Protecting Inheritance Rights for Women and Girls in West Bengal, India
Last month, Landesa's Girls Project conducted workshops with local government officials in West Bengal with the goal of strengthening inheritance rights for daughters. Following the workshops, local officials in 35 districts adopted new land documents that reinforce land and inheritance rights for women.
Stronger land rights can help alleviate poverty and hunger and improve the health and well-being of women and their families. Through the Girls Project, Landesa has already reached more than 40,000 girls in more than 1,000 villages in West Bengal, empowering them with the tools and knowledge -- particularly about their rights to land -- necessary to grow their destiny as women. At the same time, they can reduce vulnerabilities like child marriage. In partnership with the government, the program is now expanding to six districts, and will reach as many as 1.25 million girls in the next three years.
Ensuring Women Count in Odisha Survey of Landless Households
Landesa's partner, the state government of Odisha, India, has launched a historic survey to identify and count every landless
Photo by Deborah Espinosa
family, including women-headed households, in the state. It will follow up this survey by allotting each landless family a small plot of land. Landesa conducted multiple trainings and consultations with the government in advance of the survey, with an emphasis on including single women in the count. Landless single women -- whether unmarried, divorced, or widowed -- often go uncounted by the government. Recognizing these women is a critical step in connecting them to the resources needed to secure stronger land rights.
According to census data, there are more than 1 million women-headed households in Odisha and approximately 4.6 million landless families in Odisha. Landesa began its partnership with the government of Odisha in 2009.
New Corporate Policy in China Protects Rights of Farmers in Land Acquisitions
One of the world's largest pulp and paper companies has adopted a conservation policy that includes a commitment to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous people and local communities. The Asia Pulp and Paper Group (APP) is a major player in China's forest land rights market, leasing large tracts of collectively owned land for tree plantations to supply its paper and wood products. Fieldwork conducted by Landesa in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces previously found that APP was using land taken from farmers without the their informed consent and without providing all farmers with proper compensation.
The new policy helps ensure local communities and farming families will be fully engaged by APP in the land acquisition process, and receive fair compensation when land is acquired. Such efforts can reduce land-related conflicts and alleviate poverty for the millions of people who rely on land for their livelihood.