International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security

Landesa | Rural Development Institute

aka Landesa

Seattle, WA


Landesa champions and works to secure land rights for millions of the world's poorest, mostly rural women and men to provide opportunity and promote social justice.

Ruling Year


President & CEO

Mr. Chris Jochnick

Main Address

1424 Fourth Ave. Suite 300

Seattle, WA 98101 USA


Land, land rights, poverty, international, global, poverty alleviation, economic development, rural development, women's rights, China, India, Africa, law, policy, legal aid, girls, women, farmers, agriculture





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

International Human Rights (Q70)

Economic Development (S30)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Three-quarters of the world's poorest people live in rural areas where land is a key asset.

Of those people, more than a billion lack legal rights over the land they use to survive, causing entrenched poverty cycles to persist over generations.

Landesa works to advance durable land rights to bring transformational changes on a large scale. Secure land rights help create a stable foundation for other important development work – like literacy, clean water, and nutrition – to take hold for generations.

Landesa works at scale to create opportunities for the world's poorest to lift themselves out of poverty. We do this by working side by side with governments and other organizations to strengthen land rights for the landless poor – those 400 million women and 250 million men who lack either access to land or a secure stake in the land they farm.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Landesa in India

Landesa in Sub-Saharan Africa

Landesa in China

Landesa's Center for Women's Land Rights

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of people receiving formal land documents to secure their land rights.

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Context notes

In 2016, China adopted a nation-wide land registration accounting for the vast majority of beneficiaries. The results from 2017 were accomplished through government programs in five Indian states.

Number of key grassroots influencers with enhanced ability to promote land rights.

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Context notes

In 2017, this was accomplished through trainings for government officials, NGO professionals, and other key influencers in Tanzania, India, and Myanmar.

Number of people whose ability to enjoy and protect rights to land has been enhanced.

Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Context notes

Number of women and men whose ability to enjoy and protect rights to land. Progress achieved through land legal literacy and land related livelihood trainings in five Indian states.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

We envision a world free of poverty. We are committed to a future in which all women and men who depend on land for their livelihoods have secure, legal land rights – one of the most powerful tools for lifting oneself, one's family and one's community out of poverty.

Landesa plans to reach an additional 50 million by 2020.

In order to achieve our goal of reaching 50 million more people by 2020, we will work under four strategic pillars:

1) Working with governments to change policies that strengthen land rights for poor rural women and men: Landesa focuses on China, India, Myanmar, and Sub-Saharan Africa--where the majority of the world's rural poor live and governments are poised to embrace reforms. In Africa, for example, 90% of rural land is undocumented. In India, landlessness is the biggest predictor of poverty. In China, 100 million rural men and 170 million rural women lack secure land rights. And in Myanmar, after a historic political transition, 3/4 of citizens rely on agriculture and 1/2 of those are landless. To address these challenges, Landesa undertakes a combination of research, advocacy, technical assistance, and implementation support.

2) Developing and implementing approaches for strengthening women's land rights: Due to legal and cultural barriers, women are denied equal rights to land, though they make up 43% of agricultural laborers. Landesa is committed to strengthening women's land rights in our core geographies; creating and sharing innovative, scalable models; and enhancing global capacity around women's land rights.

3) Catalyzing a global movement for land rights: Given both the global need for and opportunity surrounding land rights, far more actors need to be engaged in working in the issue. Landesa collaborates with other organizations to elevate land rights on the global agenda, helps create standardized measures against which land rights can be measured, and builds land rights champions and the next generation of land rights experts.

4) Engaging with corporations to strengthen land rights for poor rural women and men: Increased global investment in land creates opportunities and risks--for companies and local communities. Landesa works with corporations to improve policies and practices around land-based investments and coordinate as allies to improve government policies to strengthen land rights.

