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Posts Tagged ‘landesa’

Landesa on Why Land Rights Should Be in Post-2015 Goals

January 16, 2015 by

As UN member states begin their discussions on the post 2015 sustainable development framework on January 19th, Landesa and its partners want to continue efforts to ensure that land rights for women and men is explicitly included in the post 2015 development goals, targets, and indicators.

This video makes the case for why it is vital to retain secure land rights for women and men under three key goals: poverty, nutrition, and gender equality. Learn more:


Landesa News: A New Study on Chinese Farmers’ Rights, Tanzania’s New Constitution and More

November 7, 2014 by

Today we’re sharing five pieces of land rights news from Landesa:

In a new BigThink 3-minute video, Landesa CEO Tim Hanstad says women are doing the bulk of the agricultural labor, but locked out of land ownership. Hear more about how and why this should change above.

RRI and Landesa released a new study on paper giant’s APP operations in China, which they say largely violated Chinese law and farmer’s rights to informed consent and proper compensation.

The Guardian ran a Landesa and ActionAid op-ed about Tanzania’s new constitution, which grants women unprecedented rights and protections and the right to own and inherit land. Find out why Tanzania’s female lawmakers erupted into cheers in parliament.

The South China Morning Post includes an op-ed from Tim Hanstad on the one group of farmers who may not benefit from Beijing’s historic efforts to create a the country’s first national land registry and improve land tenure security for rural women. As it stands, women’s names are not being included in the land registries in a majority of provinces — severely undermining women’s tenure security.

Also, Landesa Africa program director Jennifer Duncan was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article. Jennifer pointed out the inherent risks in a plan to lease more than 200,000 acres of farmland in Congo.


Landesa’s Security for Girls through Land project featured

July 10, 2014 by

Yesterday, the Morning News website featured Landesa’s Security for Girls through Land project in a fun feature called “Bang for Your Buck.”

An excerpt from the article:

“A dollar can help a girl in West Bengal, India participate in The Girls Project. Through a partnership between the Government of West Bengal and Landesa, more than 40,000 girls participating in the project attend bi-monthly meeting where they learn about their rights to attend school, to not be married as a child, and to one day inherit land. The girls also learn intensive gardening skills and grow a kitchen garden on any spare land in their compound. Many of the girls grow gourds on the roof of their house, mushrooms under their beds, and leafy greens along the perimeter of their homestead. The food boosts nutrition, helps redefine what the girls are capable of, and often helps the girls pay school fees. It costs about one dollar per participant per year.”

In other Landesa news, Funds for NGOs is featuring Landesa as its NGO of the month in July:


New Infographic Illustrates the Global Impact of Land Rights

June 12, 2014 by

Landesa created an interactive infographic mapping how secure land rights have helped millions find a path out of poverty. This is part of Landesa’s goal to help ensure that land rights are explicitly included in the post-2015 framework. That’s because secure land rights allow other development efforts to take root.

When you click on Ethiopia, for example, you’ll learn:

“Households that have fully secure and transferable rights had 5.6 percent higher agricultural productivity and were 60 percent more likely to invest in terracing. Households that perceived they had the right to mortgage or sell their land were more likely to invest in assets and activities, such as trees and terracing, that enhance future productivity.

Increases in the amount of land bequeathed or gifted to a woman reduced household food insecurity by 36 percent.”

Read about how many more countries are affected by land rights in the areas of nutrition, women’s empowerment, health, conservation, resilience, and economic development:


Op-ed on land reform by Landesa featured in The New York Times

January 17, 2014 by

A new op-ed by Landesa in The New York Times uses the recent typhoon in the Philippines to illustrate how the developing world’s landless poor routinely bear the brunt of natural disasters. Tim Hanstad and Roy Prosterman make the case that the lack of secure property rights diminishes a country’s resiliency and slows post-disaster recovery efforts. They explain,

“Families without secure rights to land (and that is a majority of rural residents in many developing countries) often remain in their homes when it is dangerous to do so, fearing they won’t be allowed to return. And without the security of ownership and access to collateral, their homes are often not built to withstand earthquakes, typhoons and other disasters.

This has profound consequences that extend far beyond the squatter camps and plantations with their legions of impoverished laborers. Landlessness and the lack of secure property rights among the poor not only hurt a country’s resiliency and slow post-disaster recovery. Those inequities also hold back economic development, perpetuate poverty and fan social tensions.”

Read the entire op-ed.


Landesa and Downton Abbey: Women’s Lack of Inheritance Rights at the Forefront

December 20, 2013 by

Landesa, which just won a $1.5 million Global Impact Award, used the hit television series Downton Abbey as an opportunity to comment on the issue of women’s land rights. The blog is now live on “As fans of Downton Abbey know, women’s lack of inheritance rights have brought down dynasties, impelled marriages and divided families.”

