The Progress We’ve Made In Odisha
A women’s land rights center has been established in Odisha. Landesa’s partnership with local NGOs and the state government has already brought the benefits of land ownership to more than 1,300 formerly landless families. Landesa and its government partners have also designed a program to help the state grant individual plots to the thousands of families who live on communally owned land.
Landesa’s Current Activities
- Landesa’s pilot land allocation and homestead development project has been launched in 34 villages in Ganjam, Gajapati and Jagatsinghpur districts. Landless families have been identified and they are receiving titles to the government owned land they currently illegally occupy. This pilot program relies on specially-trained Community Resource Persons (CRP) to identify the landless families and help them with initial applications to the program. These local field assistants are cost-effective and have deep knowledge of the community, which allows them to expedite the work. Using the CRPs brings the cost down of transforming poor landless families into landowners to about $3 per family. The program is rapidly being brought to scale.
- Landesa and its partners are working with tribal communities in seven districts in Odisha to ensure every family, in the more than 1,000 villages across the districts, has their own plot of land.
- Landesa and its partners are working to ensure that all our beneficiaries, especially women, have the support and training to maximize the benefits of their new land. Our research shows that even small plots of land enhance the family’s security, improve nutrition and health, augment income, and result in better education. Landesa and its partners have established a women’s land rights centre.
The Centre has three major objectives:
- to identify and serve eligible women
- raise awareness and build capacity among potential beneficiaries and local government officials
- to provide a forum for addressing women’s land-related grievances and disputes.
The staff of the Centre, along with specially trained youth, will identify homestead-less women, assist them in applying for land, and ensure that their cases are prioritized.
In 2009, Landesa began its partnerships in Odisha with an assessment of the state’s homestead land distribution program called “Vasundhara” in 88 villages across 10 districts. The study identified weaknesses and offered solutions. Landesa’s current programs incorporate these recommendations. The State of Odisha is one of India’s poorest. More than half of the population lives in poverty and more than half of all children are malnourished.