Who we are
The Land Portal Foundation was established to create, curate and disseminate land governance information by fostering an inclusive and accessible data landscape. Over the last decade, the portal has evolved from a simple information gateway to become a knowledge broker, a resource base, a vibrant online community of users and a trusted voice within global land governance. This is what we do.
- Core Team
- Local Knowledge Engagement Network
- Board of Directors
- Policy Advisory Group
- Technical Advisory Group
Behind the scenes of the Land Portal is an interdisciplinary team of experts committed to improving land governance through open-access data and cross-sectoral collaboration. Our combined knowledge, experience and passion means we are uniquely positioned to harness the potential of open data to build a democratic and inclusive information ecosystem on land. This is our team:
Laura Meggiolaro (Team Leader)
Laura is a specialist in information and knowledge management for development with a passion for Open Data. She has substantial program management experience and during the last fifteen years, she has been responsible for kicking off, implementing and leading a range of data, information and knowledge management initiatives focused on land rights. Prior to joining the Land Portal, Laura worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization, ActionAid International and the International Land Coalition among others. Laura holds Master’s degrees in Communications Science and on Economics for Development.
Neil Sorensen (Communications Specialist)
Neil has extensive experience in leading communications for international organizations and of building relationships between civil society, donors, intergovernmental agencies, the media and the private sector. Before joining the Land Portal, Neil worked for the International Fund for Agriculture Development, the International Land Coalition and the International Federation of Agricultural Producers among others. Neil has a Master’s degree in Global Diplomacy and a Bachelor’s degree in German and Sociology. Neil was born and raised in Minnesota (US) and has lived for 12 years in Paris, France.
Carlos Tejo Alonso (Data Officer)
Carlos is an open data specialist with particular expertise in semantic web technologies, computer science, human-computer interaction and networking. Prior to joining the Land Portal, Carlos worked for the Fundación CTIC as a researcher in the Semantic Technologies Unit and has participated in various research and development initiatives across Europe. Carlos has a Master’s degree in Engineering and Computing Science.
Stacey Zammit (Communications Officer)
Stacey is a communications specialist with particular experience in natural resource management and peace-building processes. Prior to joining the Land Portal, Stacey worked for the International Land Coalition and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Stacey is currently a graduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
Silvina Rusinek (Web Manager)
Silvina is a specialist in computer sciences, communications and graphic design with over 20 years experience of working on a range of web design, development and management initiatives. Silvina has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and has completed courses in graphic design, social communication, audiovisual communication, librarianship and photography. Silvina is originally from Argentina, she speaks six languages and currently resides in Barcelona.
Erik Bennema (Finances Officer)
Erik is a finance specialist providing support and advice to various organizations and associations. He has a particular interest in land and agriculture, and provides legal advice on agricultural tenancy issues, landowners and tenanted farmers. Erik has a Master's degree in history and Bachelor's degree notarial law from the University of Groningen.
Konrad Hentze (Data Analyst)
As a Geographer with an interdisciplinary focus on research and management of land and resources, Konrad has been active in these fields for more than 10 years. He has sucessfully implemented solutions of land administration and resource management together with partners from private, public, and state sectors with on ground experience in Europe, the Carribean, Southern and Eastern Africa and South East Asia. He is passionate about spatial data, visualisation and research, facilitating the understanding and comminucation within the diverse land community. He holds a German Diplom and PhD in Geography.
Adam Sánchez (Technology Officer)
Adam is a specialist in semantic web technologies, server administration, database administration, management of containerized applications, Big Data management, GIS and web development. He is a software engineer at the University of Grenoble Alpes, France and a PhD candidate in Computer Science. He has been a consultant for several projects and universities in Europe and Latin America over the last 10 years. Adam is originally from Peru and currently lives in France.
Marcella Sobisch (Data management officer)
Marcella contributes to data and information management. As a geographer and environmental scientist, her initial focus on sustainable farming got her into contact with peasants affected by tenure insecurity. In her early professional life, she worked for GIZ in the field of land rights - first on a multinational level and then in Côte d’Ivoire. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in geography, she completed her master's in Mexico and carried out research in Guatemala. Having lived in six countries and speaking four languages, Marcella has now settled in Bonn.
