Interests: Access to Information, Citizenship, Community / Customary Land Rights, Environmental Justice, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Health, Land & Natural Resources
Vivek founded Namati in 2011 to grow the movement for legal empowerment around the world. Namati and its partners have built cadres of grassroots legal advocates– also known as “community paralegals”– in eight countries. The advocates have worked with over 40,000 people to protect community lands, enforce environmental law, and secure basic rights to healthcare and citizenship.
Namati convenes a community of 650+ legal empowerment organizations from all over the world who are collaborating on common challenges and learning from one another. This community successfully advocated for inclusion of access to justice in the new global development framework, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
From 2003 to 2007, Vivek co-founded and co-directed the Sierra Leonean organization Timap for Justice, which has been recognized by the International Crisis Group, Transparency International, and President Jimmy Carter as a pioneering model for delivering justice services in the context of a weak state and a plural legal system.
From 2007 to 2011, he served as senior counsel in the Justice Reform Group of the World Bank. His work focused on rule of law reform and governance, primarily in West Africa and South Asia.
In 1997-1998 he lived in a hut of dung and sticks in a village in Kutch, his native place, working on watershed management and girls’ education with two grassroots development organizations- Kutch Mahila Vikas Sanghatan and Sahjeevan.
Vivek graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and Yale Law School. His publications include Between Law and Society: Paralegals and the Provision of Justice Services in Sierra Leone and Worldwide in the Yale Journal of International Law and Allies Unknown: Legal Empowerment and Social Accountability in the Harvard Journal of Health and Human Rights.
Vivek serves on the international advisory council of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, the advisory board of the evaluation firm ID Insight, and the governing boards of the International Senior Lawyers Project and the public entrepreneurship organization Res Publica. He was an affiliate expert with the UN Commission on Legal Empowerment, and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Vivek received the Pioneer Award from the North American South Asian Bar Association in 2008. He was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2014, a “legal rebel” by the American Bar Association in 2015, and a Skoll Awardee for Social Entrepreneurship in 2016.