Letter from the CEO

I’m delighted to report to you that this year, Landesa’s 120 staff around the world partnered with committed government officials from Kenya to India to China to help provide land rights for an estimated 500,000 families.

This impact at scale demonstrates the leveraged tools of law and policy.

But, in this annual report, I’d like to spotlight something even more extraordinary: what these beneficiaries, once among the poorest of the poor, can do once they have those land rights.

When poor families finally get a piece of land to call their own or title to the land they’ve farmed without any security for generations, they do the most miraculous things. And this year, we traveled back to villages, long after the ink has dried on families’ new titles, to capture on film how dramatically lives have changed.

We visited families in Rwanda who now have legal rights to their land and are using their increased income to keep their children in school, as highlighted in this video.

We met with families in India, spotlighted in this video, who are now pouring the returns from their kitchen gardens into home-grown college funds for their daughters.

We listened to communities in West Bengal as they described how they have become better stewards of the earth and now engage in sustainable farming, because the land they rely on is legally theirs. Hear their testimony on how they finally have the opportunity and incentive to think sustainably in this video.

“Though I have no education at all, and can't sign my name except with a thumb print, I am now sending all of my four daughters to school.”
– Draupadi Sabara, single mother, Odisha, India

And we heard from new landowners about how conflict is reduced when entire communities gain secure land rights. This increased stability allows families to turn their attention to building on and making the most of what they have instead of defending what they hold insecurely. Hear families from Andhra Pradesh share how they worry less about community strife now that they have legal control over their land.

In the Indian state of Karnataka, we were delighted to learn that families are finally able to provide their children with nutritious meals thanks to secure rights to a small plot of land, as highlighted in this video.

“Before getting this plot, my family income was not sufficient to meet both medical and food expenses at the same time.”
– Sarojamma, mother of four, Karnataka India

This confirms what we’ve
witnessed over the last
four decades: the poor
know how to climb out
of poverty, but they
need a tool—land.

And once they have that tool they use it to make strategic investments in their land and their family that break the generational cycle of poverty.

What’s more, we know how to partner with governments to give them this tool.

And with your support, we will continue to do so.

Because we know that hard-working, responsible people can be found all over the globe. Unfortunately, opportunities and incentives are not always as easily found.

As I write this letter to you, we have staff in Uganda, Kenya, Liberia, Ethiopia,
China, and India working with governments to change that – working to
provide opportunity through land rights. And we have seen poor families
capitalize on that opportunity – again and again and again.

With your support, we can help reach millions more.

Tim Hanstad
President and CEO