“We all possess this one great gift – the ability to discover and develop the infinite possibilities within us.” – Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda

CORD’s model focuses on implementing CORD’s strategy of motivating, mobilizing and enabling communities to systematically plan, execute and evolve beyond their issues through various Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). These CBOs, especially the women’s group or Mahila Mandal, are the core of CORD’s constituent programs as well.

Dr. Kshama Metre, National Director of CORD says, “The evolution of CORD’s vision and strategy wouldn’t have been possible without the blessings of Pujya Gurudev, who gave a free hand to the core team to design the Program with openness and flexibility. Drawing strength from Gurudev’s vision, we were able to design and implement the Program as an open, flexible and yet an inclusive and comprehensive Program back in 1986. This laid the foundation for the robust model of CORD. And, the Program still finds its relevance today, as we continue to evolve and integrate newer aspects into the Program elements. The greatest strength of CORD’s success lies in its openness and flexibility to communities’ needs so that the micro voices from the grassroots reach the macro levels, which became ingrained in the program due to the trust and belief that Gurudev expressed for the Program.”

Given below are the various components of the model

Other than focusing on individual development, each CBO is built and nurtured ward-wise as per the Panchayat (local self-governance) structure. It also encourages people to participate in local self-governance, starting from the Up-gram Sabha at each of the wards in a Panchayat and then finally in the Gram Sabha.

The structural and operational model is a deliberate design to mainstream and integrate the communities at the grassroots with the constitutionally recognized Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI), without creating a parallel structure.


The CORD model is built on four core principles

  • Participation – Empowering program recipients to believe in their potential to participate actively and create change. While CORD’s team works with an open attitude of learning from the community to help them serve better, it also shares best-practices and learning to create collective intervention for the community’s development.
  • Integration – Integrating various intra-sectorial interventions within one specific sector along with interventions by other related sectors, leading to inter-sectorial interventions too.
  • Networking – Enabling rural people to network and collaborate at various levels within different groups in the villages, and with government departments and other stakeholders to increase utilization of available resources from the government and others for faster resolution of issues and optimal utilization of resources.
  • Sustainability – Building the capacity of leaders and communities to make collective decisions, assume responsibilities, and adapt programs.

Under the Program of CORD there are various specific programs addressing specific issues. However, it is well-known that the poor and marginalized have multiple issues that impact their lives. Hence, all CORD programs interlink with each other as and when required, as a part of the model.

To simply explain CORD’s work, the team walks into a village, talks to the people, organizes them into CBO collectives, and discusses issues of concern with them. CORD works with the CBOs to assess and prioritize their issues and make simple, feasible plans with them for action. Subsequently, CORD follows up with the villagers, consistently and persistently, until the issue is resolved. Thus, a cycle of addressing their diverse issues is initiated – to find, assess, modify, and implement feasible solutions and refine the process until the work is done. Continuous training of different durations on a range of topics is a regular feature of CORD’s Program