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 who we are.
- 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.
Stacey Zammit (Communications Consultant)
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 Management Consultant)
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 (Administration and Finance Consultant)
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.
Romy Sato (Network of Researchers Coordination)
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.
Lilian Lee (Communications Consultant)
Lilian is a strategy consultant with more than 10 years experience supporting public, private, and civil society organizations in strategic communications, enterprise planning, and project management. She has worked with Deloitte Consulting in DC and civil society groups in Asia. Lilian is a former Fulbright Scholar and has a Master's degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.
Charl-Thom Bayer (Land Information Management and Advocacy Consultant )
Charl-Thom is a specialist in land governance and administration with a background in land surveying and information systems design. He is a versatile and seasoned project coordinator with more than twenty years’ experience leading multinational teams and initiatives in pursuit of improved land governance and development. He is passionate about open data, knowledge diffusion and land administration. Prior to joining Land Portal, he worked as a Land Tenure Consultant and was Head of Department for Land and Property Science at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. He was born in Namibia and currently resides there.
Muhammad Iqbal (Web Developer)
Iqbal is a specialist in computer sciences. He holds a Master's degree in computer science. He has 13 years experience with Drupal CMS, including writing Drupal modules and themes. Iqbal has extensive experience creating dynamic websites using PHP, and is an expert in using classes and Object Oriented Programming in PHP. He is also adept at configuring Linux servers and installing PHP, Apache and MySQL.
Adam Sánchez (Technology Consultant)
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.
Rick de Satgé (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
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 (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
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 (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
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.
Nieves Zúñiga (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
Nieves Zúñiga is Land Portal's Country Research and Engagement Consultant for Latin America. She has more than 15 years of experience as a qualitative researcher on governance and has fieldwork experience in Latin America and Africa. In the last years she has worked on anti-corruption, including land corruption, for Transparency International Secretariat and during her post-doc at the University of Nottingham. She received her MA and PhD in Political Science form the University of Essex, in the UK. Previously she worked on democracy and indigenous demands for the Peace Research Center in Madrid. Nieves has a background in journalism. Currently she works as a consultant for a variety of organizations and institutions. She is originally from Spain and she lives in Berlin.
Salah Abukashawa (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
Salah is experienced in policy and strategy, governance, community – investor relationships, and informal settlement in the land sector. He worked in Sudan, Kenya, South Sudan, and Arab region. He led the GLTN land assessment for peaceful coexistence in Darfur, and contributed with DFID as an expert in studying the urban land nexus in African cities. He is editor-in-chief of the Quality Magazine. He is a consultant to assess the capacity of the Arab land professionals. Salah was born in Kalogy, Sudan. He holds a Master in Geoinformatics, and MA in international relations.
Marie Gagné(Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
Marie covers francophone West Africa as a Land Portal’s Country Research and Engagement Consultant. Her first encounter with Africa was in 2007 in Senegal, where she frequently travelled back with renewed interest and enthusiasm each time. Marie earned a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. She previously completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in sociology at Laval University, Quebec City. Her scholarly expertise focuses on land access, agricultural development, natural resource management, and food security. Marie also has extensive professional experience conducting policy research for rural development. She currently is a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University in Montreal.
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.
Israel Bionyi (Local Content Associate)
Award winning communications specialist and respected former journalist with a strong passion for the planet. Double master’s in Communications and Media and Public Relations from the Universities of Douala, Cameroon and Leicester, UK.
More than 7 years of career experience in international development and journalism. He won several awards for his work including the United Nations Media for Social Impact Leadership Council Award 2018, the Science Media Award and Summit Fellowship, the African Development Bank Energy and Climate Fellowship and the Haller Development Journalism Award 2015.
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:
Timothy Fella (Chair)
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.
Prof. Jaap Zevenbergen (Treasurer)
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.
Dr. Ritu Verma (Director)
Dr. Ritu Verma is an anthropologist, development scholar and civil engineer with almost 25 years of research experience on indigenous knowledge, climate change, wellbeing and natural resource management in East and Southern Africa, the Himalayas and the Pacific. Dr. Verma is principal researcher at the Tarayana Centre for Social Research and Development, associate professor at the College of Language and Culture Studies at the Royal University of Bhutan, and executive director of Out of the Box Research and Action. She has held senior research positions at CIAT, ICIMOD, PLAAS, CBS, ADB, carried out consultancies for IDRC, UNDP, FAO, IDS, NPA, among others, and published widely on issues of land rights, pastoralism, agriculture, gender equality, degrowth, development alternatives and decolonization.
Chris Addison (Director)
Chris Addison is a freelance development consultant He has worked in the ICT and knowledge management for development sector for over 20 years. He has helped various development organizations in online knowledge management. He is co-author of the Agriculture chapter of the OpenAIRE report. Most recently at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) he ran the blockchian and Data4Ag projects building evidence on the impacts of digitalisation for smallholder farmers. While at the International Food Policy Research Institute, he oversaw publishing the Global Hunger Index data as a linked open data and the development of the online data portals. He is British and currently based in Brussels.
Dr. Elizabeth Daley (Secretary)
Dr. Elizabeth Daley is a tenure specialist with a strong track record of research, publications and technical advisory work on land policy and administration. She is both a freelance consultant and a Principal Consultant of Mokoro Ltd, and leads Mokoro’s WOLTS project, focused on developing and testing strategies to strengthen gender-equitable land governance among mining-affected pastoralist communities. Dr. Daley has worked extensively on issues around large-scale land investments, customary tenure, and gendered aspects of land rights. She holds a BA(Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and an MSc and PhD in Development Studies from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
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.
Andreas Lange (Advisor)
Andreas is a Senior Adviser for Land Governance in the Division for Climate Change, Rural Development, Infrastructure in GIZ. He has more than 15 years of experience working on land tenure, land use, and local governance in Africa and Asia. He graduated from the University of Leipzig with a MA in Political Science and earned his PhD from Humboldt University of Berlin. Before joining GIZ in 2007, he has been working as a lecturer and researcher with Humboldt University and the University of Leipzig.
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.
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.