In the mid 1960s, inaugural Kravis Prize winner Roy Prosterman, armed with his legal knowledge and expertise, set out to change the world. This led to the establishment of Landesa in 1981, which tackles one of the chief structural causes of global poverty, rural landlessness, by educating people around the world about land rights.
In the past 25 years, Landesa has expanded and truly has a global impact. In fact, Dawn recently published an article by Prosterman and Landesa senior attorney Darryl Vhugen, who discussed the importance of upholding land rights in Pakistan:
An estimated 4.7 million rural families, comprising around 33 million people, are completely landless across rural Pakistan. Their lack of land rights leaves them with no pathway to escape their deep poverty – no land on which to labour for their own reward, and no opportunity to exercise any entrepreneurial spirit.
The authors introduced the idea of house-and-garden plots, which would give the recipient families a “land base” that would allow them to “literally grow themselves out of abject poverty.”
“[House-and-garden plots] provide enough space for a family to build a very small house and engage in vegetable gardening, tree cultivation, small-scale raising of livestock, home-based businesses and other income-generating activities. They can make a very large difference in the livelihoods and status of the poor — including the enhancement of the role and status of women, whose names should be included on the title wherever possible — while supplementing and diversifying existing livelihood strategies. … They increase family income, enhance family nutrition, provide physical security, help assure access to a range of government benefits, serve as a vehicle for generating wealth, and secure the family’s status within the community.”
The program is already being implemented in the government of Punjab within Pakistan, as well as in several states in India, but imagine how many families could benefit if it were even more widespread! Thankfully, we have Kravis Prize Roy Prosterman and Landesa spreading word of these groundbreaking initiatives!