Converting calamity into opportunity - Natural resource enhancement through participatory drought relief programme - A paper by VIKSAT

A paper on the approach adopted by VIKSAT in drought in Gujarat

This paper by VIKSAT presented at the Regional Workshop on Sustainable Livelihoods and Drought Management in South Asia: Issues, Alternatives and Futures at Islamabad, Pakistan from October 27-30, 2002 gives a detailed account of the approach adopted by VIKSAT in drought in Gujarat. This case study attempted to provide a set of guidelines that would be useful not only for implementationn during drought relief activities alone, but also towards drought proofing. The study found that working with people’s institutions both at village and at a regional/taluka level goes a long way in planning, implementation and tackling drought on a long term.

 The paper discusses some perspectives on drought in the following section followed by a description of the case study. The paper discusses a few key learnings that have come out of the study:

  • A drought management strategy can be successfully implemented at the village level
  • Village level institutions can show exemplary maturity in prioritizing the drought work interventions and have indicated that they can be very good decisionmaker in the process
  • That a properly planned and implemented strategy would also address equity and gender elements most satisfactorily is proved by the above approach.
  • Thinking and installing systems is very essential for both efficient implementation and transparency
  • Use of remote sensing for drought mitigation and planning through the involvement of the Remote Sensing Application Centres will help hasten natural resource regeneration
  • Villages must be involved in the process of village identification, implementation and monitoring
  • Involvement of a local NGO with credibility will go a long way in mobilizing the people, ensuring transparency and success of the drought programme
  • A drought proofing committee should be formed in drought prone areas in order to ensure that government schemes are properly planned and implemented to strengthen livelihoods and develop resilience
  • Village level committees should be given the responsibility of deciding the activities and implementing them
  • Watershed programmes should be also promoted specifically in drought prone areas
  • Water harvesting is the key to drought proofing

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