Landesa's newsletter: Plotlines
Why I Joined Landesa

In my twenty-five years of human rights and development work, land has been a central issue. 
I have seen how critical land rights can be to indigenous communities, smallholder farmers, and impoverished women; and I have seen the threats and obstacles arrayed against them. I have come to appreciate how much of development depends upon secure land title -- livelihoods, health, political status. My interest in the powerful lever of land rights led me to join Landesa as its third CEO.

Since starting one month ago, I've been humbled by Landesa's talented, committed, and knowledgeable staff and impressed by our diverse and passionate partners and supporters. I'm looking forward to continued impact and scaled work in sub-Saharan Africa, China, and India. And I'm thankful for your support.

Chris Jochnick, President & CEO, Landesa

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Resolving Land Conflicts in Rwanda Through Community Dialogue

Community Resource Person Rose Ntabagenimana (right) facilitates a community dialogue in a village in Rwanda.

A dispute over land in a rural district in Rwanda left Beatrice and her five children homeless. Beatrice's husband chased her and their children from the house, threatening them with violence.

Conflict over land is commonplace in Rwanda, a small and densely populated country. A 2014 Landesa survey in two districts in Rwanda confirmed that Beatrice's experience was not uncommon. Two-thirds of local leaders interviewed reported that land disputes between a husband and wife have a severe impact on their community, while more than half indicated that such disputes were very difficult to resolve.

To help strengthen women's land rights and settle disputes peacefully, Landesa launched the Promoting Peace Project, a USAID-funded program that relies on National Women's Council members to educate communities about women's land rights and resolve disputes. Since the program started in May 2014 more than 250 disputes have been resolved. Beatrice and her family are one of those beneficiaries.

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Single Women Receive Pattas in Odisha

Landesa's partner, the state of Odisha continues to be a leader in promoting the empowerment of rural women. Last month alone, Odisha distributed pattas (land titles) in three separate ceremonies to hundreds of poor women. In the largest ceremony last month, 648 single women in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district received a title to their own plot of land -- a transformative resource in a state where 54 percent of rural households are landless, and only 3.3 percent of land is owned by women. The titles were distributed through the Women's Support Center, a program launched by Landesa to ensure that widowed, divorced, abandoned and unmarried women gain better access to land rights and other government services.

Learn how a land title improved the lives of a single mother and her daughter in West Bengal >>
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Promoting Global Leadership in Women's Land Rights

This month, seven women's rights leaders from sub-Saharan Africa, India, and China will arrive in Seattle to join Landesa's Women's Land Rights Visiting Professionals Program -- a program that seeks to cultivate a global network of dedicated women's land rights practitioners. Through six weeks of intensive learning and strategy sharing in Landesa's Seattle office, followed by continued mentorship and collaboration, the program enhances participants' capacity for strengthening women's land rights.

The seven professionals joining us in September are grassroots activists, leaders from large NGOs, policymakers, and academics from China, India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. They are the fourth cohort for the program, which is conducted in partnership with Resource Equity and with support from the Ford and River Star Foundations.

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What Do Women's Land Rights 
Look Like to You?

Twenty years ago, the Beijing Women's Conference established women's rights as human rights, and shined a spotlight on women's economic empowerment -- especially women's rights to own and inherit land. To celebrate how far we've come and consider how much we still need to do, Landesa is launching a 20-day social media campaign  to celebrate the progress the world has made during 20 years of strengthening land rights. From Friday, Sept. 4 through Wednesday, Sept. 23, Landesa is asking our followers on Twitter and Facebook:

What do women's land rights look like to YOU in words or images?

To join in conversation, share your thoughts with the hashtag #WomensLand. We'll track the conversation on our #WomensLand tagboard and use it as a springboard to encourage others to join in. Help us advocate for women's land rights in the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and tell us why women's land rights matter to you.

Learn more about the Women's Land campaign on our website >>
September 2015


Landesa in the News


World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum published a blog by Landesa Center for Women's Land Rights Director Tzili Mor, about gender equality and customary laws.


Modern Farmer featured the Girls Project in its Summer issue.


The Huffington Post featured Landesa as one of 250 must-follow Twitter feeds for food activists.


The Odisha Sun Times reported on the distribution of land titles to 57 single women in Ganjam district.


Devex published a blog by Sanjoy Patnaik, Landesa's India Country Director, about the need to count women in the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals.


The Land Coalition published a blog post about a convening on women's land rights in Brazil, co-sponsored by Landesa.

The New Indian Express reported on a patta ceremony in Odisha where 648 single women received land titles, facilitated by Landesa's Women Support Center program.


Take Part mentioned the work of Landesa and the importance of land rights as a key to ending global hunger.


The Hindu reported on a study conducted by Landesa that illuminated legal obstacles confronting Dalit families in Telangana.


Thomson Reuters Foundation shared a blog post about a convening in Tanzania on women's land rights and the Sustainable Development Goals, which was co-sponsored by Landesa.
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