Development Support Centre, Natural Resource Management, Participatory Irrigation Management, PIM, Joint Forest Management, NRM, Watershed Development, Drinking Water, NGO, Gujarat, IndiaWelcome to Development Support Centre  
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Development Support Centre : Watershed Development | Participatory Irrigation Management  | Agricultural Productivity Enhancement  | Drinking Water | Joint Forest Management
 
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Development Support Centre : Watershed Development | Participatory Irrigation Management  | Agricultural Productivity Enhancement  | Drinking Water | Joint Forest Management
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PARTICIPATORY IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT (PIM) SAJJATA SANGH, a network of NGOs implementing participatory Natural Resource Management (NRM) programmes
PARTICIPATORY WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT TRAINING CENTRE
   
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   Home > About DSC > Concern and Evolution
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Though rapid depletion of natural resources is a global phenomenon, it is becoming a paramount threat for developing nation like India , where 64% of its population directly dependent on land and water resources for livelihood. Since independence, large scale investments have been made in the agricultural sector with an emphasis on sustainable natural resource management (NRM) and equitable distribution of benefits to all stakeholders. But it has not yielded results of desired quantum and quality. Government development programmes have been predominantly top-down, technocratic, and with a blue-print approach. Further, they have been based on generalisations and broad perceptions with scant regard for ground realities. The process of planning and implementation has ignored the role of the greatest stakeholder, the users.

During the decades of eighties and nineties, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) demonstrated the importance and advantages of a participatory process that enabled the primary stakeholders to play a decisive role in developing and managing the resources that are of vital importance for them. Subsequently, government guidelines for major programmes in natural resource development such as the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) watershade programme & Ministry of Agriculture (WARASA) watershade programme, Participatory Irrigation Management Programme (PIM) and, Joint Forest Management Programme (JFM) emphasized the need for participation of stakeholders and provided central role and resources for them. This transition from the top-down approach to the participatory approach is nothing short of paradigm shift. The experience during the first half of 1990s indicated that this transition is difficult and requires an enabling environment including capacity building of key players and agencies in the rural development sector.

It is in this backdrop that Development Support Center (DSC) took shape. It is a response to an express demand and perceived need for capacity building support from various NGOs. It represents a collective experience from well known NGOs in India such as Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (I), Sadguru Water and Development Foundation (SWDF) and Utthan-Ahmedabad.

DSC began its services in 1994 as a support organization in the field of natural resource management. It provided various capacity enhancing services to the NGOs, Government agencies and other stake holders at grass root level. Over a period, the strategy of support services has been redefined.

The performance of DSC has underscored the need for and importance of a support organization in enhancing the quality of natural resource management programs and providing regular constructive feedback to the policy makers and implementing agencies. The NGOs, the funding agencies and the government have recognized DSC as an agency that provides valuable inputs towards capacity building and policy improvements including procedure development in the field of participatory natural resource management. During the initial decade, valuable lessons have been learnt on the intricacies of transforming a top-down development process into a bottom-up participatory process. Many of the lessons have been converted into policy reforms and improvements in operational aspects of watershed development, participatory irrigation management and joint forest management programs.

Another lesson, perhaps of equal importance, has been the growing importance of learning mechanisms for support agencies such as DSC. It is evident from results of DSC's research and policy advocacy work so far that innovations and improvements that are based on sound information assimilation and analysis appeal better and are a help in implementation. This underscores the need and importance of building on experience and creative improvisation of ideas based on the knowledge gained through field interventions and research studies in partnership with various implementing agencies, government and funding agencies.

This positive experience and the potential for DSC to play a more intensive as well as extensive role as a resource center has encouraged DSC to strengthen the organization as a knowledge-based institution. Thus, while continuing to provide the support services, DSC started working to consolidate the gains in the field of capacity building, research and policy advocacy work.

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