Country Focus Update- Pathways India

Enhancing Women’s Access to Land through Land Literacy Campaign – a collaborative initiative with Landesa

CARE India is collaborating with Landesa to address land illiteracy and women’s land rights issues in the Pathways project areas.  The collaboration emphasizes developing capacities of women, with special focus on women’s groups and other collectives. Issues related to land access include: land titling and government documents; protecting and retaining land rights from being illegally transferred or alienated; and developing capacities of women leaders/NGOs as Community Resource Persons to work with Revenue Department for land allocation to landless in project villages.  In collaboration with Landesa, 1000 women leaders from collectives, government offices, and partner NGOs will be trained and sensitized on land rights over the next two years.  They will be taught how to access government social security programs including homestead development.  Working jointly with Landesa, this initiative will lead CARE (under Pathways) to address its objective to enhance women farmers’  capacities and access to land.

Project villages were sampled using a land needs assessment tool.  The sampling sought to determine the extent of land rights awareness, identifying deficit and knowledge gaps as well as social, attitudinal, and practical barriers.  The information gathered will inform the process of designing the training module to reflect participants’ realities.  Investigators were trained on the particularities of conducting a land-related needs assessment.  Focus group discussions were held separately with women, men, local Panchayati raj institution (the local governance system) members as well as with Revenue officials.  Findings of this community consultation process were shared with  different actors in a multi-stakeholder consultation conducted in the project location.  During the consultation, stakeholders shared their views and inputs for the design of the training module.  In October, 2014  Training of Trainers for Land Rights Facilitators (sub-grantees staff) was conducted,  this would be followed by working with collective leaders on land literacy.

Enhancing access of Impact Population to forest land and forest resource

Enhancing the Impact Population’s access to forest land under the Forest Rights Act is a top priority for the Pathways Program.  Pathways is undertaking the restructure of Forest Rights Committees and the orientation of FRC members to policy provisions and procedures in order to facilitate claim submission for individuals and community forest resource rights (CFR).  The district government is working closely with Pathways to expedite these processes under the Forest Rights Act in a collaborative process with the Integrated Tribal Development Agency and Vasundhara, a state-level research and advocacy group.  In facilitating the submission and settlement of claims, this partnership will aid the conversion of rights into livelihood gains by converging multiple development programs under a ‘rights plus’ intervention.  Launched on August 15th 2014, India’s 68th Independence Day, the “Forest Rights and Protection Promising Caravan” is a district–level initiative promoting the Forest Rights Act of 2006 and generating awareness on protection and conservation of Community Forest Resources to promote livelihood security in Pathways project villages in Kandhamal.  The FRA campaign vehicle was inaugurated by the head of the district administration, the District Collector of Kandhamal which has already covered 25 villages spreading the message on community forest resource rights.

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FRA Campaign Vehicle being inaugurated by the District Collector (Head of the District Administration)

Reflect Approach to promote Enabling Environment: More positive and enabling attitudes, behaviors, social norms, policies, and institutions.

The Reflect approach seeks to trigger thought processes and initiate discussion on gender issues by engaging women farmers and men and boys to bring in change at household and community level.  Eighteen Reflect Circles (RCs) have been initiated and grounded in selected villages, and based on learning and experience, RCs will expand to new locations.  Training on operationalizing and streamlining Reflect Circles took place in August 2014.  This was followed by training-cum-orientation of RC facilitators on social mobilization processes, facilitation skills, and the Reflect approach.  RC facilitators were selected from among the impact population for their leadership quality, mobilizing capabilities, and articulation skills. Currently, the RC facilitators are actively engaged in facilitating social and resource mapping exercises in their respective villages.

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RC Facilitators practicing a mock session during Training-cum-Orientation program