More than 5,000 previously landless families in West Bengal have already received micro-plots. Landesa also held two state-level workshops advocating for micro-plot distribution to the landless poor, especially women.
Landesa’s Current Activities
- Landesa’s primary activity in West Bengal is to scale and improve land rights programs for the poor.
- Landesa conducts field research to measures the benefits, costs, and risks of allocating micro-plots to women agricultural laborers and their families.
- Landesa monitors and evaluates government implementation of the pilot micro-plot distribution program and provides feedback to our government partners. Our studies indicate that beneficiaries have started home garden work and show increases in income. Women are playing a lead role not only in food production but also in decision making.
- As part of an innovative program in West Bengal, Landesa and its partners are helping families with only daughters and no sons, by giving them micro-plots and involving their family and their community in a wide-ranging and experimental program. In addition, we facilitate community conversations to discuss girls’ rights to land and assets. Landesa is also advocating for family land inheritance rights for daughters, dowry free marriages, and their right to decide marriage age. These programs work at the community level to instill the values and attitudes needed for fostering gender equality.
West Bengal Background
Despite an economic boom sparked by the information technology industry that has made West Bengal one of India’s fastest-growing states, agriculture continues to be the leading occupation in the state. West Bengal has one of the highest rates of hunger in India. A majority of the 90 million people in West Bengal are poor and the majority of the children are malnourished.
West Bengal was one of Landesa’s initial focus areas in India. Our work began there in 2001 with a 500-household survey finding the benefits of homestead plots for the rural poor.