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Land is  
 .
With land,
anything is possible

Imagine you and your family live in rural Kenya, and your land is where you plant potatoes to earn income for your children’s education. Or you are a widow in India, and your land upholds your social status and access to public benefits. Or perhaps you live in one of Cambodia’s many coastal communities and your land containing mangroves provides food and protects you from destructive cyclones.

Land offers a multitude of possibilities, yet without strong rights to your land, those possibilities are often out of reach. Secure land rights are an assurance for the future—offering peace of mind and the ability to use your land to shape your destiny. With strong rights to your land, you can fill in the blank with what land means to you.

At Landesa, we are honored to have assisted 720 million people in just the past five years on a path toward equitable and secure land rights. And each day our talented global team continues to cultivate opportunities to advance Landesa’s mission by helping millions more people. This is collaborative work, made possible through a global network of partners that understand the power and potential impact when land rights are secure.

These rights lay the groundwork for women advocating for gender justice, Indigenous Peoples protecting their forests and cultures, and coastal communities mitigating and adapting to climate change. We are proud to see the paths that open when land rights are secure.

Landesa’s name links the ideals of “land” and “destiny.” We invite you to explore our 2023 annual report and discover what some of those destinies look like, built from the ground up through strong and inclusive land rights.

Thank you for walking side by side with Landesa as we strive to be of ever greater service to those seeking secure land rights. We are humbled by the ardent support of our expanding community of friends, funders, and partners.

With gratitude,

Chris Jochnick, President & CEO
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OUR IMPACT

Our FY2023 programmatic impact
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400,000,000 women 
stand to benefit from stronger land rights thanks to our work.
01 people
received land literacy trainings and educational services from Landesa, empowering them to better protect and enjoy their rights to land.
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0

government officials, service providers, practitioners, and other key influencers received training and resources through Landesa to strengthen and protect land rights of the

0

  women and men they serve.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

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Land is home

In the absence of clear land ownership, large-scale rural land investments can breed conflict between investors and the communities who call the land home. Alongside efforts to strengthen land tenure systems, Landesa works with companies to encourage responsible land investments.

In a watershed victory for community land rights in sub-Saharan Africa, Landesa supported a forestry company to voluntarily return more than 14,000 hectares of land to three villages in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands. As part of its Community-Smart Consultation and Consent Project, supported by BHP Foundation, Landesa continues to work with these communities to strengthen local institutions and encourage long-term land use planning.

Land is security

Liberia’s Land Rights Act of 2018 cleared the path for millions of Liberians—whose customary land was previously unrecognized—to formally register their land as their own.

Landesa supports five communities through the multi-step land formalization process to obtain a deed for their 52,499 hectares of land. With a formal deed in hand, expected early next year, the communities can better avoid land-related conflict with neighbors, protect their resources from external exploitation, and use their land for economic development.

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Land is prosperity

In Kenya and Rwanda, Landesa is supporting efforts to equip millions of smallholder farmers with secure land rights through the innovative Agricultural Systems Change Initiative, a Co-Impact project in partnership with One Acre Fund.

After hiring expert staff and establishing an office in Kigali, Rwanda, Landesa received an invitation from the Government of Rwanda to support the drafting of a set of regulations around protection, conservation, and efficient use of land—a promising step in our efforts to strengthen gender-equitable land rights for Rwanda’s smallholder farmers.

Land is justice

When a woman has secure rights to land, she holds the potential of so much more—her agency and decision-making power, her household’s economic freedom, her community’s resilience to climate change and food insecurity. But around the world, unequal laws and discriminatory customs undermine women’s rights to land. Landesa takes a gender-transformative approach on the path to land and gender justice.

Since 2019, Landesa has served as Secretariat for Stand for Her Land (S4HL), a global campaign driving collective action on women’s land rights at grassroots, national, and global levels. 2023’s milestone achievements include:

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In Bangladesh, a coalition of local organizations hosted a national conference on women’s land rights, focused on inclusion of transgender women and implementation of international women’s rights treaties, marking the first time in Bangladesh that trans women advocated publicly for their rights to land.
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In Colombia, the S4HL coalition trained local women on decision-making and environmental protection strategies in a community whose access to land and clean drinking water has been impacted by a hydroelectric project. The training is an example of how S4HL invests in and empowers grassroots women as environmental defenders of their land and resource rights.
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In Ethiopia, S4HL developed an advocacy and communication strategy and conducted trainings for members on grassroot movement building. With Landesa’s support, Coalition members are also developing policy recommendations for the Government of Ethiopia at the intersection of women’s land rights and land restoration.
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In Senegal, the S4HL network is supporting women’s registration of land in a nationwide program supported by the World Bank. The network also provided training to journalists on issues related to women’s access to land.