Executing the programmatic strategy will require Landesa to continue to build internal capacity and evolve its organizational design as well as its programs. Landesa staff are committed to putting the mission first, collaborating with one another and with partners, and developing constructive and sustainable solutions. To ensure that it has the internal capacity and organizational design to execute the strategy, Landesa has planned investments in the following areas:

- Increasing organizational health. Landesa's ability to deliver on its strategy will require an improved ability to attract, retain, develop, motivate and sustain talented and committed individuals.

- Increasing “boots on the ground" capacity. Landesa's experience has shown us the importance of boots on the ground presence to optimally conduct advocacy, build networks, manage projects, and influence policy reform and implementation. Landesa solidifies its work in Africa with the recent opening of a Tanzania office. As the work in Myanmar continues to advance, Landesa has established an in country presence to ensure that the rural women and men of Myanmar benefit from a legal and policy framework that protects the rights of smallholder farmers, including ethnic minorities, throughout the country. Finally, in order to better help catalyze a global land rights movement, improve visibility, strengthen global advocacy, and increase funding, Landesa has established and staffed a Washington DC office.

- Strengthening research, monitoring, and evaluation. Landesa's ability to provide sound policy advice, assist governments and other stakeholders, and execute effective projects depends in large part on our ability to gather, analyze, and learn from data. Landesa will need to further develop our learning capacities, competencies and culture throughout the organization.

- Improving the linkages among offices. Improving performance within a unified but increasingly geographically dispersed global organization will require improved structures for communication, decision making and operational systems. These improvements will enhance cross-program and cross-team collaboration, help ensure program quality and consistency, provide greater clarity in performance measurement, and improve operational efficiency.

- Strengthening Landesa's ability to raise flexible revenue. All non-profits -require some amount of flexible revenue to pay for institutional infrastructure or overhead costs. For Landesa, a successful programmatic approach also depends on the ability to act nimbly to respond to changing political environments and opportunities within its focus countries and in new countries. Landesa will therefore need to adjust its fundraising approach to attract revenue that is not highly restricted.

By 2020, Landesa aims to reach an additional 50 million more people with secure land rights. Landesa tracks quarterly progress towards this goal on five indicators:

1. Number of national law or policy changes influenced by Landesa.
2. Number of people who stand to gain strong land rights from policy changes influenced by Landesa.
3. Number of people reached through legal awareness trainings provided by Landesa, or by Landesa-trained government officials.
4. Number of adult women and men who have gained legally secure land rights as a result of Landesa's influence.
5. Government funds allocated to pilot, implement, or scale land related efforts that Landesa advocated for or supported.

We have a dedicated Research, Monitoring & Evaluation (RME) team who work with program staff to establish baseline measures and ongoing metrics for new projects and programs. The findings of this research are then used to refine program models and revise recommendations to government and local partners.

Landesa is an international non-profit organization dedicated to securing land rights for rural poor around the world. Landesa sits at the nexus of one the worlds' most stubborn paradoxes: more than 75% of the world's poorest subsist on land in rural areas, yet most of these families lack any legal ownership over the land they till. Land is their most basic asset, providing shelter, food, income, social status, and security. And it is an essential foundation for other global development interventions to build upon.

Landesa's work began during the Vietnam War when law professor Roy Prosterman had a transformational idea. Prosterman believed that giving poor farmers ownership of the land they tilled would address root causes of the conflict -- poverty and instability. Soon, government officials asked Prosterman to advise them on land reforms. The "land to the tiller" initiative that Roy helped draft led to more than 1 million tenant farmers gaining secure rights to their land. It boosted rice production by 30% while Viet Cong recruitment decreased by 80%.

Prosterman was soon asked to help craft pro-poor land laws in Latin America, Pakistan, the Philippines, and dozens of other countries. In 1981, after more than a decade of successful land reform from within the University of Washington Law School, Prosterman formally launched what is now known as Landesa.

Since its founding, Landesa has partnered with governments in over 50 countries to secure land rights for more than 120 million families. Landesa has helped provide men, women, and children with the opportunity, incentive, assets, and security they need to overcome the barriers created by generational poverty and live healthier and more productive lives.

External Reviews



Landesa | Rural Development Institute

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?