Mr. Nilesh Desai

  • 2022
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Constructive Work

Born: September 7, 1962

Mr. Nilesh Desai is a social worker with the distinction that he was inculcated with Gandhiji’s motto of learning from practice. He set up Sampark Samaj Sevi Sanstha in 1987 in Petlawad Tehsil of Jhabua district, in Madhya Pradesh to address the serious problems being faced by the Bhil Adivasis there.

He revived the traditional and strong consultation system of the Bhil community which was applied to run the affairs of their community. Gradually, programmes for sustainable agriculture, education, healthcare, gender rights, micro-finance and renewable energy were also implemented.

Sampark has its presence in more than 2000 villages of 21 blocks of 9 districts of Madhya Pradesh and its activities has reached to approximately 2,00,000 plus tribal households. An important result of Mr. Nilesh Desai’s public advocacy is that Sampark has a very strong communications portfolio ranging from street theatre and folk music to audio-visual, poster and book production in both Hindi and Bhili dialects, spanning all the issues of development and rights, that it is involved in.

The journey of Mr. Desai has been a relentless fight for equity and sustainability. In a true Gandhian way, he has been successful in taking the essence of small local successes to a wider level.