Growing the field 

 A collaborative approach to change 

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Welcome to our 2022 Annual Report

Land rights are ascendant across the development sector. Movements addressing women’s empowerment, poverty, social justice, food security and climate change are all increasingly turning to land rights to strengthen their cause. In 2022, renowned philanthropist MacKenzie Scott joined these efforts by making an unprecedented $20 million investment in our work. Ms. Scott’s generous gift represents a profound endorsement of the power of land rights to improve the lives of women, men, and communities around the world.

This past year, Landesa greatly expanded its reach by cultivating partnerships in new countries in Africa and Asia and deepening work around women’s land rights, youth land rights, smallholder farmers, and climate change. In all of these efforts, Landesa has prioritized collaborations with national NGOs and grassroots organizations. These local groups and networks are essential to creating lasting change on the ground and represent the future of land rights advocacy.

Through its work as the Secretariat of the global campaign, Stand for Her Land, Landesa is helping to initiate, develop and support coalitions of local land rights advocates. Landesa and campaign partners have raised funds for country coalitions in Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, which are now working to ensure that millions of women can realize stronger land rights in their daily lives. In six adjoining countries from India to Indonesia, Landesa is working with national organizations and government actors to help secure the rights of communities to protect and regenerate their mangrove forests – critical to livelihoods and the broader cause of climate change. In Cambodia, Landesa is simultaneously advocating for national-level policy reforms, while providing institutional support and land rights guidance to almost a dozen local NGOs.

The gift from MacKenzie Scott will supercharge these efforts. Over the coming years, we aim to strengthen the field of land rights by building the evidence base, encouraging global actors to support land rights efforts, and working with a broader range of advocates to bolster their capacities and influence. In terms of impact, Landesa has set the goal of helping 400 million rural women realize the benefits of stronger land rights by 2027.

This report provides a look back at a watershed year for Landesa – and a look ahead to what’s on the horizon. Thank you for walking this journey with us.

Chris Jochnick, President & CEO



Collective advocacy furthers women’s land rights

Secure women’s land rights create a powerful ripple effect, with the potential to advance gender equality, economic empowerment, and climate resilience.

Landesa acts as Secretariat for Stand for Her Land (S4HL), the global campaign advancing women’s land rights through coalitions of grassroots women and women-led organizations. On International Women’s Day 2022, S4HL celebrated its Africa Regional Launch, adding national coalitions in Ethiopia, Senegal, and Uganda to join Tanzania on the continent. National coalition launches in Colombia and Bangladesh followed, with over 100 groups worldwide mobilizing for the campaign.

At the regional and global levels, S4HL helped put women’s land rights on the agenda at key advocacy moments, including the African Union’s mid-year meetings and at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27). At COP27, S4HL representatives helped surface gender-just climate action and women’s land rights in critical conversations about the global response to climate change.



    A regional initiative seeks to preserve sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems

    The coastal mangrove forest ecoregion swathing the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia is critical for both livelihoods—such as fisheries and non-timber forest products—and climate mitigation, storing over one billion metric tons of carbon. In 2022, Landesa launched the Coastal Livelihoods and Mangroves Project, an ambitious law and policy initiative within six countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand) that forms a contiguous stretch of ecoregion. The project will address laws and policies regarding forest tenure, land use planning, and climate mitigation and adaptation to protect 4.6 million hectares of mangrove forests and the more than 73 million people who rely on them. At the same time, Landesa is collaborating with the regional body ASEAN to offer policy recommendations, mutually reinforcing the country-level efforts.

      Land use planning driven by people, for people, the planet and prosperity

      Secure land rights are the bedrock for strengthening agriculture, advancing climate justice, and empowering rural communities. And who has a voice in decision-making on land use and access is a key component of equitable land management. In Tanzania, Landesa is supporting local efforts for community-centered land management, helping to ensure that all voices are heard – including women, youth, and others who are traditionally excluded from decision-making around land.

      In partnership with the Mufindi District Council and PELUM Tanzania, Landesa supported government land use planning efforts to promote rural development that places communities in the foreground in decision making. In 2022, the collaboration successfully delivered over 4,000 Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy to smallholder farmers in eastern Tanzania, in conjunction with land rights education, village land mapping, and inclusive land use planning processes. More than 45% of these certificates were issued to women, jointly or individually and more than 19% to youth, increasing their ownership and control over land, and the power to decide how their land is used.

