Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
Sustainable Development

Expanding Community Rights Over Natural Resources

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The goal of this work is to improve the livelihood of rural poor through increased access to, and decision making on, natural resources.

The Challenge

Many of the world's poorest families live in rural areas that are not conducive to commercial agriculture. These households depend heavily on forests, grasslands, marginal farmland and other natural resources for their livelihoods.

In developing countries, these communities have gained ownership rights or secure access to nearly 25 percent of the total forest area. However, their access is often restricted by private interests and the failure of governments to develop policies that address their unique needs and potential.

Indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and women are disproportionately affected by these restrictions.

What We're Doing

We support the development of improved natural resource policies and programs that offer poor and marginalized groups more access and ownership over natural resources, along with greater influence in decision making on land-use planning and development.

To advance these goals, we partner at the global, national and regional levels with:

  • Think tanks
  • Grassroots organizations
  • Governments
  • Advocacy groups
  • Universities
  • Private companies

Read the Expanding Community Rights Over Natural Resources initiative Strategy (PDF) and our SmartComms Report (PDF) on the impact effective communications had on advancing select initiative strategy.

Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.

What We're Following




  • David Kaimowitz
  • Zongmin Li
  • Steve Rhee
  • Margaret A. Rugadya
  • Aurélio Vianna Jr.

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