PAD started intervention in the villages of the Gulf of Mannar region in August 2002 with only a few staff members along with the founding members. With the initial support of Siemenpuu Foundation in April 2003, additional staffs were employed.

The working area and the village location of the field office are very remote and the search for qualified staff ranges from nearby urbanised centres to as far away as Bangalore. To motivate the mostly young professionals to work with PAD despite the remote location, PAD offers competitive salaries at every level. Due to the great distance to the nearby towns, most of the staff members live in the PAD offices during the week. To allow unmarried women to join the team, PAD has a declared policy to offer women a harassment-free working environment, which is closely monitored.

The special environment of PAD as both a living and working environment promotes cohesiveness within the team. Field experiences are intensely shared and this is supported by discussions among the whole team about new directions, new proposals or adjustments of programmes; to date, all important project components have been finalised after finding a common ground within the team.

PAD-management also sets an example of openness and non-hierarchical and democratic leadership. These basic attitudes are reflected in almost absolute transparency within the organisation: All correspondence, including the directors emails, are freely accessible by all team members from their computers. The project’s budgets of the different donors are known to the whole PAD-team (including the provisions for salaries), and auditors’ reports are freely available for reference.

Currently, 57 staff member (24 female) are on the pay role of PAD, 31 of them hold an academic degree and the majority of the PAD-team members are Dalits and Backward Castes (fishing community). PAD, as an organization, strongly opposes caste-related discriminating behaviour and part of its strategy is not to disclose the caste background of any staff member, either internally or to outsiders.

Within PAD, staff issues are handled by a seven-member staff monitoring committee which meets twice monthly to assess staff performance, conflicts and changes in assignments.

The staff members are highly qualified, dedicated and motivated. Multi-tasking is routine on an organisational as well as on a field level. All staff members have been observed to have excellent connectivity with the target groups. In the case of staff turn-over, the field work does not suffer because colleagues of other PAD-programmes competently follow-up on tasks.