How Landesa and DEN-L are using the Talking Book as a gender-responsive tool to advance land rights awareness and education in Liberia
Landesa, a global partner of Amplio, has won an iF Social Impact Prize for using Amplio Talking Books to advance rural land rights in Liberia. The prize is awarded by iF Design, an independent, global design institution.
Landesa's Liberia Talking Books program was one of 22 projects selected for the award out of nearly 1,200 submissions from 75 countries in 2022.
"The iF Design Award is considered one of the most prestigious design awards worldwide. Each year, they also award the Social Impact Prize for projects that contribute to solving the most urgent challenges of our time," shared Kylie Palzer, a foundation officer at Landesa.
“We are humbled and grateful for the recognition. The Liberia Talking Books project is one that we hold up as a great example of using innovation and technology to deliver land rights awareness and education to the last mile. It’s a unique effort in our portfolio, and it wouldn’t be possible without Amplio’s partnership."
In 2018, Liberia passed a comprehensive land reform bill that, for the first time in its history, formalized land rights for rural Liberians.
Land rights are crucial to rural communities that depend on access to land resources for their livelihoods and food security. Protecting the land rights of women and youth, who historically have been denied rights to land, is especially vital and has been proven to have a positive impact on the whole family and community.
Amplio has been partnering with Landesa since 2020, when Talking Books were first deployed as a way to overcome barriers such as low literacy and gender inequalities and to spread the word about land rights during the covid-19 pandemic.
For their award-winning project, Landesa and their local partner, Development Education Network-Liberia (DEN-L), used the Amplio Talking Book as a gender-responsive tool to build awareness and knowledge about the new land law and what it means for women and local communities. The audio content is recorded in seven local languages, making the information more accessible to women and rural communities, often with low literacy levels. Topics include alternative dispute resolution, community land rights, women’s land rights, and tribal certificates.
For Landesa's program, the Talking Books are distributed to households, allowing women and other community members to access clear and accurate information about their land rights when and where it's convenient. Users can replay messages as needed to help them remember key pieces of information or share with others. They can also record their questions and comments to share with the Landesa program team.
So far, Landesa and DEN-L have circulated Talking Books in five of Liberia’s 15 counties, reaching more than 41,000 people.
Feedback has been extremely positive—women report feeling a greater sense of empowerment and appreciation for their land rights.
To build on the success of their program, Landesa aims to double its distribution of Talking Books at future project sites. Increasing access to land rights education can empower women and youth to secure their land rights, promote access to justice, reduce conflict, and improve quality of life for all.
Ranked as one of the top NGOs in the world, Landesa works with governments and local organizations to secure legal land rights for the most vulnerable women and men around the world. Like Amplio, they are headquartered in Seattle. We acknowledge that our Seattle offices sit on unceded territory belonging to the Coast Salish peoples and remain grateful to the past and present Indigenous stewards of this land.