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We were instrumental in

We were instrumental in implementing a project on implementing women’s land rights at the grass-root level in the tribal area of Midnapore in West Bengal, India from 2009-2010. The project was funded by ILC. Being associated with the project we could closely see how the real situation is - at the ground level!! Even though there are laws and policies being framed from time to time to support women’s land rights there remains, in reality, a huge gap between WHAT IS and WHAT SHOULD BE! It is because there is a lack of knowledge about the laws among the grass-root women and the local social norms are strongly embedded in the system which does not allow the penetration of legal system for proper implementation. In this context, as a woman’s organisation, our role was to reach the legal provisions for women in a simplified manner. We made colorful posters, easy to understand booklets and cartoon booklets where we shared the issue of land rights and other laws for women and spoke about their rights in a subtle manner. These we presented through grass-root level meets. By this way we could reach the awareness about legal provisions to them which would have otherwise never reached them! Then we took advantage of the fact that tribal culture is based on fairs and festivities and introduced a concept called “Earth Festival” - this festival highlighted the contribution made by women towards preserving land and land-based activities. This way we could send a strong message of women’s natural right towards her land within the ethos of the tribal culture. These activities had a positive influence on the women and they became aware of their rights and their rightful claim towards their land.

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