Skoll Foundation Skoll Entrepeneurs Challenge - Now Live!



Skoll Entrepreneur(s): Tim Hanstad
Award Year: 2012
Focus Area(s) Addressed: Smallholder Productivity and Food Security

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Landesa tackles a neglected barrier to progress: land rights. More than a billion people have little to no legal control over the land on which they depend. When women, in particular, gain such rights, good things happen: farm yields increase, child welfare improves, domestic violence goes down.  Landesa launched the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights to ensure millions more women are able to claim these legal rights to their land. It is now amplifying its message to support land rights internationally.


  • In the last fiscal year, Landesa brought more than 3.4 million families secure rights to their land. In the last 46 years, Landesa has helped more than 109 million families gain secure land rights and the opportunity for a better life.
  • Helped 2.6 million families in China receive documented legal rights to land
  • Helped more than 800,000 families in nine Indian states get land ownership rights.
  • In West Bengal, India, 8,000 girls are enrolled in Landesa’s Security for Girls Through Land Project. The program aims to keep girls in school and reduce their vulnerability to child marriage and trafficking by giving them land-based skills and knowledge of their land rights. Girls in the program are 25% more likely to stay in school. The project, a partnership between Landesa and the Indian government, is expanding to reach more than 35,000 girls in 2014.
  • In India, in 2011, Landesa opened the Women’s Land Rights Facilitation Center in Odisha India in partnership with the government. The first of its kind in India, the model is being replicated across Odisha. Twenty-three Women Support Centers are already operating. Another 26 are in the works.
  • They aim to secure land rights for an additional 14 million rural families by 2015.
  • Beyond the numbers, it’s important to understand the transformational change that happens when families gain legal rights to their land. Land is a foundation for both economic development and stability, and often the entry point to becoming a full citizen.



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