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Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land

by Rural Development Institute DBA Landesa
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Help rural farmers in Africa gain access to land
Emmanuel Urey hosts a weekly radio program on land
Emmanuel Urey hosts a weekly radio program on land

As is often the case in legal reform, Landesa’s work in Liberia was far from over after the passage of the Liberia Land Rights Law in 2018. Since then, our teams in Liberia and the U.S. have worked diligently alongside national policymakers and community leaders to ensure that this ground-breaking law reaches all Liberians. Key to achieving this goal is building capacity within Liberia, from the higher levels of the bureaucracy to local communities to share information, answer questions, and provide guidance to rural and marginalized populations. Landesa is actively assisting the Liberian Land Authority (LLA) develop a gender integration strategy, hosting workshops for senior LLA staff on the importance of women’s land rights.

Landesa Liberia Country Representative Dr. Emmanuel Urey’s popular radio program, Land is Life, is reaching more listeners than ever as the show is now relayed to a station in the remote Bong County of northeastern Liberia. With a largely illiterate or semi-literate population, Dr. Urey’s program provides rural residents an engaging and accessible format to learn about the Land Rights Law and other developments in the land rights sector in Liberia.

On the other side of the continent, Landesa is hard at work in Zimbabwe where our team has submitted several recommendations at the request of the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) as that country seeks to revive its agricultural sector following decades of stagnation. Among the focuses of Landesa’s work in Zimbabwe is to understand the challenges faced by young farmers. Currently, the average age of farmers in Africa is 60, underscoring the importance of including youth in the discussion of agrarian reform and development. By working alongside civil society organizations and public bodies like the ZLC, Landesa is able to better understand the factors that discourage youth from engaging in agriculture and help bring those concerns to Zimbabwe’s land reform efforts.

Progress is being made in both these countries towards secure land rights for all women and men. Thank you for supporting Landesa’s work in Africa!

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Latifah stands in her papaya grove
Latifah stands in her papaya grove

Thank you for your support of secure land rights across Africa! As a land rights champion, you help Landesa continue to engage with national governments and local communities to ensure that all people have secure land rights, through which they can pull themselves and their communities out of poverty. Together, we have raised $6,378, more than 75% of our goal!

Land rights take many forms, from the right to purchase land to the right to inherit land, to the right to decide which crops to plant. For Latifah, inheritance rights have shaped her life and ability to thrive. After she and her husband divorced, Latifah knew she faced the prospect of being left landless. Fortunately, in Tanzania, women have the legal right to inherit land, which Latifah did upon her father’s passing. Six years later, she managed to develop that inheritance into a thriving orchard where she produces papaya, coconuts, and sugarcane that she can sell. With this new source of income, Latifah has been able to improve her living situation, including purchasing a new roof for her home. Latifah’s situation underscores the importance of equal land rights for both women and men: it’s not just economically beneficial; rather, it’s a requirement to ensure secure lives.

But Latifah’s situation, sadly, is not the norm in the region. Customary land tenure that often discriminates against women’s land inheritance, access, and control rights is used for 80% of African land holdings. For many, the promise of national laws has yet to materialize into meaningful practice. That’s why Landesa is committed to working with our partners to guarantee that all women and men have equity under the law and practice.

On the other side of the continent, Landesa is working to close this gap between laws and practice in Liberia, providing assistance to the Liberian Land Authority to ensure successful and complete implementation of the Liberia Land Rights Law. The success of this implementation will protect the rights of some 3 million Liberians who previously lacked secure land rights. This new land law will help women in Liberia enjoy the same benefits from land as Latifah, some 3,500 miles away in Kisarawe, Tanzania.

Thank you so much for your support for land rights across Africa. Together, we will continue to champion secure land rights for millions of the world’s poorest women and men, providing opportunity and promoting social justice. For additional updates on our work around the world, visit https://www.landesa.org and follow us on Instagram.

