Supporting the government of Odisha to secure land rights for millions of poor rural landless people.

Our Progress

  • Landesa has designed and piloted the innovative Community Resource Persons (CRP) model to help the state grant individual plots to landless families who live on and cultivate government land. Nearly 200,000 pattas have been distributed to formerly landless families.
  • Landesa has helped its government partners design, pilot, and establish the first Women’s Support Center in Ganjam District and scale the program to establish 76 total centers in four districts across the state. The Center aims to ensure that widows, abandoned, and other single women can access government services including opportunities to gain ownership of a small plot of land.


Land Rights for Tribals

One-quarter of Odisha’s s population are members of tribal groups who often do not have legal title to the land they are currently residing on and farming. Because of their lack of legal rights and documentation, many have not enjoyed access to government services and poverty alleviation programs. Instead, they have been stuck in generational cycles of poverty. The Government of Odisha recognize that until the state’s tribals are given the tools they need to climb out of poverty, the state will remain undeveloped and unstable. Land rights have proven to be the key to helping Odisha’s rural poor, especially tribals, access a host of government services.

Women’s Land Rights

Landesa is working with government partners through research, policy advocacy, and program design to help provide direct assistance to rural women. There are more than 500,000 single, rural, landless women in Odisha. Studies show that women can better provide for their children when provided secure rights to land.

Current Initiatives

Community Resource Person Model

To improve implementation of the state’s homestead land distribution program, Landesa designed the Community Resource Person (CRP) model and tested it in a pilot program in 36 villages in Ganjam, Gajapati, and Jagatsinghpur districts to help the Government of Odisha provide secure land rights to the state’s poorest people. Community Resource Persons  are specially trained local youth who receive a small stipend to  identify the landless families in their area and support government officials to process the families’ claims to the government land on which they currently live and farm. Odisha Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Program (OTELP) collaborated with Landesa to scale up the CRP model to seven districts. Government of Odisha has extended the program, likely benefitting about 300,000 landless families.

Ensuring Land Rights of Single Women

In partnership with the Ganjam district administration, Landesa designed a Women’s Land Rights Facilitation Center and piloted it in one tehsil (sub-district). The primary objective of the program is to establish a responsive institutional delivery system to ensure women’s access to and control over land. The program relies on government Anganwadi workers (child and mother health workers) to identify single, landless rural women, such as widows and abandoned women, and help them receive land, training, job cards and other important government services through the Center. The program has helped to educate government officials about the needs of women-headed households, many of whom depend on support from their brothers or fathers to survive. The district administration, with Landesa’s  support, scaled the program  and now there are 23 Women Support Centers in Ganjam district and more planned in Mayurbhanj, Koraput, and Kalahandi for a total of 76.

Harnessing Mobile Technology to Strengthen Land Rights

Landesa and SIMLab (formerly Frontline SMS), in partnership with Google.org, are working directly and through barefoot lawyers already in place in Odisha to build and roll out a mobile technology-based land titling system. Mobile telephone technology will allow government officials to exchange information with remote locations, enabling the state to provide land titles more quickly and more efficiently to as many as 80,000 poor rural households. Mobile phones are the most widespread digital communications technology the world has ever seen. This project will harness the comparative efficiency of mobile technologies to help vulnerable families gain legal control over their homes and homestead land.

Enhancing Livelihood Security

Landesa and its partners ensure productive use of land through a collaborative approach, working with a variety of actors to support new landowners with tools, training, and programs, such as subsidized seeds and hand water pumps and agricultural training through government extension services.

Our History in Odisha

Landesa began its partnership with the state government of Odisha  in 2009 with an assessment of the state’s homestead land distribution program, called ‘Vasundhara,’ in 88 villages across 10 districts. The study identified critical gaps in the implementation of the program created by limited staffing and capacity. Landesa developed the CRP model to address those gaps.

About Landesa

Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 100 million poor families gain legal control over their land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvest and reap the benefits – improved nutrition, health, and education – for generations.

For inquiries: InfoIndia@landesa.org

Related resources: 

Fact Sheet on Women’s Support Centers in Odisha

A Priceless Asset for India’s Women Wall Street Journal India Real Time April 19, 2013

Women’s Support Centers video from our India Team

Community Resource Persons video from our India Team