The New York Times Sinosphere featured a fascinating article about women’s land rights, and it linked to Landesa’s blog on women’s land rights that ran on and also cites their 17-province survey.

Google’s Global Impact Award will be used by Landesa and FrontlineSMS to transform the way land titling operates in developing countries, using mobile phones to change a slow, paper-based process into a more efficient, cost-effective system that communities and local governments can use to secure land rights for the most vulnerable populations.


Landesa News: Devex video, Daily Beast blog and more

September 10, 2013 by

Today we’re sharing some news from Landesa.

The Daily Beast’s Women in the World posted a blog from Landesa land tenure specialist Melany Grout on how its Girls Project in West Bengal, India is helping thousands of girls stay in school and avoid early marriage with sacks of chillis and bushels of vegetables. The blog also appears on the home page of Women in the World under “Call to Arms.”

There is also interesting new content in Devex’s Land Matters campaign this month. Devex posted a great short video of Landesa’s CEO Tim Hanstad making the case for land rights, and featured an article on Women’s Land Rights that prominently featured insights from Landesa staff and other experts and an op-ed by Elisa Scalise on the four traits the world’s poorest have in common and how that should inform our fight against global poverty.


Tim Hanstad on securing land rights for the world’s poor

August 28, 2013 by

“You can teach a person to fish, but who owns the pond?”

In a new Skoll World Forum video, Tim Hanstad, President and CEO of Landesa, describes how working alongside migrant farmworkers during his childhood sparked a passion for justice and began his fight for land rights for the world’s most vulnerable people.

Landesa has helped secure land rights for more than 105 million families, in 45 countries throughout the world.


How Skoll Awardees are Using Crowdfunding for Fundraising Success

August 8, 2013 by

We’re noticing an increasing number Skoll Awardees using crowdfunding for specific projects, and wanted to share more details in case you’re contemplating doing the same.

In June, Landesa launched its first crowd-funding effort with In this pilot effort, they featured their legal aid project in Andra Pradesh, with a goal of raising $10,000 to train and support 30 paralegals in the program. Those paralegals can, in a given year, help 1,000 families gain clear title to the land upon which they rely.

Landesa successfully raised the $10,000 needed.

In July, Search for Common Ground raised a little more than their $10,000 goal to launch a TV web series of their signature show, “The Team,” in America. See their Kickstarter promotional video, above.

“Although crowdfunding seems to be everywhere now, nonprofits were actually some of its earliest adopters,” writes Scot Chisholm, CEO & CoFounder, StayClassy (a crowdfunding site). “In the early days, nonprofits tied crowdfunding to their offline events, like runs, walks and rides.”

We at the Skoll Foundation partnered with the Huffington Post and CrowdRise, a crowdfunding site, on two campaigns and plan on doing one more. The first, called JobRaising, was geared toward creating jobs for America and raised $1,469,116 in donations to organizations who help support jobs.  82 percent of  those donations were less than $100.

Announced in March 2013, JVS Los Angeles (which provides job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support) beat the field with $254,100 raised and received an additional $150,000 from The Skoll Foundation.    read more


Landesa Featured in O Magazine

July 16, 2013 by

The editors of O Magazine have rolled out a new feature called “Globe-Trotter for Good.” And for their inaugural feature, they’ve chosen to profile Landesa land rights attorney Melany Grout.

The piece, in the magazine’s August issue, perfectly captures Landesa’s optimism about their Girls Project in West Bengal, India. Since 2011, the project has helped more than 7,000 girls in 299 rural communities learn about their rights to land and land-based livelihood skills, such as how to grow an organic kitchen garden. The goal of the project is to help keep girls in school and reduce their vulnerability to child marriage and trafficking by ensuring that girls share in the opportunity land provides their families.

Landesa’s partner, the government of India, has been delighted by the progress and is expanding the project to another 35,000 poor rural girls.

See the piece:


Sally Osberg’s Rotman Magazine Piece: How Social Entrepreneurs Unleash Human Potential

July 5, 2013 by

Sally Osberg’s 4-page Rotman magazine article, “How Social Entrepreneurs Unleash Human Potential,” has hit newsstands. Below, we have included some highlights.

On Ambition: 

“Without ambition, I would argue, dreams risk remaining ethereal and untethered to reality.  Ambition moves human beings from wanting to improve their lives to taking the actions to do so.  Social entrepreneurs harness that force, creating ventures explicitly designed to help people help themselves.  For the disadvantaged populations served by most social entrepreneurs, tangible goals—more income, good jobs, and the dignity that comes with improved social status—matter.”

