2006 Kravis Prize winner Roy Prosterman’s organization, Landesa, which helps the world’s poor secure land rights, has come a long way since its inception in 1981. Today, their work spans all across the globe, including Odisha, India, and impacts development in a variety of ways. For example, did you know that the lack of land titles could affect one’s access to educational opportunities? In an article published in the Huffington Post, Landesa President and CEO Tim Hanstad explains that owning land titles is crucial to improving school enrollment rates in developing countries:

“So, what can be done to make sure that all children get that chance? Part of the answer lies in the land. In the [Indian] state of Odisha, at least 40 percent of rural families, many of whom are tribal, lack legal rights to the land on which they depend. Often they’ve been farming this land for generations but without legal title. Without this documentation, they often cannot access the free tuition and related services and subsidies to which they are entitled.”

Thankfully, Landesa has partnered with the Odisha government to help families gain their land patta, or land title document, which has helped many children receive the free admission or stipends that the Indian government provides to certain tribes. During a visit, Hanstad made some observations on how the land titles have impacted the society:

“As I saw in Odisha, land rights not only yield productive farmers. They also nurture students who grow to become engineers, doctors, executives, parents, elected officials, scientists and productive members of society in countless other ways. That ‘second harvest’ has an impact far beyond the initial crop.”

To find out more about inaugural Kravis Prize winner Roy Prosterman, click here.

Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders, One Land Title at a Time” [The Huffington Post, December 9, 2011]