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Aug 12 2011

CEO Reporting from Karnataka

Report by Landesa CEO, Tim Hanstad on a field visit August 2, 2011.

Gowri, a landowner in Karnataka, India. Photo by Tim Hanstad.

This afternoon I was in the field interviewing women participants of the “My Land My Garden” program in Karnataka state. I interviewed a group of about ten women and some of their husbands. A woman named Gowri who, when I asked her whether receiving the land in her name has made any difference in her life, stood up and said with a confident smile, “Before I was nothing.  Now I am a hero.”

Without me asking the question directly, the women as a group stated that domestic violence in their households had stopped ever since they received this land in their names five years ago.  When asking the group of women about the benefits, they listed six specific benefits of having these 120 feet by 25 feet plots:

  • Food consumption has gone up
  • Higher status in village; they have gone “from landless to landowners”
  • Less seasonal migration work which allows us to keep our children in school more
  • Higher status and power within the household (including less domestic violence)
  • More social security (several mentioned that their husbands cannot kick them out and it won’t matter so much if their children do not care for them in their old age)
  • More participation in village life and decisions: unlike before, they now are active in community meetings and make demands for water supply, electricity, etc.

Hanstad is reporting from the field via Twitter while visiting our programs in India. Follow @Landesa_Global for first-hand accounts from the field as well as insights on research, news, and insights about development issues and land rights.

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