Skoll Foundation



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 August 2014, Tim Hanstad announced he is stepping down as CEO of Landesa and will return to program work within the organization.


  • In the last fiscal year, Landesa brought more than 2.23 million men and women secure rights to their land.
  • In fiscal year 2014, they helped change six laws and policies, helping 691.4 million people who stand to gain improved land rights
  • That same year, 41,381 people received land-related legal awareness training from Landesa
  • 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.



© 2015 Skoll Foundation.