      Landesa and partners encouraged communities to integrate climate resilience in land use plans, laying the groundwork for sustainable development in the face of climate shocks.

      I grow crops on the land I purchased. I raised enough money to start my own timber business. …  I have also employed some people who are growing maize for my family. By so doing, I have created employment opportunities [in the community]. So far, I have employed about 20 people in my projects.


        Innovative audio technology builds legal awareness in Liberian communities

        In 2018, Liberia adopted the Land Rights Act, widely considered to be one of the most progressive land rights reforms on the African continent. Full implementation of this landmark legislation is contingent on widespread awareness on rights and challenging social norms such as those that deny women their rights to land. The new land law, for the first time offered the legal base for 2-3 million Liberians who live in rural areas to formally register and secure legal recognition of their land.

        To increase access to legal information and education around the Land Rights Act in the face of low literacy rates in rural communities—particularly for women—Landesa collaborates with local organization DEN-L to circulate Amplio Talking Books, simple hand-held audio players with messages in local languages. Four hundred Talking Books are currently in circulation across 5 of Liberia’s 15 counties, offering messages on land rights in seven languages. Since 2020, over 41,275 Liberians have directly been reached through this program, having learned about the process to obtain land deeds, methods for land conflict resolution, and the importance of women’s land rights. Future topics will include sustainable land management and climate adaptation techniques, helping to promote more resilient livelihoods in the face of climate change.

          ON THE HORIZON
          Smallholder champions

          In no place are the challenges of extreme poverty and food insecurity more pronounced than in sub-Saharan Africa – particularly in rural areas, where agriculture is the backbone of the economy, but land rights are frequently undocumented and insecure. And women farmers are overrepresented among those experiencing poverty, in large part because of discriminatory social norms that undermine their rights to land.

          With the Agricultural Systems Change initiative, funded by Co-Impact, Landesa is partnering with One Acre Fund to transform food systems and create a more gender-equitable future for Africa’s smallholder farmers. In Kenya and Rwanda, Landesa will partner with government and other stakeholders to strengthen land rights for smallholder farmers, increase on-farm assets, and work to uproot social norms that deny women equal rights to land. These efforts will be led from new Landesa offices in Kenya and Rwanda and carried out by national teams of land and gender experts steeped in local contexts. In combination with access to improved seeds and other farm inputs, the program is expected to benefit nearly six million people across the two countries by 2025.

          Inclusive climate solutions

          Around the world, women and girls are disproportionately impacted by climate change. They’re also critical allies in the fight to arrest the climate crisis, because of their roles as stewards of land and natural resources. But without secure rights to land, they are greatly diminished in their potential to protect land and forests that are critical for climate mitigation, or to help their communities adapt to extreme weather, food insecurity, and other severe consequences of climate change.

          Landesa is working to spur regional collective action on climate change among women-led grassroots organizations in some of the most climate-vulnerable places in the world. The Women-led Collective Advocacy for Climate Action project, funded by the U.S. Department of State, will convene coalitions of women-focused organizations and develop national coalition climate strategies, with an emphasis on the role of women’s land rights to foster climate resilient communities in Bangladesh, Maldives, and Nepal. By centering climate action within women-led organizations, Landesa is putting the power to effect lasting change in the hands of those who are best positioned to act against climate change while fostering a regional network of climate activists.

          Youth land rights for future food system leaders

          In Ghana, aspiring young farmers face many barriers in accessing land – a trend that can be observed across much of the continent, where lack of land rights keep youth sidelined from working in agriculture. The consequences of this gap in land rights contribute to high youth unemployment, propel social unrest and migration, and weaken food systems.

          But with the right reforms to land rights, markets and changes to customary practices around who has the right to manage and access land, youth can be equipped with the tools and resources necessary to grow their livelihoods, increase access to decent jobs, improve food security, and transform agriculture across Africa. Landesa, in partnership with COLANDEF, a Ghanaian land rights NGO, is helping Ghana’s young farmers realize dignified employment through on-farm careers along value chains. Supported by the Mastercard Foundation, the project aims to improve land documentation and access as a pathway for strengthening and creating 1.3 million jobs for Ghanaian youth in agriculture and agriculture-adjacent opportunities by 2025, helping to usher in a new generation of African agri-preneurs.

