Vikram Sarabhai Centre for Development Interaction (VIKSAT) was set up in the year 1977 as an activity of the Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD) to take proactive steps to conserve the environment. VIKSAT felt that lack of interactions is a major bottleneck in involving individuals and organizations in environment protection. Hence, VIKSAT articulates its mission as promoting and strengthening people's institutions through interactions, for an equitable, gender sensitive, sustainable development and management of natural resources.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE ORGANIZATION INCLUDE:
- promote and strengthen People’s Institutions (PIs) for sustainable development through natural resource management (NRM)
- evolve innovative participatory NRM strategies for dissemination and scaling up
- work towards decisive participation of the communities, especially women, and community organizations in policy forums
- strive for developing appropriate and enabling legal and policy frameworks
- facilitate technology and information access and transfer in NRM
- network with Government Organizations, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and PIs and other technical institutions for the above
Over the last 34 years, VIKSAT has worked at grassroots level with communities in their local regions towards developing models which ensure sustainability of livelihoods through natural resource management. To enhance meaningful participation in natural resources management, VIKSAT has been working towards imparting skills related to institution building, resource generation, management and other support.
In the initial years, VIKSAT worked on the promotion of wasteland development and afforestation programme with Government and NGO participation. With strong belief/understanding that all promotional messages need to be derived from sound field practice/experience, it identified Bhiloda block (tribal dominated) of Sabarkantha district in Gujarat for its learning’s from the grassroots. The direct field implementation provided grassroots insights and a firm footing on understanding of community based needs and developmental solutions. This was further enhanced through support functions which include building linkages, engagement in training and documentation, inter alia. Thus, right from the beginning, VIKSAT made its identity as both a field as well as a support organization. Over the years, VIKSAT has now emerged as a professional support institution promoting community based approaches for sustainable natural resource management
At present, VIKSAT has five field offices in four districts of Gujarat, namely, Bhiloda, Kheroj in Sabarkantha district; Satlasana in Mehsana district; Kukam, in Kachchh district; and Radhanpur in Patan district with the head office located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The main thrust area of VIKSAT is Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Livelihoods through intensive intervention on Forestry, Land, Water, Sustainable Agriculture, Bio-diversity, Women Empowerment and Policy Advocacy.