 

In Solidarity, 

Eleanor

Latifah holds a papaya harvested from her orchard
Latifah holds a papaya harvested from her orchard

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Asha in Vilabwa, Tanzania
Asha in Vilabwa, Tanzania

Thank you for your support of land rights work across Africa! As of June 2019, you are joined by 60 other donors and collectively you all have raised $6,278 to support this program. Your donation to this project is helping millions of rural households in Liberia, the DRC, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania get stronger rights to land. With secure rights to land, farmers can make climate-smart investments, communities are better able to resolve land-related conflicts, and families can boost their income by selling extra produce.

Spotlight on Asha:

In the village of Vilabwa in Tanzania, Asha told us about the importance of land titling for women in her community. After her husband died, Asha’s father-in-law allowed her to stay in her husband’s house. Asha has no documents or title to her land and relies on informal community recognition of her right to live there. But according to customs of the Zaramo tribe, if she remarries she could easily be forced off the land with no legal recourse—she has seen this happen to other women in her village.

In 2017, an electric company cut a mango tree near Asha’s house and it fell on the roof. Now the roof leaks, and while the village ward counselor has promised several times to help repair it, nothing has been done yet. Asha thinks if she had a land title, it would help her escalate the issue and find resolution sooner.

Landesa is working with local partners and the national government in Tanzania and elsewhere to ensure that women like Asha are recognized and respected as land owners.

Updates from Landesa in Africa:

  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Landesa has completed an analysis of the legal framework around women’s land rights to support our local partner, Mercy Corps.
  • In Liberia, Landesa staff conducted Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) trainings for local partners to help increase their capacity around developing Theories of Change and evaluating project successes. Our Liberia team also participated in a workshop with a coalition of other NGO’s who are working to implement the 2018 Land Rights Act which guaranteed rights of all Liberians to own and manage land for the first time in 170 years.
  • In Tanzania, Landesa has launched the pilot phase of a social enterprise project called the Social Licensing Platform. This online tool will facilitate connections between corporations and local CSO’s to guide responsible investments in land. After the pilot phase, this project will expand to other countries.
  • Tanzania Program Director, Dr. Monica Mhoja, was recently awarded the Bertha Challenge Fellowship, awarded to 10 activists around the world to support their work around land, housing, and justice.
  • In Zimbabwe, Landesa facilitated a five-day training for 38 members of the Zimbabwe Land Commission, 17 of whom were women, on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The training provided useful tools for ZLC members on various methods of mediation, land governance frameworks specific to Zimbabwe, and dispute resolutions ethics and simulations.

Thank you so much for your support for land rights across Africa. Together, we will continue to champion secure land rights for millions of the world’s poorest women and men, providing opportunity and promoting social justice. For additional updates on our work around the world, please, visit https://www.landesa.org or follow us on social media.

With gratitude,

Eleanor Trenary
Philanthropy Officer & Project Lead

Zimbabwe Officials at Conflict Training by Landesa
Zimbabwe Officials at Conflict Training by Landesa

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Community Theater in Liberia
Community Theater in Liberia

Dear Friends,

We continue to be humbled by the generous support from individuals like you to help the poorest families in the world gain secure land rights. As of March 1, we have raised over 75% of our $8,000 goal!

In Africa, 2019 is already shaping up to be an important year in the development of land rights. Across the continent, Landesa and our local partners continue to be at the forefront of developing pro-poor and gender-sensitive land governance laws, including the recently passed Liberia Land Rights Act, which returned land to the rural communities who depend on land for their livelihoods.

Spotlight on Lorpa

Lorpa lives in rural Liberia with her family. After her father’s passing, Lorpa inherited property, causing conflict with one of her brothers. Given strong biases toward male inheritance within traditional Liberian culture, Lorpa is unsure of her future on the land and very concerned about how she will provide for her five children. Through community dramas and awareness gatherings presented by Landesa and our local partner, DEN-L, Lorpa and others in the community are learning about land and inheritance rights. Lorpa is optimistic after learning more about the rights of women in her community, and across Liberia, and hopes that increasing awareness will “bring unity to my family so that everyone understands their rights to land.”