          Creating a sense of belonging for women in Jharkhand and West Bengal

          The sense of not belonging is an all-too-common experience for women in India and, indeed, around the world. Patriarchal notions about land and inheritance serve to deny women of their rights to land in their birth homes. But women who marry are likewise treated as outsiders in their marital homes and are thus caught between two worlds, an outsider in both.

          In the state of Jharkhand in eastern India, Landesa is launching a new effort to strengthen the land rights of women living in Scheduled Tribe communities. The project builds upon Landesa's 2021 assessment that found persistent and widespread instances of social and legal barriers to land rights for women in the state. With continued funding from Oak Foundation, Landesa’s land and gender experts are applying what we’ve learned from our previous research into new programming designed to strengthen women’s land rights through better land governance and community sensitization and legal awareness.

          In West Bengal, the drive to promote women's land literacy through the network of women's self-help groups continued to gain momentum. With technical support provided by Landesa, the initiative reached an additional 500,000 rural women with education about their land rights and the benefits of secure land tenure and the recording of rights, bringing the total number of women reached to 2.1 million since the program began.

          As girls grow up, they keep hearing, ‘This is not your home, you will go one day to your [marital] home.’ But when she gets married, she realizes that the marital home is not hers either.

          OUR IMPACT

          Our FY2022 programmatic impact
          A total of
          2,000,000 people
          1,746,169 women + 337,584 men
          stand to benefit from stronger land rights thanks to our work.
          received land literacy trainings and educational services from Landesa, empowering them to better protect and enjoy their rights to land.
          government officials, service providers, practitioners and other key influencers received training and resources through Landesa to strengthen and protect land rights of the

            women and men they serve.

          2022 Media Highlights
          Check out some of Landesa's top news mentions from last year:
          Lifting the fog on climate change: Complex impacts need complex solutions
          Sep. 23, 2022
          Climate Change Program Director Rachel McMonagle is featured in a Seattle Times article about the importance of multi-pronged, systemic solutions to address the impacts of climate change.
          OPINION: Give land rights to youth to boost rural economies
          Feb. 11, 2022
          Landesa Sr. Youth and Land Tenure Specialist Tizai Mauto explains why youth land rights are key to revitalizing rural economies and creating job opportunities for millions of young people worldwide.
          Land Tenure: A cross-cutting solution for poverty, climate change, and women's rights
          Oct. 11, 2022
          Landesa Global Advocacy Director Esther Mwaura-Muiru writes that if we want to improve lives and alleviate poverty, achieve food security globally, and guarantee human rights and full dignity for all, we must invest in land rights for women.
          At COP27, a Call to Root Climate Action and Justice in Land Rights for Women and Rural Communities
          Nov. 4, 2022

          In Bangladesh’s Sundarbans, life revolves around coastal mangrove forests. But as climate change effects worsen, livelihoods are under threat. Landesa's Rachel McMonagle coauthored an article with ALRD's Moni Rowshan about what global actors can do amid the deepening climate crisis.

          Read the article ->

          Is Africa the next global breadbasket?
          Apr. 27, 2022
          Investment Monitor interviewed Margaret Rugadya about how smallholder land rights are key to developing a robust, productive agriculture sector across the African continent.
          Weathering the storm: Building resilience in the humanitarian sector
          Aug. 3, 2022
          Alongside fellow Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize recipients, Landesa’s Chris Jochnick and Shipra Deo discuss how humanitarian organizations can build resilience to address emerging crises.
          Why Do Women Farmers Still Lack Access to Agricultural Land Ownership?
          Jan. 21, 2022
          Shipra Deo, Landesa’s director for women’s land rights in India, talks about the hurdles women face to owning land on the Land of a Billion podcast.
            FY2022 | July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022

            Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States require Landesa to recognize the full amount of unconditional multi-year grants in the year in which they are awarded. Expenses, however, are recorded in the year they are incurred.

