Today, SWAN mainly works with the issue of land rights. Landlessness is one of the main causes of poverty in Nepal. 25% of the population are landless, often also lacking access to financial and government services. Women are often particularly discriminated by local practices of property rights and tenancy.
The Right to Land
Landless farmers are forced to work for landlords under poor conditions, creating a situation of great social and economic insecurity. This is a big problem in Dang, were a majority of the population are dependent on agriculture as their only source of income. Not having access to land might also mean that you do not have a safe house to live in, nor access to electricity or clean drinking water.
SWAN is advocating for local and national duty bearers to take their responsibility and assure that landless people’s rights are realized. According to newly adopted Nepalese law, farmers have the right to own parts of the land they cultivate, but this is still not the case for many. Apart from advocating for their rights, we work with different projects to mobilize and empower landless communities.
From 2016 to 2018 we have worked in partnership with IM Swedish Development Partner in the POWER project: Promoting Women and Excluded Groups’ Social, Economic and Cultural Rights. During this project period, we have worked with social mobilization and advocacy in different ways. The project targets to reach 659 right holders by the end of 2018.
A central part of this project was the formation of 20 land rights groups, with 593 households involved. These groups support each other in issues concerning land rights, and they also receive support and training from our social mobilizers – for example in entrepreneurship, market-based skill development, farming technique or leadership and advocacy skill development.
Marginalized Community Development through Economic Empowerment and Rights Promotion (MCDEERP)
Starting 2076 (2019), we will begin a new project period in partnership with IM Swedish Development Partner. The MCDEERP project will have its starting point in the previous project, focusing on land rights issues and community mobilization. The goal of this project is to continue to strengthen the socioeconomic rights of marginalized communities in Dang.
During the POWER project period, the rights holders were able to put collective pressure on duty bearers. With activities for strengthened female leadership, technical support and support for land-lease farming, we found an increase in the number of farmers selling their produce on the market. Based on the success of this project in diversifying the livelihood opportunities of the marginalized communities, we intend to reach more rights holders with the new project for a greater impact.
IM Swedish Development Partner is a development organization fighting poverty and exclusion. The organization was founded in Sweden in 1938 and is currently working in thirteen countries worldwide. IM is a framework partner of Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).
IM’s work in Nepal focuses on sustainable development approach to contribute towards national priorities of poverty reduction and providing quality education. For this, IM has been working long-term with six development partners in Nawalparasi, Kapilvastu, Dang, Gorkha and Kathmandu. IM has also been working in collaboration with other networks and organizations on thematic issues such as education and empowerment of marginalized communities. Apart from financial support IM has been supporting its partner organizations for organizational capacity development.