Land and Policy Advisor


About RDI: Rural Development Institute (RDI) dba Landesa is an international nonprofit, founded in 1981 and dedicated to ending global poverty by securing land rights for the world’s poorest people. RDI has worked in 50 countries throughout the world, with offices in India and China and home office in Seattle, Washington. The organization is widely supported by partners, including NGOs, foundations, donor agencies, educational institutions, and individual supporters throughout the world. RDI is known for its advancement of pro-poor, gender-sensitive land rights reforms that have helped alleviate poverty, reduce hunger, and ease conflict over land for more than 120 million women and men.

Job Summary: The Land and Policy Advisor will provide leadership in strategizing and advocating for liberal land-leasing laws and and policies within the framework of RDI’s strategic objectives. S/he will work across RDI state teams in support of an ongoing multi-state project, leading in analysis, design, and advocacy that helps achieve the legalization of farmland leasing in at least one state.

Place of posting:  The location of the job is negotiable, but we prefer the candidate to be based in Delhi or another RDI office in India.

Reporting and Relationships / Direct Reports:  The Land and Policy Advisor will report to the Project Lead for the multi-state project with a dotted line reporting to the Co-Founder and Sr. Advisor.

Availability:  The Land and Policy Advisor will be expected to work a standard workweek of 40 hours plus additional hours as necessary to get the job done. The Land and Policy Advisor will be required to travel up to 40% of his/her time to various states where RDI operates. Some  travel abroad as may be required as well.

About the Position: The Land and Policy Advisor will lead RDI’s efforts to address one of India’s greatest land tenure challenges: the inability to legally lease farmland. His/her work will address this challenge as one component of a broader multi-state project in India. The project, recognising the economic and social benefits that accrue when women and men have secure tenure to land, aims to create systemic change that strengthens land rights and improves agricultural inefficiency for thousands of women and men across Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradhesh, and West Bengal. The Land and Policy Advisor will lead RDI’s efforts to initiate data-driven policy dialogues concerning farmland leasing and related agricultural productivity in three of these states, aiming to achieve policy changes that legalize farmland leasing in at least one state and help smallholder tenants access credit, obtain services, invest for the future, and increase productivity.

Essential Job Functions:

  • Maintains a holistic and current understanding of policies, laws and social forces that influence land rights at the village, regional, and national level.
  • Analyzes laws and policies to identify areas where revision would effectively support RDI’s mission.
  • Designs and proposes changes to policies and laws.
  • Builds and sustains strong relationships with government officials and other influencers to advocate for changes to policies and laws.
  • Works with RDI’s state teams to implement policy advocacy priorities.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Highly energetic, proactive, and versatile in the face of ambitious goals and complex challenges.
  • Able to to think and work independently, with a track record of success in achieving organizational objectives and leading the thorough conception and implementation of new ideas.
  • Proven interpersonal skills, diplomacy and tact, and the ability to advocate and negotiate skillfully with both internal and external groups.
  • A strong commitment to teamwork and an ability to
  • Strong communication, presentation, and written skills. Ability to write clearly in a variety of communication styles and for a range of audiences .
  • Commitment to RDI’s values: mission first, collaborative, constructive, and accountable.

Education and Experience:

  • Advanced University degree in law. Legal background and experience mandatory.
  • At least five years of relevant work experience in government and private practice.
  • Good knowledge of land tenure systems and rural development issues with experience working effectively with marginalized rural communities.
  • Excellent language skills in English and Hindi.

Physical and Environmental Conditions: Work is primarily performed indoors with some potential for exposure to safety and health hazards related to electronics work. This position does not require unusual demands for physical effort.  The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.  Work environment involves everyday risks or discomforts that require normal safety precautions typical of places such as offices, meeting or training rooms, residences, or commercial vehicles; e.g., use of safe work place practices with office equipment, and/or avoidance of trips and falls, and observance of fire regulations and traffic signals.

Additional Comments:  The above job description is not intended as, nor should it be construed as, exhaustive of all responsibilities, skills, efforts, or working conditions associated with this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made in appropriate circumstances to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of this job.

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