Spreading the Word on Land Rights in Liberia - November 19 Panel with Landesa
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Listen to our panel of land rights experts and social entrepreneurs from Landesa and Amplio discuss our exciting new partnership that is leveraging technology for legal empowerment in Liberia, with a focus on women's land rights. Using Talking Books designed by Amplio, Landesa’s team in Liberia is delivering critical information on land rights to remote communities in their own language. Together, we are reaching thousands of Liberians with essential knowledge about their legal rights to land.
Dr. Emmanuel Urey, Liberia Program Director, Landesa
Lindsay Dakan, Business Development Coordinator, Amplio
Constance Teage, Land Tenure Specialist, Landesa
Moderated by Margi McClung, Deputy Chief Program Officer, Landesa
On November 19, 2020, Amplio and Landesa presented a joint webinar to discuss our partnership in Liberia. Landesa is using the Amplio Talking Book to spread the word about the 2018 Land Rights Act in remote communities. The law guarantees ancestral land rights for millions of rural Liberians and promotes gender equality by enabling land rights to women. Emmanuel Urey, Liberia Program Director at Landesa, shared that the government hopes that clear land rights may help to prevent civil war, conserve biodiversity, and provide economic empowerment to rural communities.
The problem? There are several barriers to getting the information to Liberia's rural communities. Constance Teage, Land Tenure Specialist at Landesa, explained that poor road conditions, flooding, and COVID-19 restrictions make it difficult to reach communities. Rural areas lack internet and technology access, and many people do not have cell phones. Liberia has 16 different languages, and many areas have low literacy rates, so often resources are not inclusive of all citizens. Lastly, there are social norms that prevent women from accessing information or legal rights.
Amplio and Landesa have partnered to help the Liberian Land Authority distribute this critical information through Talking Books. So far, audio messages have been developed in three regional languages. Content includes information about women’s land rights, youth land rights, alternative dispute resolution, and where to find additional, specific resources. The program is using a household listening model—meaning the device is passed between households to accommodate social distancing.
In late summer, a pilot program of 170 Talking Books was so successful that Landesa ordered 700 additional devices. Constance shared that the community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and neighboring communities are even requesting Talking Books after hearing good reviews!
While still in the early stages, Landesa is hopeful that the program will cause positive behavior change. The long-term vision is for Liberia to manage land by local customs while complying with the new law in a socially inclusive and gender-equitable way.
Landesa is an international nonprofit organization that champions and works to secure land rights for millions of people living in poverty to provide opportunity and promote social justice. Learn more at Landesa.org.