborative nature of the enterprise and to underscore the objective of enhancing the credibility of the Sector through this effort.
There was a great deal of discussion within the working group and the larger core group anchoring the exercise on the logic, semantics and classification of these Norms before the first draft was put out to debate in the Voluntary Sector. Then followed a series of workshops at local, regional and national levels throughout the next two years to canvas these Norms and invite inputs from the field. Over 1500 organizations took part in these deliberations at various levels and several suggestions, major and minor, were received and processed through the consultative framework set up for the purpose. A national workshop in November 2003 at New Delhi finalized the zero draft, that is, version zero (V0). This draft was compiled into a formal document, which was translated into nine regional languages, and was widely distributed within the Sector all over the country.