lens on the land

Secure access and rights to land is a critical factor for a life of peace and prosperity for rural people in most of the world. Such rights can be individual and/or collective. The phrase "secure land rights" refers to rights that are clearly defined, long-term, enforceable, appropriately transferrable, and socially and legally legitimate. (Click on an image to enlarge.)

Berta, a Rwandan widow and mother of eight proudly displays her newly issued documents showing that she owns her land.  The documents are so precious to her, she keeps them with her in the pocket of her skirt.

 Although women comprise an estimated 43% of the agricultural labor force around the world, women are typically denied equal rights to access, use, inherit, control, and own land. Landlessness is the number one predictor of poverty. 

Although women comprise an estimated 43% of the agricultural labor force around the world, women are typically denied equal rights to access, use, inherit, control, and own land. Landlessness is the number one predictor of poverty. 

 Consolata, with her son in tow, farm land that they lease from the government. 

Consolata, with her son in tow, farm land that they lease from the government. 

 In Darjeeling, India, women contribute the bulk of labor as tea pluckers on the tea estates. 

In Darjeeling, India, women contribute the bulk of labor as tea pluckers on the tea estates. 

 Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history due to the lingering effects of El Nino. In 2016, USAID provided $515.6 million in food aid to Ethiopian families, who pick up the food at the local government office. 

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst droughts in its history due to the lingering effects of El Nino. In 2016, USAID provided $515.6 million in food aid to Ethiopian families, who pick up the food at the local government office. 

in Andhra Pradesh, India, a group of formerly landless women display their new pattas (titles) showing that each owns one acre of land. The women had participated in a World Bank Land Purchase Program, which subsidized the purchase of land on the open market for landless women. The project required that the land be registered in the name of the woman only. 

Secure rights to land are a critical, but often overlooked, factor in achieving household food security and improved nutritional status. A woman in Kurnool, India sells her produce at the market.

Unclear land boundaries and gaps in the law can undermine land rights, leading to land disputes. Hale from Tigray, Ethiopia struggles through a land dispute with a neighboring town.

Although women comprise an estimated 43% of the agricultural labor force around the world, women are typically denied equal rights to access, use, inherit, control, and own land. Landlessness is the number one predictor of poverty.