On what defines social entrepreneurs:

“As Roger Martin and I argued in “Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition” [Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2007], social entrepreneurs see and seize opportunities to crack the code on systems that hold human potential in check, setting their sights not just on incremental improvements to a status quo, but on equilibrium change.”

On Tim Hanstad of Landesa:

“Tim Hanstad is under no illusions as to the scale of global poverty.  Landesa, the organization he leads, has done the math and carried out the analysis: of the estimated 2.47 billion barely scraping by on less than $2 a day, three quarters live in rural areas and are dependent upon land they farm to survive.  More than 1 billion of these subsistence farmers, however, are not in control of the land they cultivate, a condition that perpetuates their poverty and exacerbates their vulnerability.  For families as for markets, uncertainty quashes ambition.  Faced with the real possibility that their property can be seized or redistributed, farmers won’t risk investing even the tiny sums needed to diversify crops or increase  yields.  But with title comes security and with security a more stable foundation for development. For four decades, Landesa has partnered with governments throughout the world in order to secure land rights for the rural poor, knowing that title is catalytic, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of development.”

On ambition as key to social entrepreneurship:

“Ambition can seem invisible, but its energy is undeniable.  To social entrepreneurs like those featured herein, no resource is as vital to prosperity as that of human potential.  Throughout the world, the ambition of women and men seeking freedom, self-determination, and opportunity is gathering force. Social entrepreneurs grasp the enormity of this momentum, appreciating the vast human potential underlying every data point on poverty, disease, environmental degradation and human suffering. They know that in the decades to come, this veritable tsunami of ambition will change countries, transform societies, and remake the world.”

Read the full article:


Landesa Crowdfunds for Paralegals

June 26, 2013 by

This month, Landesa launched its first crowd-funding effort with In this pilot effort, they are featuring their legal aid project in Andra Pradesh, with a goal of raising $10,000 to train and support 30 paralegals in the program. Those paralegals can, in a given year, help 1,000 families gain clear title to the land upon which they rely. Here is part of a blog about the project: 

“….These women and men remind me that every one of us—whether a paralegal in India, a mother in Kenya, a father in the U.K., or a student in the United States–has the power to make our world a better place. And they’re why we recently launched a new project on Catapult, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to equality for women and girls.

Small actions—when supported by a broader global effort—can lead to real, meaningful change.

Your donation will help train and equip 30 paralegals, each of whom can in turn help 1,000 families each year obtain a land title or resolve disputes over their land. With 30 paralegals we can help 30,000 families gain stability and security—all for around a $3 investment per family.

Our work helps women like Kumra Makubai, a mother of three in rural Andhra Pradesh. Her family did not have legal title to the land they had farmed for generations. read more


Landesa in New York Times and More

June 19, 2013 by

Today we want to share some news from Landesa, which was in the Sunday New York Times. In a big story on urbanization in China, the main article included a quote from Landesa staff. It presents China’s rush to urbanize as unsustainable and explains the devastating impact on farmers. The article was the most emailed article on their website and received more than 500 comments.

The South China Morning Post features an op-ed by Landesa making the link between land rights and environmental sustainability. The piece does a great job of painting a picture of the scale of the environmental problem in China.

Businessweek article, like the New York Times piece,  relied on Landesa’s China team and talked to them about their perspective and insights.

Above, watch Landesa’s new video, made in alliance with USAID and Stories of Change, a partnership between the Skoll Foundation and the Sundance Institute. Finally, read an essay by Landesa Founder Roy Prosterman on how to help Myanmar’s rural poor.


Landesa on Front Page of the Seattle Times

March 19, 2013 by

Seattle Times journalists went to West Bengal and did an in-depth front page story on two Landesa projects in West Bengal (a Girls Project and a Micro-plot Project), and included background about Landesa’s history. “Seattle-based nonprofit Landesa teaches girls in impoverished villages of India how to garden small plots of land, in hopes they can help their families and, for some, forestall early marriage,” they wrote.

This piece was part of a wide-ranging and compelling front-page Seattle Times series, which also includes:
o A thoughtful front page profile of Roy Prosterman, Landesa’s founder
o A beautiful photo essay that includes images of those Landesa serves, taken by the Seattle Times photographer during her trip to West Bengal:


Kimberly Tripp on How to Scale Impact

January 23, 2013 by

Skoll Foundation portfolio principal Kimberly Dasher Tripp shares her insights on how to scale impact in the Harvard Business Review. Here’s an excerpt:

“If you ask venture capitalists in Silicon Valley how they measure the success of business entrepreneurs, they would no doubt list off metrics having to do with fast growth: funding raised, people hired, customers acquired, revenue produced. The assumption is that company growth is good. But when it comes to social ventures, where the primary focus is impact (not profits), bigger isn’t necessarily better.