            OUR SUPPORTERS
            FY2022 | July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022
            Our work would not be possible without our supporters.
            Thank you to all of the individual donors, foundations, corporations, and partners who made contributions in FY2022 (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022).
            OVER $1 MILLION

            BHP Foundation



            Ford Foundation

            King Philanthropies

            MacKenzie Scott

            River Star Foundation

            US Dept of State

            $100,000 - $999,999

            af Jochnick Foundation

            Anonymous (1)

            David & Araceli Barclay

            California Community Foundation

            Dovetail Impact Foundation

            Fidelity Charitable

            M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

            Mastercard Foundation

            Moccasin Lake Foundation

            Oak Foundation

            James & Gaye Pigott

            Ronald B. Rankin Philanthropic Fund

            Rising Tide Foundation

            Schwab Charitable Fund

            Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

            $25,000 - $99,999

            Anonymous (2)

            Benevity Community Impact Fund

            EnCompass LLC

            Growald Climate Fund

            Ashley Hayden & Noah Kolman

            The Houssian Foundation

            Deonne & Janet Kahler

            Vikesh & Kiran Mahendroo

            Mary M. O'Malley Charitable Fund

            Millennium Challenge Corporation


            Propel Capital

            Darshana Shanbhag & Dilip Wagle

            Stewardship Foundation

            Patty Stonesifer



            $10,000 - $24,999

            James Cardillo & Patricia Kern-Cardillo

            Lenore Hanauer

            Phil Harvey

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            Marty Krasney

            Jennifer Potter

            Paul Silver


            $5,000 - $9,999

            Clif Family Foundation

            Randi Hedin

            Titi Liu & Eric Rosenblum

            William & Sally Neukom

            PCS Foundation

            Kathleen Pierce

            Jill Ruckelshaus

            Vanguard Charitable

            $1,000 - $4,999

            Anne Anderson

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            Virginia Baeten

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            Chris & Chrissie J. Drape

            Fiduciary Trust Foundation

            Diana Fletschner

            Bob Gomulkiewicz & Andrea Lairson

            Christine Grumm

            Serena Hamann

            Tim & Chitra Hanstad

            Adolf af Jochnick & Elizabeth Jochnick

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            Ruben Kraiem & Elizabeth Leiman Kraiem

            Ping Li

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            Michael Hirschhorn & Jimena Martinez

            Christian & Alfreda Murck

            Margaret Niles & Stephen Garratt

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            Mark Ruffo & Jared Baeten

            Margaret Stanley

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            $500 - $999

            Artisan Dental LLC

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            Good Today

            Global Giving

            Elizabeth Horn

            JP Morgan Charitable Fund

            Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg

            Heng-Pin & Shirley Kiang

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            Margie Lane

            Linda Low

            Rebekah Miller

            Eric and Julie Nelson

            Terry & Kathy Proctor

            Tamarack Randall

            Kristin Savage

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            Andrea Voytko


            $250 - $499

            Alice Adams

            Amazon Smile Foundation

            Jason Adkins

            Shauna Bennett

            Connie Celum

            Maikaru Douangluxay-Cloud

            Jill Ford

            Heather Gorman

            Libby Hart

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            Scott Schang

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            Washington State Combined Fund Drive

            Mark & Zuzana West

            $100 - $249

            Anonymous (5)

            Stephen & Kathleen Azevedo

            Kathleen & John Braico

            Adrianne Burns

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            Mark Jwayad

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            Rianna Moore, PhD 

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            Sugar Beet Food Co-Op

            Anthony Waldron

            Keri Watson

            Up to $99

            Bobbie Adams & Richard Kissel 

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            Jan Everman 

            Nancy & Terry Flajole 

            Maria Hearing 

            Reno Hechtman 

            Jennifer Hillyard 

            Lizzie Kling 

            Laurie B. Lippin 

            Piers Maddox 

            Tizai Mauto 

            Kristen Mitchell

            Network for Good 

            Gregory Nielsen 

            Rebecca J. Palley 

            Daniel Shively 

            Gerald A. Smith 

            Michael Smith

            Gardeners for Growth Monthly Donors
            We are especially grateful for the current members of Gardeners for Growth, Landesa’s monthly giving club. Their donations provide a consistent, stable foundation of support for Landesa’s global mission, allowing us to respond to opportunities to strengthen land rights as they arise.

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            Kaleema Al-Nur

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            Thomas Shattuck

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            Maria M. Zupan

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