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In Tanzania, S4HL coalition members facilitated land-related legal aid for more than 1,000 women. Landesa Tanzania is partnering with a leading pastoralist organization within the Tanzanian S4HL Coalition to produce critical materials on the benefits of strengthening women’s access to land and decision-making bodies.

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In Uganda, 44 grassroots women convened for an academy on organizing, engaging, and influencing land governance processes. At the national level, S4HL Uganda is advocating for gender equitable inheritance and family laws to help women more fully realize rights to land.

    S4HL is a global champion for gender-equitable land rights. Throughout 2023, S4HL called upon governments, donors, and institutions to advance grassroots women’s leadership on gender and climate policy and recognition of land rights for gender-just climate action. This included active engagement at convenings under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the 2023 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP28), as well as at the global Women Deliver Conference.

    In July, S4HL launched the Women’s Land Rights (WLR) Platform, a unique new resource for women and organizations to share and document their experiences, perspectives, and work to strengthen land rights—amplifying grassroots voices, increasing visibility, building strategic cohesion, and advancing collaboration among stakeholders.

    Land is livelihood

    Land is vital to livelihoods in Cambodia, where 16 million people live in rural areas and nearly half the workforce engages in agriculture. Yet poverty runs rampant across the country and insecure land rights inhibit smallholder farmers from making critical long-term investments in their land.

    Landesa supports land allocation efforts both directly and by building the capacity of local civil society groups. Fifty-seven Indigenous communities are now in the process of certifying their more than 100,000 acres of traditional forestland with assistance from Landesa and our partners. On the policy front, a groundbreaking provincial sub-decree developed with Landesa’s support opened the way for 50,000 families to formally register their lands and securely invest in their future, with similar efforts underway across the country.

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    Land is dignity

    Holding legal rights to land can elevate a woman’s social status in her household and community, strengthening her agency and self-esteem. Yet discriminatory gender stereotypes often impede women in rural India from updating their households’ formal land records, a requirement to secure their land rights.

    In India’s West Bengal State, Landesa works with the government to support a statewide network of women-led community groups that have delivered land literacy training to more than 2.8 million women in rural areas to date. This work has expanded to establishing Sangha Facilitation Centers (SFCs), in which women service providers offer land-related services to community members in rural areas. As of this year, 171 SFCs are delivering land services, strengthening land rights for rural families, and bolstering the entrepreneurial women service providers.

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    Land is  equality

    When women in rural China leave their parents' village to marry into another village or leave their husband's village after divorce, they can face exclusion from local agricultural collectives necessary for retaining rights to land.

    An estimated 432.9 million women nationwide saw stronger land rights when an amendment to China’s Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests took effect this year. Alongside local scholars and institutes, Landesa advocated for the amendment, which mandates equal rights to membership in agricultural collectives for women and men.

    Land is empowerment

    Inclusive control over land and natural resource decision-making are key to unlocking women’s powerful ability to confront the climate crisis.

    Landesa’s Women-Led Collective Advocacy for Climate Action project supports national coalitions in Bangladesh, Maldives, and Nepal to strengthen women’s land rights and develop strategies to build local climate resilience. By centering women and Indigenous Peoples in climate policy discussions and decision-making, this work advances gender equity and social inclusion as well as sustainable solutions in a region with extreme climate vulnerability and land inequity.

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    Land is resilience

    More than 73 million people depend on the Bay of Bengal’s and Southeast Asia’s coastal mangrove forests—forests that act as an irreplaceable carbon sink.

    Landesa’s Coastal Livelihoods and Mangroves Project strengthens coastal land rights and promotes policies in six countries to reduce overuse of mangrove resources and protect both community livelihoods and ecosystems indispensable to confronting climate change. This bold regional initiative seeks to mitigate nearly one billion metric tons of carbon. As part of these efforts, Landesa has worked closely with the Indonesian President and his advisors to highlight the importance of mangroves. This year, mangrove conservation emerged as the President’s top agricultural policy priority—an encouraging achievement for Landesa’s advocacy.

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    Land is peace

    Dr. Ohnmar Myo Aung, Landesa’s Director of Program Coordination in Myanmar, received the 2023 Saul A. Silverman Award from the International Organization Development Association in recognition of her land reform efforts amidst Myanmar’s protracted internal conflict.

    A leading expert on land reform in Myanmar, Dr. Ohnmar began working with Landesa in 2015 and has directed efforts that strengthened land rights for more than 35 million people, while simultaneously navigating high levels of uncertainty and personal risk.

