Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights

The Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights champions women’s secure access to land by providing resources and training that connects policymakers, researchers, and practitioners around the world. We pilot innovative solutions to secure women’s land rights and educate development experts about the gap between customary and institutional law. Our program goal is to build capacity to promote approaches that strengthen and secure women’s land rights through:

  • Strengthening women’s property rights in law and in practice in countries where we work, while closing the gap between customary and formal law.
  • Creating LandWise: A Women & Land Library that provides laws and other resources affecting women’s rights.
  • Growing a two-year fellowship program that trains and mentors new legal professionals on securing property rights for women.
  • Engaging professionals from the developing world to improve their ability to work on women’s land rights.

Why women’s land rights?

When women have secure rights to their land, they are better able to provide for their family’s needs – especially those of their children. Studies show the linkages when women have secure rights to land:

  • Family nutrition and health improves;
  • Women become less vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS;
  • HIV-positive women may be better able to cope with the consequences of AIDS;
  • Women may be less likely to be victims of domestic violence;
  • Children are more likely to receive an education and stay in school longer;
  • Women may have better access to micro-credit;
  • Women’s participation in household decision-making increases.

Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world. Often, they do not have secure rights to the land they farm and are denied equal rights to access, inherit, or own it. As a result, these women are at an increased risk of losing their source of food, income, and shelter should they lose their only link to the land they till:  husbands, fathers, or brothers taken by illness, violence, or migration.

From Our Blog

Jen Duncan

Women in Tanzania set for equal land rights – let’s make sure it happens

By Jen Duncan and Scholastica Haule This post first appeared in the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog on October 15, 2014. In a milestone for Tanzania, the country’s proposed new constitution provides women with equal rights to own and use land. …
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Melany Grout

5 girls who said NO to child marriage in West Bengal

This photo essay originally appeared on ONE.org. The Girls Project, a partnership between the government of West Bengal and Landesa, aims to keep girls in school and reduce their vulnerability to child marriage. More than 40,000 girls are currently participating in …
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Jen Duncan

Secure Land Rights for Rwanda’s Women are Critical for Families and the Nation

A recent report from Rwanda’s Department of Land and Mapping found that women, either individually or jointly, own most of the registered plots of land in the capital, Kigali. The Deputy Registrar of Land, Grace Nishimwe, was quoted by local …
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