Landesa works to secure land rights for the world’s poorest people. We recognize that a majority of the world’s poorest 2.5 billion share two traits:
-They live in rural areas
-They don’t own the land they till
Landlessness is one of the best predictors of extreme poverty.
We believe structural problems deserve structural solutions. Without secure land rights, many important global development investments – education initiatives, micro-finance, global health work – lack sustainability and are more difficult to scale.
Originally founded as the Rural Development Institute (RDI), Landesa partners with developing countries to design and implement pro-poor land laws, policies, and programs that:
-Reduce poverty for individual families
-Promote economic growth for communities and countries
-Improve nutrition and health
-Encourage women’s empowerment
-Reduce and prevent violent conflict
-Foster environmental stewardship.
Landesa has worked to help secure land rights for more than 100 million families in more than 40 countries. Our current target geographies include India, China, and Sub-Saharan Africa. And we are also working on a smaller scale with partners in Russia and Kyrgyzstan.
WHAT WE DO
Efforts to help one landless family at a time are important. But Landesa’s work to advance durable land rights brings transformational changes, and helps other important development work – like literacy, clean water, and nutrition – to take hold for generations.
More than 75 percent of the world’s poorest families live in rural areas. But more than a billion still lack legal control over their own land, causing entrenched poverty cycles to persist over generations.
Landesa works with governments and other local organizations to create tailored approaches to expand land rights to the rural poor. Our work is by invitation, and ranges from short-term assignments to long-term engagements, and involves activities including:
-initial assessments to identify existing laws, policies and cultural conditions
-collaborating with public officials to adopt pro land policies
-assisting in implementation of new laws to benefit landless families
-monitoring and evaluating impact
Securing Land Rights: How We Work
Our work starts with research. Our land tenure experts venture into the fields to speak directly with poor farmers, especially those who are women. We work with government officials at all levels to develop new laws and programs after we’ve invested time researching existing laws and customs and their impact.
Our work often starts with an invitation from a country struggling with the task of creating opportunity and a better future for its poorest citizens. There are typically five steps to our engagement:
1. Field research to identify current conditions, laws, regulations, and policies and access cultural considerations
2. Develop and review proposed changes to laws, programs, and regulations
3. Educate public officials and the public about the changes necessary
4. Promote, plan, and assist in the adoption and implementation of these changes
5. Monitor and evaluate the implementation to learn from the process and recommend further changes and improvements where appropriate
Consulting Services: Capabilities & Expertise
Landesa’s fee-for-service practice focuses on the legal, policy, institutional, and educational issues of land tenure, land access, land market development, land conflicts, land acquisition and resettlement, and land registration systems.
Landesa employs a staff of more than 100 worldwide, including 23 senior land tenure specialists with legal, economic, gender and agricultural expertise, complimented by a professional staff with livelihood, natural resource management, economics, measurement and evaluation, sociology, and other expertise.
Landesa has offices in Seattle, Beijing, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, and Bangalore. We also employ a team of research assistants who provide legal research and writing support.
Landesa land tenure specialists are experienced in carrying out research to inform land tenure reform efforts, crafting a variety of land law and land-related institutional reforms, and supporting implementation of those reforms. Our work focuses primarily on rural and peri-urban contexts in developing and transitional economies.
Services include field assessments, institutional assessments, legislative drafting and policy advice, development of follow-on regulations and procedures, technical support for legal assistance, social impact studies, implementation planning, implementation monitoring, training, public education programs, and program design and management.
Elements of Landesa’s Work
-Field research to identify existing conditions and viable land laws/regulations/policies and administration.
-Develop pro-poor land related laws and regulations.
-Promote, plan, and assist in the adoption and implementation of, and provide financial support for the legal, institutional, and policy measures needed for successful land systems.
-Provide public awareness programs for professionals, government officials, and others so that all stakeholders become aware of new land laws and regulations and the rights and obligations.
-Monitor and evaluate implementation and results so as to learn from successes and make changes when appropriate.
Landesa land tenure specialists have experience in over 40 nations throughout Asia, the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, the Mid-East, Latin America, and Africa.
Landesa has gained this experience by carrying out fee-for-service assignments, grant-funded programs, and self-selected, private donor funded projects. In recent years, Landesa has successfully completed fee-for-service assignments for USAID, the World Bank, UNDP, UNFAO, and the ADB. Significant public sector grants have been obtained from USAID and the World Bank.
Private donor programs include ongoing efforts in China, India, Africa, and Russia. Landesa has also launched the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights, which is dedicated to developing a community of practice where different sectors can share resources, strategies and interventions and collaborate on shared solutions to strengthen women’s land rights.