People's Stories

Women becoming self reliant through Land Rights Forum

In Mauraniya, Kailali District a total of 23 landless families live on an area of land totaling 1.06 hectares. This land is used for cattle herding by landlords, and as a graveyard. People from the community have repeatedly attempted to remove them from this place. Despite the landless commission conducting a survey here in 1999, no further steps have been taken with regard to ownership. Instead the landlords partitioned the land for themselves, without making the landless people aware. In 2007 NLRF discussed this issue and established an organisation involving 23 women in the land rights movement.

Since 2008 collective farming activities have been carried out, whilst some of the women began to raise money for the movement fund. The organization started a vegetable farm with money being raised from selling corn, coriander and potatoes. Later on an agro based enterprise was developed supported with pump priming monies. Further 0.33 hectares of a local resident’s land has been utilised to cultivate paddy. The organization has also formed the Mauraniya Land Rights Women Cooperative which has a total of 30 members.
The cooperative has to date collected a total of NPR 74,500 (US$ 955.12)Each member contributes NPR 1 (US$ 0.01) on a daily basis or NPR 30 (US$ 0.38) on a monthly basis. The organization has also established a meeting hall, where monthly meetings are carried out. The land learning center is open 3 times in a month.

Learned and succeeded through campaigning

I am Nabina Sunar, 29 years from Lalitkot, Parbat. Currently I am a chairperson of Lalikot VLRF. We are a total of 21 members in VLRF. We have been participating in various campaign and events and supporting the land rights movement by having weekly discussion. Initially we had problem of Water Facilities. So we went to VDC and claimed for the provision of water. But our demands were not heard upon. Addressing the situation, we organized sit ins at the VDC for one month until and unless the budget was not allocated generated specifically for this. As a result the District Development Committee, Parbat called upon and announce 300,000 ($ 3,517) for the provision of water facilities. By now the budget has been received and the work is ongoing for the arrangement of water facilities in the community as per the collective action and plan.

VLRF taking a progressive lead

Shanti Village Land Rights Forum (VLRF) of Bhusi Mauliya, Saptari was established in May 2006. A total of 109 members are organized in this forum. Since the formation of VLRF all of the members have been initiating various events and campaigns within the community and district. Highlighting the major triumph of Shanti VLRF, the chair Hari Paswan shared “Through the various campaigns, including sit-in programs with regards to agricultural labour held in between, two times wage increments have been made. Back then by working whole days only five-kilo paddy was received but as of now seven kilo paddy is provided. With direction from the landlord, we had to go spontaneously for work which is not there by now. Before, we had to submit the revenue of Village Block land to the landlord which is not needed now. After the formation of the VLRF, 60 households were able to utilize fallow land by cultivating both paddy and wheat on each 0.16 ha. The chair of VLRF Mr. Paswan shared “The trend has been changed in a progressive way. Nowadays, work is being assessed as per the wage. As of now only 10 houses are left who are involved in Haruwa”.
Chandra Sada, VLRF member highlighted “We will carry on the VLRF until and unless, we become able to receive our own land”. In the meantime, another member added that “VLRF strength has led us to simplify this challenging task, we need VLRF then and after, not just for the sake of acquisition of land”. Currently Haruwas are demanding the implementation of an increment in the basic daily agricultural wage of NPR 220 ($2.5) (USD $ 1=NPR 85.28) as per government decision.

Nothing is impossible through tireless effort

“If we are really committed to bring some change in the community then certainly it is possible through collective effort” says Jugmani Chaudhary, activist from Dang district. She has been involved in the land rights movement since 29th May, 2009. Now she is working as an activist in Hekuli VDC. She has been conducting weekly discussions within the community to seek solutions to a range of emerging issues. She has learnt to work with a range of representatives from the government and political parties and to put forward her views with confidence. Her actions were instrumental in submitting a total of 1092 applications for “Tilling Certificates” to the VDC. This process gave her a greater awareness of legal procedures which have been instrumental in securing certificates for a total of 534 families (154 female, 11 dalit, 331 janjati).