The impact of Landesa’s work extends far beyond Lorpa’s village. In other parts of the country, as well as across Africa, Landesa is committed to ensuring all families have secure land rights:

  • In Tanzania, Landesa recently began training government officials, civil society organizations, and paralegals on how to responsibly invest in land, using a guidebook developed by Landesa and now available in Swahili. These guidebooks each focus on a different audience—private companies, rural communities, and government officials—and provide valuable insight and best practices on land-based investments. This crucial resource helps stakeholders from each of these groups protect land rights for communities and smallholder farmers.
  • In Liberia, Landesa is working with our local implementing partners, Development Education Network-Liberia and the Foundation for Community Initiatives, to develop a host of resources to train and educate community members on the recently passed Liberia Land Rights Act and other laws that protect women’s land rights. These resources, presented in community-friendly mediums like songs and community theater, play an important role in changing norms around the rights of youth and women.
  • In Zimbabwe, Landesa staff prepared and presented a report on land dispute resolution strategies to the Zimbabwe Land Commission. The research, which analyzed 15 case studies from countries around the world, will help guide land conflict resolution training for the Zimbabwean government facilitated by Landesa later this year.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Landesa is working to support Mercy Corps in addressing land conflict issues as they arise through programs supporting small farmers, and is partnering closely with a local organization to raise awareness on women’s land rights on all levels as the country moves forward in developing a national land policy.

Thank you so much for your support for land rights across Africa. Together, we will continue to champion secure land rights for millions of the world’s poorest women and men, providing opportunity and promoting social justice. For additional updates on our work around the world, please, visit https://www.landesa.org or follow us on social media.

With gratitude,

Eleanor Trenary
Philanthropy Officer 

Lorpa, Liberian Farmer
Lorpa, Liberian Farmer

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Community members after a training, Liberia
Community members after a training, Liberia

Thank you for your generous support of Landesa’s Global Giving project! Since this project launched, nearly 60 other donors like you have pitched in to raise $3,785 to support land rights work in Africa. It is thanks to the generosity of our supporters that Landesa is able to be a global champion of secure land rights and engage with partners from all parts of society to develop impactful land reform. Over the past three months, our teams in Africa have been busy and we are pleased to share with you some recent accomplishments:

 

Liberia passes the Land Rights Act

In Liberia, Landesa’s staff celebrated several successes and milestones over the past three months. Chief among these accomplishments was the passage of the Land Rights Act by both houses of the Liberian legislature and subsequent signing into law by President George Weah in September. This bill codifies the direction set by a 2013 policy which included critical inputs from Landesa on customary tenure and women’s land rights. Since September, our team in Liberia has continued to facilitate community trainings, as well as produce a biweekly radio program centered on land rights, which has allowed information to be more easily disseminated to rural communities.

 

Women’s Land Rights Network Convenes in Tanzania

In October, alumni of Landesa’s Visiting Professional Program from sub-Saharan Africa and local women’s land rights practitioners from Tanzania met in Dar es Salaam to enhance existing partnerships, share knowledge, and develop joint advocacy initiatives. This was the second convening for the Women’s Land Rights Network, providing a crucial opportunity for in-person collaboration between women’s land tenure experts from across the continent.

 

New Opportunities in Zimbabwe

Following the first free elections in nearly 40 years, the government of Zimbabwe has pushed land reform to the top of policy agenda, asking Landesa to provide trainings on land dispute resolution and new land reforms. Landesa is very excited to be working with the Zimbabwe Land Commission to develop pro-poor and gender sensitive policies. Since the project launched in August, Landesa has overseen land administration study tours for Zimbabwean government officials in neighboring countries, and helped draft regulations to facilitate land dispute resolution.

 

Thank you so much for your support for land rights across Africa. For additional updates on all of Landesa’s projects around the world, please visit https://www.landesa.org or follow us on social media.

A group of farmers gathered in Kisangire, Tanzania
A group of farmers gathered in Kisangire, Tanzania
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Organization Information

Rural Development Institute DBA Landesa

Location: Seattle, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Landesa_Global
Project Leader:
Eleanor Trenary
Seattle, WA United States
$6,403 raised of $8,000 goal
 
62 donations
$1,597 to go
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