    “Land is an essential part of daily life for millions of families in Myanmar. But it’s much more than a source of food, of livelihood, and a place to live. Secure land rights are at the root of equity, dignity, peace, and prosperity,” shares Dr. Ohnmar.

    home
    security
    prosperity
    justice
    livelihood
    dignity
    equality
    empowerment
    resilience
    peace
    home
    home
    security
    prosperity
    justice
    livelihood
    dignity
    equality
    empowerment
    resilience
    peace
    home
    security
    prosperity
    justice
    livelihood
    dignity
    equality
    empowerment
    resilience
    peace

    Media Highlights

    Check out some of Landesa's top news mentions from last year:
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    March 7, 2023
    Godfrey Massay was interviewed for an International Women’s Day article on global action for advancing and recognizing women in the quest for gender equality in land ownership.
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    May 17, 2023
    Zainab Salbi and Chris Jochnick underscore how women and girls are resilient agents of change – and that their potential to respond to all crises, from conflict to climate change, is accelerated when they enjoy secure rights to land.
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    July 19, 2023
    Beth Roberts and Eleanor Blomstrom explain how gender-equitable SRHR (sexual and reproductive health and rights) and land rights can unlock greater agency and accelerate climate action and justice.
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    July 21, 2023

    Shipra Deo explains how the conversation around land rights is incomplete without giving due consideration to dignity. “How [women] use the land, whether for livelihood or survival, is closely interlinked to an individual’s existence and dignity.”

    Read the article ->

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    Aug. 31, 2023
    Dr. Monica Mhoja shares examples of how women in Tanzania are investing in smart agriculture and more land. She speaks about how Stand for Her Land is organizing across countries and at the grassroots level to advocate and create opportunities for change.
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    Aug. 29, 2023
    Masalu Luhula explains how Landesa helped design the process and coordinate the land transfer in a case of responsible land-based investment, the “first of its kind in Tanzania where the investor decides to hand over land that they don’t use so that communities can make good use of it.”
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    Oct. 26, 2023
    Chris Jochnick discusses how strong land rights are a crucial prerequisite to the climate resilience and sustainable land management necessary to bolster food security and reach zero hunger.
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    Nov. 17, 2023

    Jennifer Brown calls for greater investment in rural land users as powerful change agents for mitigating climate disasters, as civil society representatives across Asia and Africa met in Dhaka this October to talk about the growing impact of climate change on land-based rural people. They crafted the ‘Dhaka Declaration,’ which calls on governments to center rural people, including women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples, in climate change policy.

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    Aug. 22, 2023
    Landesa was pleasantly amused to be included as a clue in The New Yorker’s Daily Crossword.
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      FINANCIALS

      FY2023 | July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023

      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.

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      Revenue Breakdown

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      Expenses Breakdown

      Functional Allocation
      of Expenses

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      Program Services by Area
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      OUR SUPPORTERS

      FY2023 | July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023
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      Thank you.
      With deep gratitude, we recognize the expanding community of donors, foundations, corporations, and government partners who helped advance Landesa’s mission and global impact in the past fiscal year.
      OVER $1 MILLION

      BHP Foundation

      BMZ

      Co-Impact

      US Department of State

      King Philanthropies

      MacKenzie Scott

      River Star Foundation

      $100,000 - $999,999

      af Jochnick Foundation

      Anonymous (1)

      David and Araceli Barclay

      California Community Foundation

      Dovetail Impact Foundation

      Ford Foundation

      Oak Foundation

      Robert Anthony Granieri

      Mastercard Foundation

      M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

      PACCAR International

      Julie and Paul Pottinger

      Rising Tide Foundation

      Swedish Postcode Foundation

      TetraTech

      Together Women Rise

      Vanguard Charitable

      Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

      Gavin and Susan Woods

      USAID

      $25,000 - $99,999

      Anonymous (1)

      Mary M. O’Malley Charitable Fund

      Fidelity Charitable

      Deonne Kahler and Janet Kahler

      Laura Lee Grace

      Vikesh and Kiran Mahendroo

      Manitou Fund

      Propel Capital

      Roy A. Hunt Foundation

      Schwab Charitable Fund

      Darshana Shanbhag and Dilip Wagle

      Stewardship Foundation

      The Seattle Foundation

      The Houssian Foundation

      $10,000 - $24,999

      James Cardillo and Patricia Kern-Cardillo

      Clif Family Foundation

      Alida and Christopher Latham

      Moccasin Lake Foundation

      Matthew and Ann Nimetz

      James and Gaye Pigott

      Lawrence Wilkinson and Mary Kay Magistad

      Sarah Williams

      World Bank

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      $5,000 - $9,999

      Alex McMillan Family Foundation

      Anonymous (1)

