Secure land rights create safety in crises; 'Women, land, and data' by Tim Hanstad; Meet Constance Teage.
This newsletter was sent on Dec. 10, 2020
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Land is a safety net for many in rural communities – if they can access that right.
Donate today to strengthen land rights for women and families around the world.

Plotlines - Landesa's Monthly e-Newsletter

The safety net of land

Fisherfolk in Myanmar using a net

To be ready for difficult times, we create a safety net for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Should disaster strike, the net is there to catch us. People in rural areas around the globe are activating their safety nets - their land - and we at Landesa are helping to secure that land for their safety.

Here are just three of the hundreds of stories our teams around the world have noted since our world changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dolina & Dhanesh

Dhanesh and Dolina in their field
Like many of us, Dolina is working from home during the pandemic. However, her home - her land - is her work: Dolina is a farmer in Khoribari, India, and her work is helping her family stay strong during the current pandemic.

Dolina's husband Dhanesh lost his job in March due to COVID-19 restrictions, leaving the family without their primary source of income. Fortunately, through a Landesa-supported government program, Dolina's family received a small plot of land in 2018. Dolina and her husband are now working together and using the plot to grow more crops to sustain their family and earn a small income.


Daw Than Than Aye

Daw Than Than Aye

As COVID-19 attacked the health of communities and economies worldwide, Daw Than Than Aye found herself laid off in Yangon and living hand-to mouth with occasional work at restaurants. Just months ago, with Landesa’s help, her family in Ayeyarwady received a government allocation of 5 acres of paddy land that had been confiscated 30 years earlier. She returned home to her new farm to plant high value crops of watermelon, peas and beans while awaiting the paddy planting season, and the start of a new life.


Tultuli & Bhabatosh

Tultuli and Bhabatosh

In West Bengal, Tultuli and her husband Bhabatosh secured a small homestead in 2013 thanks to the work Landesa did in partnership with the government. The land provided some income while Bhabatosh took work in nearby Assam. He lost his job when the pandemic started, and his return home sparked the couple’s interest in working their land to see them through this downturn. Tultuli set up a small grocery shop, and they expect a good income from the lemon, ber and garlic they planted.

Secure land rights are woven into each of these successes. With Landesa’s support, Dolina, Daw Than, Tultuli and millions like them are weaving their own safety nets needed to weather the current storm.

You can help families around the globe build their safety nets with secure land rights to create a sustainable foundation for their families, communities, and countries.



Gender Equality: Women, Land, and Data

By Tim Hanstad, Landesa Co-Founder and Chandler Foundation CEO

A woman in Zambia holding her new land documents. Photo credit: Rena Singer
Photo Credit: A woman in Zambia holding her new land documents. Photo credit: Rena Singer

In recent months, supreme courts from India to Nigeria to Zimbabwe have issued historic opinions recognizing and strengthening women’s rights to land and property.

And while this is important and welcome progress, courts alone aren’t going to get us far enough, fast enough on this critical issue. Despite calls from advocacy groups, the necessary data to determine progress on SDG land-related targets (Goals 1, 2, 5 and 15) is not being systematically gathered.

Today, action is needed on several fronts and by multiple stakeholders. We need:

  • Data that centers on people and represents all people
  • Data that is actionable and accessible 
  • Data on land documents, but also on how people experience the systems that support land tenure
  • Data that acknowledges tracking only household heads or their opinions is insufficient and likely to yield biased results
  • See the full list

Closing a data gap may seem technocratic and boring. But the social and economic empowerment prospects of more than one billion largely poor women who lack secure, legal land and property rights hinges on the success of these efforts.


Landesa in the news

The Future of Earth logo

Rituals of marriage create untold suffering for millions of widows in India
Landesa’s Shipra Deo examines how rituals and customs in India uphold patriarchal norms that systematically deprive women and girls of joys in life.

The Standard logo

Youth challenges decades after fast-track land reform
Landesa’s Tizai Mauto contributed to an article in The Standard that examines youth land access in Zimbabwe in relation to financial resources, inputs, and restrictions on land subdivisions for youth smallholder farmers.

Asli Bbharat logo

महिला किसान – अधिकार और पहचान का इंतजार (Female Farmers - Waiting for rights and recognition)
असलीभारत (Real India) published an article by Manisha Ahlawat about the gender gap in land ownership in India, and how land ownership is tied to social and economic power.


Staff Spotlight: Constance Teage

Constance Teage is a Gender and Land Tenure Specialist based in Monrovia, Liberia. Constance joined Landesa in 2018.

Of what are you most proud during your time with Landesa?
Participating in revising regulations for the Land Rights Act makes me proud; to have a good law is wonderful, but if the implementation is poor then a good law can be useless. I also enjoy working to ensure that women, who have been marginalized for decades in Liberia’s land sector, are included in the Land Rights for Sustainable Development Project in a meaningful way. Every opportunity I get to educate or share with communities the processes for acquiring their land documents under the new law is exciting.



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