Land rights are ascendant across the development sector. Movements addressing women’s empowerment, poverty, social justice, food security and climate change are all increasingly turning to land rights to strengthen their cause. In 2022, renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott joined these efforts by making an unprecedented $20 million investment in our work. Ms. Scott’s generous gift represents a profound endorsement of the power of land rights to improve the lives of women, men, and communities around the world.
This past year, Landesa greatly expanded its reach by cultivating partnerships in new countries in Africa and Asia and deepening work around women’s land rights, youth land rights, smallholder farmers and climate change. In all of these efforts, Landesa has prioritized collaborations with national NGOs and grassroots organizations. These local groups and networks are essential to creating lasting change on the ground and represent the future of land rights advocacy.
Through its work as the Secretariat of the global campaign, Stand for Her Land, Landesa is helping to initiate, develop and support coalitions of local land rights advocates. Landesa and campaign partners have raised funds for country coalitions in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, which are now working to ensure that millions of women can realize stronger land rights in their daily lives. In six adjoining countries from India to Indonesia, Landesa is working with national organizations and government actors to help secure the rights of communities to protect and regenerate their mangrove forests – critical to livelihoods and the broader cause of climate change. In Cambodia, Landesa is simultaneously advocating for national-level policy reforms, while providing institutional support and land rights guidance to almost a dozen local NGOs.
The gift from MacKenzie Scott will supercharge these efforts. Over the coming years, we aim to strengthen the field of land rights by building the evidence base, encouraging global actors to support land rights efforts, and working with a broader range of advocates to bolster their capacities and influence. In terms of impact, Landesa has set the goal of helping 400 million rural women realize the benefits of stronger land rights by 2027.
This report provides a look back at a watershed year for Landesa – and a look ahead to what’s on the horizon. Thank you for walking this journey with us.
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Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 105 million poor families gain legal control over their land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.