March 2014 – In 2012, Landesa and the government of West Bengal, India, entered an innovative partnership aimed at using land to reduce risks facing rural adolescent girls, including poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, and early marriage. This paper addresses pilot project features including girls groups, peer leader methodologies, community engagement, a land rights and land-based livelihoods curriculum, and partnerships with government stakeholders. The strategic public-private partnership has achieved noteworthy results: girls are significantly more likely to earn income, hold economic assets, inherit land from their parents, attend school, delay marriage, hold relevant legal and life skills knowledge, and feel a sense of overall empowerment. The partnership has reached 48,000 girls to date and holds significant potential to affect millions of girls across many states in India. This Paper was prepared for presentation at the “2014 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty” in Washington DC, March 24-27, 2014.
Authors and Publishers
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 105 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 harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.