Vision   Mission Statement
Utthan envisions a society that imbibes and ensures the values of gender justice, equality, peace and happiness, in practice.
Utthan brings together a group of professional development workers, committed to working with communities towards an India free of inequalities and discrimination with equal opportunities, security and freedom for all. Utthan's effort to translate this vision into reality is focused on its mission to serve those most vulnerable such as Women, Adivasi communities, Dalits, Minorities and the Poor. Utthan envisages influencing the larger socio-political environment that should enable the desired change
  To initiate sustainable gender sensitive processes of empowerment amongst the most vulnerable communities, through a process of building conscientiousness, and organising around their major issues:
A process that would bring about change in the lives of those who are oppressed, by promoting peace, ensuring human rights, gender justice and equality, as well as sustainable development which would result in positive change in their socio- economic and political status, both at present and in the long run.
Utthan, a registered non-profit organization, has been working in four water stressed and resource poor districts in Gujarat for the past twenty years. Founded in 1981 by four professional women inspired by Professor Ravi Mathai's famous "Jawaja" experiments in Rajasthan, interventions were directed at initiating sustainable processes of empowerment among the vulnerable communities to struggle for their basic rights. Utthan's journey in development began in Dhandhuka taluka, Ahmedabad district in the geographic region of Bhal, one of the most resources poor regions of the state and infamously known as napaania or waterless. Here, Utthan facilitated the emergence of a community-based group known as Mahiti that initiated a women's movement around accessing their right to regular safe drinking water, a movement which challenged patriarchy and feudal exploitation, caste discrimination at the local levels. The struggle for their basic right to drinking water brought women into public space and enabled them to highlight their problems at the state level too. The movement also pressurized the Gujarat Water Supply & Sewerage Board (GWSSB), a state government agency and the World Bank, to approve a project that sought to promote decentralized rain water harvesting structures such as plastic lined ponds, roof water collection tanks etc. in the villages of Bhal. This involved a shift in the perspective of these institutions, from supporting the large centralized water supply system which left the communities totally disempowered and failing to provide safe, adequate drinking water to supporting initiatives for decentralized water supply system. Although Mahiti has become an independent organization and a local force since 1994, the activities of the two organizations are still closely linked.

Utthan fulfilled another core objective when it withdrew from Bhal in 1994. With its more than a decade of experience in facilitating community based development processes in one of the most resource poor areas of the state serving as a guiding bacon, it sought to further similar processes in other areas. Two events that followed had a significant bearing on Utthan's expansion rationale. One was a state level conference it organized in 1994 on " Dynamics of drinking water in rural Gujarat" where it was presented to the development fraternity. The other was a rigorous field survey it carried out in 1995 covering all coastal districts of the state and select water scarce districts. The survey was geared towards identifying resource-vulnerable areas along the coast as well as in water-scarce areas where the organization would work in the future. It also focused on examining the status of natural resources and drinking water resources in the areas that were surveyed. Three most vulnerable districts surfaced from the data analysis: Amreli, Bhavnagar and Kacchh. As a part of its expansion strategy, Utthan also decided to explore other resource poor areas of Gujarat and after intensive legwork, settled on the tribal district of Panchmahal. Thus began its post-Bhal work in 1995.

In each of the three districts of Dahod, Bhavnagar & Amreli, Utthan has continued to focus on the issues of gender and drinking water, and in the Saurashtra region on the issue of salinity. While attempting to mainstream the needs and concerns of women, the poor and marginalized, it has addressed issues of equity and equality at varied levels in its programmes.

Utthan's early interventions were thus marked by facilitating and supporting gender sensitization and building a movement of women and other vulnerable groups their empowerment to meet their basic livelihood needs and to protect their resources and to restore the traditional role of communities and households in managing their natural resources in Gujarat.

Utthan's major efforts in the past years, the initiatives have been from a view to deepen and upscale its interventions on gender and empowerment, livelihood security through Integrated Natural Resource management in the context of manmade and natural disasters, as well as on peace and justice through conflict transformation and efforts to ensure human rights. The efforts have been made both within the team as well as at the community level through various institutions and mechanisms that should lead towards more self-reliance
Utthan's Diversity Profile
Diversity Numbers Male Female
OBC 14 4 10
Dalits (SC) 4 1 3
Adivasis (ST) 9 7 2
Minorities 5 4 1
General 29 11 18
Total 61 34 27