My passion for land governance was fueled by the talks I had with communities, women, local authorities and NGOs in Burundi, Cameroon, Zambia, Senegal and Niger. Land has such great significance for those who work and live on it every day. It not only has economic, but also emotional value. Women, families and communities often derive their personal identity to a large extent from their lands. However, the right to farm a piece of land and to have control over that land is not always guaranteed. I therefore work hard for the land rights of these women, families and communities and help them in the fight for their land.
Gradually I learned how closely local and international issues and the Netherlands are connected to each other. To what extent the land rights of a female farmer in Cameroon are really respected is determined by many factors: by the land governance and the functioning of the government in Cameroon, by the land-related investments in the region where this farmer lives, by the trade agreements and Dutch policies that enable and stimulate these investments, and especially the ability of local women and communities to make their voices heard in policy debates.
Both ENDS puts these dynamics very firmly on the map and shows what is needed in Dutch and international policy to strengthen the power and the rights of local communities. That is why I find it so important to draw the bigger picture. That is what drives me, and what we do in the Fair Green and Global Alliance program.