Securing Women’s Land Rights – Geospatial World

One of the essential elements of this project was the collaboration between Espaço Feminista, its network of community leaders and the municipal government. EF provided much-needed technical and legal support, while the government took the lead in data collection, engaging a team of 10 young people using the Cadasta platform for each household survey. The local partnership was the glue that enabled intentional and multi-sectoral efforts including community members, the notary’s office, international organizations like Cadasta and donors to contribute to the positive results. Mayor of Bonito, Gustavo Adolfo, said: “We embraced the cause, spared no effort, joined the legal staff and formed a team to go from house to house, from neighborhood to neighborhood, to make all records. Then we had the pleasure of entering into a partnership instead with Cadasta.

This model of multi-sector collaboration is what will exponentially expand women’s rights globally. In fact, Cadasta partners, working in urban and rural settings in 44 countries, have strengthened the rights of more than 5.5 million people on 20 million hectares in 3,400 communities. Using a common technology platform, partners can use appropriate data models and tools to collect, analyze, apply and share data that advances their goals of improving social and economic progress.

Strengthening women’s land rights for the 500 million women living in tenure insecurity around the world would have a transformational impact. Security of tenure significantly improves women’s empowerment, livelihoods and food security and enables them to create wealth and increase their autonomy, reduce the threat of domestic violence and elevate their role in the decision making. When rural communities gain secure land tenure, annual family income increases by 150%, agricultural production increases by 30%, teenage pregnancies are halved, and school completion rates double.

Our experience demonstrates that multi-sectoral partnerships, appropriate technology and real investment in creating community change are the “how” of women’s land rights. These success factors empower communities to dismantle gender-based discriminatory practices and advocate for lasting change. The high return on investment in realizing women’s land rights argues for a significant increase in investment from governments, philanthropy and the private sector. The geospatial sector has a role to play, given the need for geospatial imagery, mapping, surveying, data management and analysis, and long-term equitable land governance systems.

What we need now is targeted investment in proven models that achieve the SDG targets and enable women and their families to reap the benefits of more secure land and resource rights.

Amy Coughenour Betancourt

CEO, Cadasta Foundation ([email protected])

Cadasta is an award-winning non-profit organization that develops and promotes the use of simple digital tools and technologies to help partners share essential land rights and resource information. Betancourt also sits on the board of directors of Interaction, the first alliance of international NGOs working in humanitarian aid and development.

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