When organizations talk to my colleagues and me at the Skoll Foundation about growth in staff size, budget size, or client / beneficiary numbers, we often ask “So what?” In our view, those types of growth don’t necessarily translate to real and significant impact. Sure, size can often be correlated to maturity, but we want to know that the service, curriculum, or product the organization is offering has a significant impact on the problem it aims to solve. For us the question is not how do you grow organizations but how do you scale impact?”

Read the rest:



We’re at Sundance!

January 22, 2013 by

Once again, the Skoll Foundation is at the Sundance Film Festival in force!

“Storytelling is critical for achieving change at scale, and nowhere can you find more and better storytellers than at Sundance,” says Sandy Herz, our director of strategic alliances.

Through our Stories of Change partnership, Skoll entrepreneurs Landesa, Injaz, GoodWeave and FairTrade USA are now exploring how narrative storytelling and strategic use of film can help them scale their impact.

Media advisors working with the Skoll awardees at Sundance include Kirsten Johnson, Cori Stern, Patrick Creadon and Mona Eldaief.

So what is the film we’re featuring above? That’s the Skoll-supported “Girl Rising,” which features three Skoll Award recipient organizations: Room to Read, Partners in Health and (in the campaign but not the film) Pratham USA. The film comes out in theaters on March 7. Yesterday, we attended the “Girl Rising” panel and evening event at Sundance.


Landesa Featured in New York Times and More

November 26, 2012 by

Landesa has been in the news quite a bit lately. The latest New York Times “Fixes” column is a good primer on the problem of landlessness. It shines a spotlight on both its founder Roy Prosterman and Skoll Awardee Tim Hanstad as leading thinkers in the field. The column introduces Landesa’s micro-plot work and highlights the potential for micro-plots to do much good for the landless rural poor around the world.

An excerpt from “Fixes”:

“Today, political forces are arrayed against land reform. India, for example, had a land reform program since the 1960s that set ceilings on land ownership.  The government could expropriate anything above the ceiling; compensation was typically well below market value. But the law was put to wide use only in the few states with Communist governments. ‘With very small exceptions, the ceiling surplus approach was not going anywhere because people who owned the land and stood to lose were much more politically powerful than those who were going to gain,’ said Tim Hanstad, the president and chief executive of Landesa.” read more


Skoll Awardees and Staff at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

September 24, 2012 by

Besides the fact that our CEO Sally Osberg is speaking today at 10:30 a.m., there’s lots of other Skoll Foundation related excitement at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, which started yesterday. Tim Hanstad of Landesa spoke about “Making a Business Case for Land Rights.” Mindy Lubber of Ceres talked about Integrating Social and Environmental Value into Core Business. (Watch her at that link starting at the 20 minute mark).

Above,  listen to Molly Melching of Tostan starting at 25:30 in the video. It was part of the 2012 Commitment Workshops called “Influencing Behavior and Attitudes.” Melching introduced us to a Senegalese woman who went to 148 communities with Tostan and helped end the practice of female genital cutting and child marriage there.

“You may ask, how does a deeply entrenched practice, of genital cutting, which has lasted more than 2,000 years, how did this change come about?” Melching said in her talk. “One of the people who was most determined to find a solution was a villager who is now 75 years old..he taught us profound  lessons about  a society where the family and the social group is of utmost importance. He explained that a practice like female genital cutting was not even a choice for people in the community…It was an obligatory social rule.”

…”For both attitudinal and behavioral change to occur, we have found that the change must really come from within.”



New Landesa Video Shines a Light on Girls Education

September 13, 2012 by

We are loving this new series of videos by Landesa. They recently debuted the first of four new short films in a series they are calling “Connect the Dots.” These videos explore the linkages between land rights and other key development initiatives – girls education, nutrition, conservation and security.

“This video illustrates how innovative new programs are helping poor rural families in India to use the kitchen gardens they’ve planted and nurtured on their family’s new small plot of land to grow a better future for their daughters,” says CEO Tim Hanstad.

Learn more:


Tim Hanstad: Why People Risk Their Lives Over Land Rights

May 24, 2012 by

Skoll Awardee Tim Hanstad just published a piece on the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars site. The article is inspired by the themes of the new book, Why Nations Fail. The book examines how money is being made even in desperately poor countries, largely because the rule of law and infrastructure are designed to exploit the poor, while benefiting a very few at the top.

Hanstad pivoted off the themes to examine how land and property rights fit into this equation, and tied it all to current events. An excerpt:

“The murder of five land rights campaigners during the last two months – one in Colombia, three in Brazil, and one in Cambodia – have not captured many headlines, but they are a reminder of the central role land tenure plays not just in rural economic development but also in sparking broadly distributed economic gains throughout a society. read more


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