Since its founding in 2015, Cadasta’s goal has been to offer a simple, accessible technology solution for documenting the land and resource rights of the estimated 1 billion people in the world who are living on land for which they have no formal rights or ownership. These tenure insecure populations are left out of government land registry systems, which are top-down and lack the systems, staffing, and resources to reach marginalized communities. Cadasta’s mobile tools and cloud-based platform were created to fill this gap.
The data collected on the Cadasta platform often represents the first time these communities have digitally documented information on and evidence of land tenure, the occupants themselves, and the surrounding natural resources and features of their communities. With these data, communities are empowered to advocate for their property and resource rights, make planning and investment decisions, and to push forward efforts to increase their tenure security.
Many lessons were learned during Cadasta’s three-year startup phase. Perhaps the most significant is the need to achieve the ideal balance between building out new tools and using available technology. Another is the need to shift the focus from technology to addressing partner needs for training and support on the ground. We learned the importance of building networks and partnerships to drive scale, and finally, that we must remain agile and efficient in order to continually innovate for greater impact. These lessons led to strategic adjustments that increase the usability and impact of the Cadasta suite of tools. In 2019, we announced a new strategy to scale to more people, communities, and countries over the next three years and to strengthen our impact on land tenure security in communities and in the broader field of land rights and development.
Our goals are ambitious given the staggering number of communities and people living without tenure security. By the end of 2021, Cadasta will scale up partnerships to strengthen land, property, and resource rights for 8 million people on the Cadasta Platform in 30 countries by deploying the following four strategies: