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Volunteer Policy
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Volunteer Policy

The Academic Advisors (TAA) is a Social Enterprise for Service to Society. It is a voluntary nonprofit NGO playing the role of a catalyst in bringing together various agencies within the Public and Private sectors, social service organizations, Educational Institutions, Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Consultants, Civic Forums and likeminded individuals on to a common platform and stressing the importance of deploying different forms of sustainable energy, educational & preventive health care system, and empowerment of people for achieving the common national goal for the betterment of our country.

TAA organizes Educational Exchange Programs under its “Getting Involved for a Valuable Experience” (GIVE) project. TAA meets its objectives in India through networking with national and international organizations.

History of Program:
  • Although TAA is a little under two years old as a registered body, its present Directors and Trustees have been receiving students from Sweden for their educational exchange programs since 1994, with SWINDIA (It is a International cross cultural exchange program between India and Sweden’s Orebro and Mid Sweden universities). The same has been now conducted under the banner of TAA–GIVE for SWINDIA.
  • TAA-GIVE receives qualified individuals to Pune-India to do development work with highly motivated non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and with TAA’s own projects.
  • TAA takes minimum 8 members & maximum 24 members, for a three-month exchange program, between January to March and June to November of each year. Acceptance into the program is highly competitive and the program selects only the most committed and promising individuals for this exchange program.
  • Members work in a variety of development activities which include Education, Environment and Empowerment projects.

Currently TAA can provide opportunities for following field experience:
  • Designing and executing Life Skills Orientation programs for teens and youth.
  • Exposure to alternative therapies for keeping the immune system alert and active especially in the cases of HIV/ AIDS, Cancer and other acute and chronic conditions.
  • HIV intervention programs in Pune
  • Environment project:
    • Saving rivulets and rivers with people’s participation in it in association with Jalbiradari. (This is an NGO which works on water bodies on a National and International basis).
    • Participation and promoting the project: “Schools and Colleges for Plastic Garbage Free Pune City”
    • Participating in environment research programs.
    • Purification of sewage water with the use of Green Bridge technology by Srishti Eco Research Institute (SERI) & Grin (Green Infrastructure- A company which builds the bridges)
    • Waste management systems of Pune.

TAA - GIVE Project Staff Information

There are two permanent members, Mr. Augustine Mendonca CEO & Mrs. Susan Raj Principal Director, With several volunteers who are invited whenever the exchange programs are on.


TAA provides overall structure to the GIVE project. It provides the time and commitment to the GIVE members to ensure that the member’s learning and contribution to the NGO is optimal.

TAA responsibilities include:
  • Identify and define specific projects for each GIVE Member to work on. Each project should be a balance of the NGO’s needs and the Member’s skills and interests. This process should ideally begin before the member arrives and will continue through the three month program. This includes completing progress reports for TAA on how the GIVE project is progressing.
  • Designate a Focal Person (mentor) in the organization who has the time and expertise to guide the GIVE Member through their work at the NGO. The person will be the main contact point for the GIVE Member and for TAA. The Supervisor will be responsible for:
    • Introducing the GIVE Member to the other employees of the organization
    • Providing an orientation to the GIVE Member to cover office procedures
    • Supervising the GIVE Member’ projects
    • Communicating with TAA on a regular basis in the specified reporting format.
  • TAA will Provide the following logistical support for the GIVE Member.
    • Secure housing before he/she arrives
    • Arrange appropriate project support (internet access, travel support, medical support, safety and security)
    • Provide necessary assistance in opening bank accounts if needed.
    • Assist with the foreigner registration process at the FRRO or local Commissioner of Police’s office.
    • Assist in any other routine logistical needs to enable him/her to adjust to the new work and living environment.
    • In situations where GIVE Members are living in rural areas – away from ATMs/banking facilities, it may be more convenient if Funds are deposited in the NGO account so that before they leave for rural placement they have needed cash with them.

Programmatic Responsibilities

TAA Orientation
  • A five day orientation is held just after the Members’ arrival in India. The orientation aims to expose members to development issues through field visits, discussions, lectures and films. The topics covered range from economics and politics of India to the health situation, to gender and culture issues that they may face in India. In order to familiarize him/her with the work of the host NGO an overview of all its activities and how they link together will be provided. The structure of the orientation is to be determined by TAA.
  • After the orientation, GIVE members will depart for their project posting either with TAA or other NGOs which have been arranged.

