Support the State of West Bengal’s efforts to provide 500,000 previously landless families with a micro-plot of land. Design and scale program to keep girls in school and position them to enjoy land rights as adults.
More than 160,000 previously landless families in West Bengal have already received micro-plots over the last three years. Landesa has developed a model that gives the new landowning families the agricultural training and other support services they need to make the most of their new land. Working with more than a dozen different government agencies and programs, Landesa’s convergence model ensures families have the tools they need to succeed in their new home.
More than 40,000 girls are participating in a program with the Department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare that teaches them gardening skills, nutritional information, and about their rights – including their right to one day own land.
Landesa’s Current Activities
Landesa’s work in West Bengal falls within two main activities, micro-plots and the Girls Project:
- Landesa focuses on scaling access to secure land rights through the state’s flagship poverty alleviation program which distributes micro-plot to the landless poor.
- Landesa conducts field research to measures the benefits, costs, and risks of allocating micro-plots to women agricultural laborers and their families.
- Landesa supports monitoring and evaluation of the micro-plot distribution program.
- Landesa partners with the Department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal on an innovative program that aims to reduce child marriage and trafficking by educating girls about their land rights and providing them with agricultural training. This program, in partnership with the the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls (SABLA) in Cooch Behar District, has helped more than 40,000 girls in more than 1,000 villages learn organic gardening skills and engaged hundreds of communities in discussions about girls’ vulnerabilities and needs. The girls have been able to use their skills to grow vegetables to feed their families and sell the excess vegetables to earn money for school fees on their family’s small plots. | Fact sheet on Landesa’s Girls Project
Our History in West Bengal
Landesa’s work in West Bengal began in 2001 with a 500-household survey to identify and understand the benefits of homestead plots for the rural poor.
Resources for The Girls Project
- Watch Academy Award-winning filmmaker Megan Mylan’s short documentary film about the project.
- A photo essay telling the story of five girls participating in the project
- 5 challenges for girls in India
- 10 ways land rights make a difference
- 10 reasons to invest in girls
- 5 things you can do to support land rights
- Read the rigorous evaluation report of the program’s impact.
- Download the PDF fact sheet for the project.
Links to select media articles on Landesa’s work in West Bengal
Delaying Early Marriage Through Sacks of Chilies | The Daily Beast | September 6, 2013
Girls Project: Helping Girls Transform their Future | O Magazine | by Sarah Engler | August 2013
Seattle- based nonprofit plants seeds of hope in India | The Seattle Times | Melissa Allison | March 16, 2013
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