In fiscal year 2012, we partnered with dedicated government officials in India, China, and Africa to help provide more than half a million poor families with more secure land rights. And we continued to champion the cause of women’s land rights in those core geographies.

half a million

Women and Land

Center for Women’s Land Rights

We’ve designed and launched an innovative pilot program in West Bengal, India, to provide girls with knowledge about land rights and agricultural skills. This empowering knowledge will improve girls’ status and value in their community. Already, 7,800 girls in 299 communities are participating and there is potential to expand this program significantly.

The first group of four women from China and Africa have graduated from our new Women’s Land Rights Visiting Professionals Program. They have since returned to their home countries with a new sense of purpose, as well as a new set of skills to help aid their work.

We’ve implemented a pilot project in northern Uganda to help women displaced by the country’s civil war gain stronger land rights. The pilot serves 250 women and its model is designed to be more broadly replicated in other communities.

Other Progress for Women

We’ve developed an innovative pilot project in Kenya that helps tribal elders, chiefs, teachers, women, and youth learn about provisions in the country’s new constitution that offer women unprecedented rights and protections including the right to own, inherit, and control land and other family resources. More than 1,700 people participated in project activities. Since the program began, an unprecedented numbers of girls have enrolled in secondary school; 14 women have been elected to serve, alongside men, as tribal elders, keeping peace and negotiating disputes within the community, and women are starting to gain land rights. We are seeking funding to expand this pilot to other areas of rural Kenya.

In the Indian state of Odisha, our partnership with local officials helped identify more than 55,000 poor women-headed households in one rural district of the state alone. Already dozens of these women have received land they can use to support their children.

“After a lifetime of insecurity, finally I am settled.”
– Hatu Pradhan, a widow, mother of two, and new land owner in Odisha, India.


Our partnerships with the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal helped more than 44,000 rural families obtain secure rights to a small plot of land that they can use to build a house, plant a kitchen garden, raise animals, and climb out of poverty.

In the state of Karnataka, our partnership with officials has helped 29,157 landless and destitute rural families obtain small plots of land they can use to build their first home.

In Andhra Pradesh, our partnership with the state helped train 3,000 government officers and 800 paralegals who then fanned out across the countryside to resolve conflicts over land for more than 390,000 poor rural families. Often, settling these conflicts gives families the confidence and opportunity to invest in their land to improve their harvests.

“This micro-plot provides in more space for our family… a small kitchen garden to supplement family nutrition and above all, a life with dignity!”
– Meera Sardar (32) recipient of a micro-plot in 2012 in West Bengal


Landesa continues to serve as a key advisor to high ranking officials in the central government as they craft changes to the nation’s land taking laws and procedures. These changes will help ensure that Chinese farmers, the majority of whom still live on less than $2 a day, gain secure land tenure and the opportunity to climb out of poverty.

Building on the momentum detailed in last year’s annual report, which noted another 2.6 million farming families benefiting from Landesa’s work in China, we expect to announce that many more of China’s farming families have gained secure land tenure when we complete our next national rural household survey in 2013.

On a local level, we have continued our support of China’s first land rights legal education center in Guangxi province. This past fiscal year, the center provided more than 9,050 farming families with important information about their land rights.

“There may be no more important issue facing the Chinese government than the social unrest that stems from government land takings.”
– Gao Yu, Landesa China Country Director


We’ve worked closely with the Government of Kenya as it develops foundational legislation governing land rights, land registration, and land administration, creating a new institutional framework that paves the way for greater tenure security for millions of Kenyans. This is a historic opportunity for Kenya to create key legislation that will, in part, determine the country’s trajectory and the ability of rural people to improve their lives.

We’ve developed an innovative pilot project in Kenya that is transforming a community. For a deeper understanding of the remarkable changes underway, watch this short video.

Our partnership with Haramaya University School of Law in Ethiopia continues to develop. This fiscal year, we helped the law school assess the impact of formalizing land rights in Oromia-Ethiopia’s largest state.