      Charles Schwab

      Brad Fresia and Allister D’Souza

      Jill Ford

      iF Social Impact Prize

      Lenny Lieberman

      Donna Moniz

      William and Sally Neukom

      Doug and Emilie Ogden

      Kathleen Pierce

      Ben Rohrbaugh

      $1,000 - $4,999

      Luciana Aquino-Hagedorn

      Virginia Baeten

      Beverly Barnett

      Judith E. Bendich

      Benevity Community Impact Fund

      David Bledsoe and Christine Pallier

      Laura Dail

      Leslie Decker

      Chris and Chrissie Drape

      Enterprise Holdings Foundation

      Jordin Ereth

      Fiduciary Trust Charitable

      Alison Gazarek

      Christine Grumm

      Michael Hirschhorn and Jimena Martinez

      Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg

      Parker Leonard Krasney

      Georgette McConnell

      Jennifer McFarlane

      JP Morgan Charitable Fund

      Nancy Morrison

      Eric and Julie Nelson

      Perkins Coie Foundation

      Katherine Plichta

      Jeff and Beverly Riedinger

      Tyler Roush

      Ronald and Elizabeth Sugameli

      Trinity Presbyterian Church

      Lowell Weiss and Kristin Thompson

      $500 - $999

      Adolf af Jochnick and Elizabeth Jochnick

      Anonymous (1)

      Maren Christensen

      Janet Curry

      Mimi Gardner Gates

      Good Today

      Irvine Hockaday

      Ping and Shirley Kiang

      Ruben Kraiem

      George and Beverly Martin

      Jennifer Potter

      Beth Roberts

      Steven Wick

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      $250 - $499

      Artisan Dental, LLC

      Kathy Bahmani

      Jacob Christensen

      Anne Daley

      Patrick and Cindy Dawson

      Jeremy and Sonja Dwyer

      GlobalGiving

      Casey Hanisko

      Elizabeth Horn

      Frederick Kaplan and Rosmeri Reinehr

      Robert and Andrea King

      Becky Leung

      Tahmina Martelly

      Robert Mitchell and Jill Walzer

      Ann Morrison

      Anne Nolan

      Douglas Reilly

      Julia Renouard

      Wendy Saenz Hood-Neufeld

      Scott Schang

      Mary Beth Seifert

      $100 - $249

      Amazon Smile Foundation

      Anonymous (5)

      Kathy Bahmani

      Thomas Brous

      Jennifer Butte-Dahl

      Marie Cooper

      Benjamin Chotzen and Carolyn Pinkett

      Kay and Howard Daniel

      Diane Dew

      Jennifer Duncan

      Peter Kelly

      Caitlin Kieran

      Janet King and Stephen Yeatman

      Marty Krasney

      Peter Krogh

      Jeanne Lundquist

      Lincoln Miller

      Jeff Newell

      Thy Nguyen

      Colleen O’Holleran

      Janet Peacey

      Katherine Plichta

      Constance Ralls

      Nancy Robinson

      Michael Rogers

      Briel Schmitz

      Margo Schneider

      Kenneth Scott and Carla Bernardes

      Shelly Shay

      Robin Taft

      Michael Vallance

      Judith Wirth

      Penny Yu

      Up to $99

      Anonymous (1)

      Hany Abdallah

      Joe and Julie Arko

      Rachel Charles

      James Cissell

      Kimberly Danner

      Sam and Kim Dawson

      Christie Diedrick

      Ron and Susan Dinning

      Radha Friedman

      Phillip Gladfelter

      Merissa Gremminger

      Gol Hoghooghi

      Erin Inclan

      Andrea Jagla

      Kristen Mitchell

      Ann Lewis

      Linda Low

      Line Nya Ngatchou

      Pledgeling Foundation

      Ry Ravenholt

      Judith Rose

      Sara Sandford

      Daniel and Joanne Shively

      Annette Slonim

      Paul Stephenson

      Lara Sukol

      Daryl and Jann Vhugen

      Joanne Walby

      Gail Yamada

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      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.

      Markus Adolfsson

      Kaleema Al-Nur

      Shamaprasad Bangalore

      Justin Browne

      Paul Bucciaglia

      Alex Counts

      Susan Drummond

      Jan Everman

      Antonio Hadlich

      David Harnsberger

      Sean Herring

      Elizabeth Horn

      Devala Janardan

      Deborah Krikun

      Dan Lavoie

      Shirisha Nampalli

      Terry Proctor

      Helen and Matthew Sernett

      Dipa Suri

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      Thank you for supporting Landesa.
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