Landesa and COVID-19:

Frequently Asked Questions

Landesa has made significant changes to its operations in response to COVID-19. These adjustments present both challenges and opportunities for our work.

What steps has Landesa taken to respond to and limit the transmission of COVID-19?

Landesa’s global staff are following all local and national protocols for social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. US-based and country offices have shifted to a work-from-home model. Our IT support and infrastructure has allowed us to smoothly manage the transition to work-from-home. Video-conferencing and workplace productivity software have helped us stay connected and to collaborate across teams and time zones, and have helped us facilitate meetings with our partners.

Has COVID-19 impacted Landesa’s ability to complete its work?

The disruptive nature of COVID-19 has created some uncertainty about our ability to meet near-term project deadlines and milestones. We are being pro-active in communicating to donors when we anticipate that a delay or missed target may occur. We are focusing on conserving resources and identifying efficiencies during the uncertain weeks ahead, so that we can preserve our strength and resilience to continue this important work.

What are some limitations imposed by COVID-19?

Our land experts rely on field research and assessments to analyze and measure progress toward land rights reforms and initiatives in the places where we work. Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have caused us to suspend field research activities. While field research is postponed, staff have shifted focus to desk research to deepen our understanding of the latest insights into the efficacy of land rights.

Is Landesa doing anything to help rural communities and partners respond to COVID-19?

We are examining ways that we can use our networks and capacity to assist our partners in government and civil society both to adapt to and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the places where we work:

  • In Liberia, we are using the platform of a nationally broadcast radio program to educate the public on health, hygiene and social-distancing measures to prevent the transmission of the virus.
  • In Tanzania, we are exploring ways to adapt a mobile application, Law On Your Palm, which connects rural women with access to legal services, to be used to share information about COVID-19.
  • In Myanmar, we have assisted the Forest Department in providing protective masks and gloves for use by department staff carrying out essential fieldwork. And we’ve assisted our partners in government and civil society in making their own transition to video-conferencing technology as staff begin to work from home.

What are some of the impacts of COVID-19 on land rights in the developing world?

The COVID-19 pandemic will have both immediate and long-term consequences for rural communities. Secure land rights will be essential for these communities to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic.

  • Secure land rights are foundational to security and stability in the developing world. During periods of economic upheaval and recession, it is even more critical that rural people have secure access to land and productive assets that can provide a source of livelihood.
  • Higher mortality rates from COVID-19 among males can endanger the land and inheritance rights of female heirs. Without legal and socially recognized rights, wives and daughters are at greater risk of being dispossessed of land in the event of the death of a husband, father, or other male relative.
  • The internal migration and immigration of laborers is a frequent pressure point on land management and administration systems in the developing world. This pressure can be compounded when local land offices are at reduced capacity or closed due to the threat of COVID-19.
  • Disruptions to agricultural activities could threaten food security in the developing world, and especially in countries that are net importers of food. Limits to global food supply could require countries to focus on domestic production, which stronger land rights can help facilitate.

Landesa and COVID-19: