Dear Cadasta Community and Friends,
As our days turn colder and darker in our part of the world this winter, it is a great time to think about preparing for the next season and what it will bring. During my first five months at Cadasta, we have been taking stock of who we are as an organization, assessing our strengths and weaknesses, and defining our greatest aspirations for impact. With these insights, we are preparing for our next season, during which we will launch Cadasta 2.0 and deepen our efforts to prepare for the scaling up of our tools and platform to benefit vulnerable communities worldwide.
This process has given us increased focus and understanding of our strategy, our positioning in the land ecosystem, and how we can best contribute to advancing land and resource rights globally. Cadasta offers practical, low-cost solutions in the face of burgeoning demand for land and natural resources that all too often ignores the rights of the most vulnerable people who live on, make their livelihoods from, and steward these resources.
During the International Land Coalition’s Global Land Forum in Bandung, Indonesia in September, I was able to connect with many of Cadasta’s partners and hear first-hand about how they are using our tools and services to advance their rights and advocacy efforts. It was heartening to hear from our colleagues about why Cadasta is a valuable partner.
John Samorai from the Ogiek People Development Program in Kenya, whose lands were legally recognized by the government in May of 2018, said about working with Cadasta: “Having their rights documented on a map endorses their rightful ownership. It protects the community in a big way. When they use data [on Cadasta’s platform] to advocate and engage with the government, they can use it to protect their land from any grabber. They can show, this is the extent you cannot go beyond, or these lands cannot be put in any other use that has not been agreed upon. The tool is very innovative and interesting and seems to be scalable to reach many communities around the world. The methods being used are still the old methods; but with Cadasta, we have new tools that are socially acceptable, equally effective and efficient.”
Another takeaway from Bandung was a clearer perspective on the land rights ecosystem, and how Cadasta can best add value. According to our partners, having an off- and online mobile application to gather data at the community and household levels as part of a community-driven process that includes women and other marginalized groups is a major benefit. Another is Cadasta’s platform that offers secure storage of data that they own and for which they control access. Finally, the ability to access state-of-the-art imagery for geospatial mapping with integrated data collection tools and training and tools on managing, analyzing, and reporting their land data are core benefits of the Cadasta platform that are highly valued.
Over the coming months, Cadasta will be preparing for our new season, which we will officially launch at an event on March 27, 2019 in Washington, D.C. to coincide with the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference. We invite all of you to attend this Cadasta 2.0 Launch event where we will share the highlights of our new strategy and platform and host a reception with our colleagues, partners, and friends. I look forward to meeting those of you I have not yet met and hearing your ideas about how we can partner together to increase our respective impact.
If you take time to reflect this winter on the transitions important to you and your organization, keep in mind the words of American author and motivational speaker, Jim George: “Transitions themselves are not the issue, but how well you respond to their challenges!”
With warm regards,
Amy Coughenour Betancourt