Securing Women’s Rights to Land, Housing & Property
We focus on building a stake for communities in housing delivery and ensure that their needs remain at the centre. MHT informs and educates the residents about the available housing schemes, their procedures, and their benefits. MHT also plays a crucial role in keeping the government accountable for the construction quality, design, and service delivery to ensure residents’ comfort. Building on our experience and insights from the grassroots, we work towards bringing about changes in policies and processes to impact public housing delivery at scale.
Providing technical and financial assistance for housing construction and incremental upgradation
Of every ten houses constructed in India, seven are constructed by the people themselves. A majority of the poor prefer to construct and improve their homes incrementally with the help of local contractors and locally sourced materials. We partner with architects, and product innovators to help develop layouts that are simple, cost-effective, structurally safe, and can be easily upgraded. We also offer loans to women to secure housing assets in their names.
Safeguarding the interests of women in slum redevelopment and public housing programs
Government-aided public housing can provide many benefits including a more hygienic living environment connected to city infrastructure and the security of home ownership. We partner with communities to facilitate slum redevelopment projects. We represent their interests in dialogues with governments and private developers, holding them accountable for construction quality, design, and service delivery. With insights gathered from our field experience, we also work with government at all levels to influence processes and policies to build a stake for community members, especially women, in publicly led housing programs.
Enabling land tenure regularization
MHT has been working in several cities to help residents in informal settlements regularize their land titles and obtain legal ownership of their lands. We recognize that full tenure regularization in informal settlements is a long and expensive legal process. Therefore, we adopt a pragmatic gradualist approach and argue for measures like no-eviction guarantees, occupancy certificates that support incremental progress, while also pursuing formal property and land titles as a long-term goal. Our grassroots experience has demonstrated that helping the poor gradually move up the tenure continuum can offer substantial benefits in terms of physical, social, and economic upliftment. Read this Case Study that documents our work in regularizing tenure in the Jadiba Nagar settlement in Ahmedabad.
Advancing women’s rights to property and increasing their participation in managing public housing
The government of India’s guidelines on public housing recommend that the subsidized housing units be allotted in the “name of the female head” or in the “name of the male head of the household and his wife jointly.” However, on the ground, the resistance towards women’s land and property ownership rights remains strong. MHT’s work is centred on women empowerment to assert their rights and have control over and a real stake in property assets. We conduct training workshops to sensitize women and educate them about their property and inheritance rights. We also train them to read and interpret legal documents.
MHT has also been a proponent of increasing women’s participation in RWAs, leading the local government in Ahmedabad to mandate 50% participation of women in public housing RWAs.