Romy Sato (Local Knowledge Engagement Network Coordinator)
Romy has over 15 years of experience as a communications officer, researcher and policy advisor in various topics within rural development. For more than 5 years she has coordinated activities of the Global Donor Working Group on Land and managed the Land Governance Programme Map, a database of donors’ projects in land governance worldwide. She has worked for GIZ, FAO, CIFOR, Embrapa, amongst other organizations. Romy is original from the Brazilian Amazon and holds a Bachelor degree in Journalism and a Master in Environmental Governance.
Rick de Satgé (Southern and East Africa Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)
Cape Town, South Africa
Rick was born in Zimbabwe and lives in Cape Town. Rick has over 40 years of experience in the land sector working in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. He is a former Director of Research and Collaborative Learning with Phuhlisani NPC, a leading South African land NGO, to which he remains affiliated as a Senior Research Associate. He currently curates www.knowledgebase.land providing news and research links on land issues. He holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town.
Daniel Hayward (Mainland Asia Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)
Daniel Hayward works as an international development researcher, focused on land relations, agricultural value chains, gender, and migration. As well as working for Land Portal, Daniel is the project coordinator of the Mekong Land Research Forum at Chiang Mai University, and consultant for a variety of local and international NGOs and research institutes. He is from the UK, and presently moves between the Netherlands and Thailand.
Anne Hennings (West Africa & Southeast Asia Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)
Germany, South Africa, Sierra Leone
Anne Hennings has worked on land and resource related issues for over 10 years and holds a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies. She conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Ethiopia with emphasis on contested land deals, community mobilization, gender and post-conflict dynamics. In addition to working for the Land Portal, Anne is a postdoc research fellow at the Peace Academy Rhineland-Palatinate and speaker of the working group “Nature, Resources, Conflicts”. Anne is from Germany, and presently commutes between Europe, South Africa and Sierra Leone.
Aaron Akinocho (Local Content Associate)
Aaron Akinocho is a journalist. He has worked on agriculture and public management issues in Africa at www.agenceecofin.com . He’s passionate about development topics and has launched comprendre.media to explain the great challenges of this century to a wider public.
Amanda Martinez (Local Content Associate)
Amanda is a PhD Candidate in Urban Development at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. Her areas of research are based on urban socio-spatial segregation, gender and urban planning, land rights and decolonial studies related to space production in Latin America.
Sandra Apaza Lanyi (Local Content Associate)
Sandra is a communications specialist with focus on land and human rights. She is responsible for communications and knowledge management for International Land Coalition Latin America and the Carribean (LAC) and has worked with various public institutions, CSOs and research centers. She holds MA degrees in Socio-Cultural Analysis of Knowledge and Communication, and in Democratization and Development. Originally from Peru with current residence in Spain, she speaks Spanish and English.
The Land Portal Foundation is overseen by a board of directors. The board is comprised of leading experts in land, property rights and information management, who volunteer their time to support the work of the foundation. This is our board:
Prof. dr. L.C.A Verstappen (Chair)
Groningen, The Netherlands
Professor Leon Verstappen founded the International Alliance on Land Tenure and Administration where he leads a team of researchers working on land tenure. Prior to becoming a professor at the University of Groningen, Professor Verstappen completed his studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen and served at the Groningen Centre for Law and Governance.
Magdalena Anna Kropiwnicka (Director)
Magdalena Kropiwnicka is a food systems, land policy and women’s rights advisor with experience in governance, advocacy and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Before founding the independent consultancy Food and Climate, Ms. Kropiwnicka has been a chair of the EU Working Group on Land, EU negotiator for VGGTs and has for many years led ActionAid’s office in Rome. She has worked on natural resources’ rights in Africa and Latin America, speaks five languages and holds M.A. International Relations / International Law and B.A. in Economics and in Political Science. She is currently based in Jamaica.
Timothy Fella (Treasurer)
Washington DC, US
Timothy Fella has over 12 years of experience of working on land tenure and land administration issues around the world. He is currently the Global Business Development Manager at the geographic information systems company ESRI, having previously worked at Indufor and USAID among others. Mr. Fella has a Master degree in Social Sciences for International Development and Bachelor degree in International Relations.
