This month marks the third anniversary of the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights (“the Center”), an initiative of Landesa focused on strengthening land rights for women around the world. Securing women’s rights to land is essential to addressing global poverty and hunger; when women have secure rights to land and the income from that land, they spend that income on their families’ food, education, and health care, and they have the opportunity to rise out of poverty, as explained in our latest issue brief.

Landesa’s launch of the Center in 2009 ensured that Landesa placed a strategic emphasis on addressing the implications of our work from a gender perspective in China, India, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and Western Asia. In projects implemented in these areas, Center staff provide technical expertise and leadership on improving legal frameworks and addressing the gap between law and practice for women’s land rights.

Program highlights:

  • Helping develop a women’s land rights facilitation center in Odisha, India
  • Working with state officials to ensure that women’s names are now included on all “pattas” (titles) distributed in West Bengal
  • Piloting model approaches to promoting land rights for women and girls in Northern Uganda and India
  • Working with Landesa’s China team to ensure that women’s names are included on land documents
  • Providing land-related technical assistance to the governments of Liberia, Kenya, and Afghanistan

The Center also works to build global capacity in strengthening women’s land rights through programs that make information related to women’s land rights more accessible, train those who are committed to the discipline, and develop a global network of practitioners. These programs include:

  • A two-year Women’s Land Rights Fellowship Program, which trains and mentors new legal professionals on securing property rights for women in the developing world. Two fellows have completed the program and two more are currently in the program.
  • A Women’s Land Rights Visiting Professionals Program, which brings lawyers, activists, and government professionals from the developing world to Seattle for a six-week workshop designed to strengthen the professionals’ abilities to work on women’s land rights. The first group of visiting professionals from China, Tanzania, and Uganda have just completed their training in Seattle this month and have returned to their home countries with new skills to help them in their mission to advance women’s land rights.
  • LandWise, a free e-library that provides laws, information about customs, and other resources affecting women’s land rights globally.

For more information and to support this work, please read and share these helpful resources: Landesa’s Center for Women’s Land Rights home page, our five-page issue brief on women’s secure rights to land, or our infographic on closing the gender gap in land rights.