It is the responsibility of the NGO to ensure that the GIVE member is provided with office space (a desk and a chair at the very least) throughout the duration of the exchange program.

Exposure Visits

GIVE members will be allowed to go sightseeing during their last week in India. This visit can be planned by them after they have checked out of the GIVE project. That means after their endpoint presentation they can leave to go sightseeing anywhere in India. TAA may provide guidance in choosing the place but will not be responsible for their stay and safety issues. TAA will inform the concerned Police department about their checkout from the program. Members will not be allowed to extend their VISA under TAA’s association.

Appendix1: Important Contact Information

Mrs. Susan Raj
Principal Director (TAA),
Email: susan@taaindia.org,
Phone: +919371007716
Mr. Augustine Mendonca
CEO / Director Administration,
Email: gusm51@yahoo.co.in,
Phone: +919960520321
Office Address:
The Academic Advisors,
308, Siddhivinayak Keshar Building, (3rd Floor),
Narpatgiri Chowk,Somwarpeth,
Pune - 411011,INDIA

Appendix 2: Candidate Selection & Host NGO Placement

GIVE member Selection Criteria

GIVE member Exchange is awarded to highly qualified individuals who:
  • Demonstrate a deep interest and commitment toward economic development work and towards India
  • Demonstrate a high potential for impact
  • Are willing to engage in the full-time service of a non-governmental organization that is working to accelerate social and economic development in India.

TAA GIVE Member Exchange is awarded to anyone who is at least 21 years of age and will have completed a Diploma or bachelor’s degree prior to starting this program.

TAA GIVE members need to have a wide range of educational and professional experience both in development and other areas of expertise.

GIVE member Selection Procedure

All applicants fill out an online application for the TAA GIVE Exchange program, which includes their educational background, work experience, and three essays about why they want to participate in the TAA GIVE program.

Based on their paper applications, the TAA GIVE committee shortlists candidates to be interviewed according to the previously mentioned criteria.

Each short-listed candidate is interviewed by two ESF committee members.

Final group of GIVE members is selected after the interviews are discussed and evaluated by the committee.

GIVE member Placement Process

After matriculating into the TAA GIVE Exchange program, each GIVE member fills out a questionnaire detailing their interests and skills

TAA also collects questionnaires from our pool of interested NGOs with information about the organization and potential projects for GIVE members

The TAA India team uses the GIVE member applications and the NGO questionnaires to narrow down a list of potential Host NGOs that fit the above criteria and could be a potential match. This includes a round of visiting new Host NGOs and refining potential projects.

GIVE members receive customized information on potential Host NGO matches and after looking through all the information and discussing with TAA & ESF staff, GIVE members submit preferences for Host NGOs

TAA and the Host NGOs collaborate to make the final decisions on placement based on GIVE member preferences and Host NGO needs

TAA undertakes to do everything it can to ensure that each GIVE member is matched with a Host NGO that fit the above criteria and that are capable of facilitating a challenging and enriching service experience. However, prospective GIVE members should be aware that, as with any employment situation, paid or otherwise, matching individuals and organizations is a complex business, more akin to art than science. TAA program staff will be advocates for GIVE members whenever possible; however they cannot guarantee a GIVE member’s satisfaction or ultimate success in the context of his or her Host NGO placement.

Appendix 3: Abbreviations

TAA – The Academic Advisors
GIVE – Get Involved for a Valuable Experience
NGO- Non Governmental Organization
ESF- Etudiants Sans Frontieres
LiSOP – Life Skills Orientation Program
PAMPER- Parental Attitude Modification to Prepare them for Empowerment & Remedial teaching
TAMPER – Teachers Attitude Modification to Prepare them for Empowerment & Remedial teaching
BEST – Building Esteem for Self Transformation
MMS – Master Mineral Supplement
SHG – Self Help Group
S&CPGFP – Schools & Colleges for Plastic Garbage Free Pune