Dr. Ritu Verma (Director)
Dr. Ritu Verma is an anthropologist, international development expert and civil engineer with over 20 years of research focussed on indigenous knowledge, socio-cultural relations, human wellbeing and natural resource management. Dr. Verma is a senior researcher at the Tarayana Foundation and adjunct professor at the College of Language and Culture Studies. She has previously held senior research positions at CIAT, ICIMOD, PLAAS, CBS, RTC, and conducted work on land rights, pastoralism, natural resource management and gender equality for UNDP, FAO, IDS, among many others.
Prof. Jaap Zevenbergen (Director)
Enschede, The Netherlands
Prof. Jaap Zevenbergen is a land surveyor and and a land lawyer who specializes in land tenure security and land administration. He co-authored many publications on those topics and acts as reviewer and editor for relevant papers as well. After many year at the Delft University of Technology he moved to the University of Twente in 2010, from where he sat on the board of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and Cadasta Foundation, next to his teaching and supervision. His MSc and PhD students come from all over the world, esp. from Africa and South-East Asia.
The Land Portal's Policy Advisory Group, composed of representatives of donors and founding organizations, provides continuity and stability to our organization. These are our advisors:
Chris Penrose Buckley (Advisor)
London, United Kingdom
Chris is Senior Land Policy Lead at the UK’s Department for International Development and holds an MSc in rural development and agricultural economics from Imperial College London. Chris is an agriculture and rural development specialist with 19 years’ experience in smallholder agriculture, market development and natural resource management in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Ward Anseeuw (Advisor)
Dr Ward Anseeuw, a development economist and policy analyst, is a research fellow at the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD). He is presently seconded to the International Land Coalition as a Senior Technical Specialist responsible for “Knowledge, Learning, Innovation and data”. For the last 12 years, he was seconded to the University of Pretoria, as a senior research fellow to the Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development and as the co-director of the Center for the Study of Governance Innovations (GovInn) – which he founded in 2012. Ward is originally from Rwanda and currently lives in Italy.
Harold Liversage (Advisor)
Harold Liversage is the Lead Land Tenure Specialist for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He has 30 years of experience in land and natural resource governance policy formulation and implementation. Before joining IFAD in 2004, he worked for a land rights NGO and then as a Land Reform Programme Coordinator for government in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in the 1990s. Subsequently he worked as a Land Tenure Adviser in Mozambique from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2004 he worked for the Government of Rwanda / UK DFID as a Land Policy Adviser. Harold is a South African currently based in Rome.
The Land Portal team is guided and supported by a Technical Advisory Group, comprising leading experts from diverse fields. These are our advisors:
Tim Davies (Advisor)
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Tim Davies is co-director of Practical Participation, research coordinator on open data for the World Wide Web Foundation and contributes to the AidInfo program at the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Tim has a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, a Master’s degree in Social Science of the Internet from Oxford Internet Institute, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Web Science at the University of Southampton, focused on the democratic impact of open data.
Paolo Groppo (Advisor)
Paolo Groppo is a land tenure, conflict management and territorial development specialist, with over thirty years of experience around the world. Paolo works for the Food and Agriculture Organization, where he has served as editor of the Land Reform, Land Settlement and Cooperatives journal and sat on the Secretariat of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development. Paolo graduated in Agricultural Sciences at Padua University, and has received a post-graduate degree and a PhD in agronomy from Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon.
Mike Powel (Advisor)
Alnwick, United Kingdom
Mike Powell is an independent consultant focusing on establishing effective intermediaries between technology developers and ICT users in the development sector. Mike was formerly director of the IKM Emergent program, working on knowledge management in development.
Valeria Pesce (Advisor)
Valeria Pesce is currently Semantic Web Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was previously project manager at the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) for 13 years. She is also an Ambassador for the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative.
She has worked for more than 15 years in the areas of information management, semantic web, data sharing, data standardization and more recently data policies, especially concerning agri-food data. She has coordinated work packages and activities in international projects on agri-food data standardization.
Marcello De Maria (Advisor)
Reading, United Kingdom
Marcello De Maria is a Postdoctoral Researcher based at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development - University of Reading. He defended his PhD thesis titled 'Essays on the Economics of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions' and joined the TradeHub. He worked for a decade as freelance researcher and data analyst with a variety of NGOs, research institutes, national and international organisations. He is interested in land, institutional, trade and environmental economics. He is originally from Italy and resides in UK.
The Land Portal Foundation is a public benefit organization (ANBI) registered in the Netherlands (RSIN# 854330045), established on 8 September 2014. More information.