BlogField Focus Blog

Jun 14 2013

Small actions can lead to big impact

At Landesa, we see a future in which all who depend on land for their well-being have secure land rights – one of the most basic, powerful resources for lifting oneself and one’s family out of poverty.

We know that to achieve that goal, we must work on a global scale, partnering with governments, businesses, and NGOs to transform laws and institutions to achieve long-term impact.

We think of our work as opening doors. And we never lose sight of the individuals who then walk through those doors: the paralegal who travels the countryside helping Indian families gain title to the land they depend on, the mother who is using the profits from her farm to fund her children’s education, the farmer in China who is investing in developing an organic fruit orchard on their family’s land to help her family achieve a more prosperous future.

These women and men remind me that every one of us—whether a paralegal in India, a mother in Kenya, a father in the U.K., or a student in the United States–has the power to make our world a better place. And they’re why we recently launched a new project on Catapult, a crowdfunding platform dedicated to equality for women and girls.

Small actions—when supported by a broader global effort—can lead to real, meaningful change.

Your donation will help train and equip 30 paralegals, each of whom can in turn help 1,000 families each year obtain a land title or resolve disputes over their land. With 30 paralegals we can help 30,000 families gain stability and security—all for around a $3 investment per family.

Our work helps women like Kumra Makubai, a mother of three in rural Andhra Pradesh. Her family did not have legal title to the land they had farmed for generations.

So when a neighbor stole that land, her four brothers tried to get the land back by force and Kumra tried the courts.

All without success.

To survive, she and her brothers had to become day laborers, sometimes working on the very same fields that had been taken from them. They had to pull their children out of school because they needed them to labor in the fields to earn money for food.

Twenty years later, a legal aid program, designed and supported by the government of Andhra Pradesh and Landesa, has helped Kumra and her brothers—resolve their disputes and finally obtain clear title to their land.

“Today, I have got my land in my own hand. So I can focus on getting my granddaughter a good education,” said Kumra.

Helping women like Kumra gain legal control over land changes not only Kumra’s life, but can fundamentally change the entire family’s future.

We are proud to be sponsored in this work by Monique Villa, CEO of the Thompson Reuters Foundation, and Catapult curator. Villa wrote of her selections: “I chose to curate these projects because I believe that frontline action can forge solutions that enable women to take control of their lives.”

I too believe that these actions will empower men and women the world over to create change. We hope you’ll join us on the front lines.

To contribute to our project visit

Gregory Rake is India Country Director for Landesa, a global organization that partners with governments to help secure land rights of the poor. Follow us @Landesa_Global

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