Who we are | Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data

The Land Portal Foundation was established to create, curate and disseminate land governance information by fostering an inclusive and accessible data landscape. Over the last decade, the portal has evolved from a simple information gateway to become a knowledge broker, a resource base, a vibrant online community of users and a trusted voice within global land governance. This is what we do.

Behind the scenes of the Land Portal is an interdisciplinary team of experts committed to improving land governance through open-access data and cross-sectoral collaboration. Our combined knowledge, experience and passion means we are uniquely positioned to harness the potential of open data to build a democratic and inclusive information ecosystem on land. This is our team:


Laura Meggiolaro (Team Leader)
Rome, Italy

Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Coordinator

Laura has worked in the development sector for over fifteen years, implementing and leading a range of data, information and knowledge management initiatives focused on land rights. Prior to joining the Land Portal, Laura worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization, ActionAid International and the International Land Coalition among others. Laura holds Master’s degrees in Communications Science and on Economics for Development.


Neil Sorensen (Communications Specialist)
Paris, France

Neil Sorensen, Communications Specialist

Neil has extensive experience in leading communications for international organizations and of building relationships between civil society, donors, intergovernmental agencies, the media and the private sector. Before joining the Land Portal, Neil worked for the International Fund for Agriculture Development, the International Land Coalition and the International Federation of Agricultural Producers among others. Neil has a Master’s degree in Global Diplomacy and a Bachelor’s degree in German and Sociology. Neil was born and raised in Minnesota (US) and has lived for 12 years in Paris, France.



Carlos Tejo Alonso  (Data Officer)
Oviedo, Spain

Carlos Tejo Alonso, Data Officer

Carlos is an open data specialist with particular expertise in semantic web technologies, computer science, human-computer interaction and networking. Prior to joining the Land Portal, Carlos worked for the Fundación CTIC as a researcher in the Semantic Technologies Unit and has participated in various research and development initiatives across Europe. Carlos has a Master’s degree in Engineering and Computing Science.



Stacey Zammit  (Communications Officer)
Montreal, Canada

Stacey Zammit (Communications Officer)

Stacey is a communications specialist with particular experience in natural resource management and peace-building processes. Prior to joining the Land Portal, Stacey worked for the International Land Coalition and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Stacey is currently a graduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies.



Silvina Rusinek  (Web Manager)
Barcelona, Spain

Silvina Rusinek, Web Manager

Silvina is a specialist in computer sciences, communications and graphic design with over 20 years experience of working on a range of web design, development and management initiatives. Silvina has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and has completed courses in graphic design, social communication, audiovisual communication, librarianship and photography. Silvina is originally from Argentina, she speaks six languages and currently resides in Barcelona.



Erik Bennema  (Finances Officer)
Groningen, Netherlands     

Erik Bennema  (Finances Officer)

Erik is a finance specialist providing support and advice to various organizations and associations. He has a particular interest in land and agriculture, and provides legal advice on agricultural tenancy issues, landowners and tenanted farmers. Erik has a Master's degree in history and Bachelor's degree notarial law from the University of Groningen.




Adam Sánchez  (Technology Officer)
Grenoble, France     

Adam Sánchez  (Technology Officer)

Adam is a PhD student in Computer Science and a software engineer at the University of Grenoble Alpes, France. He is specialist in semantic web technologies, server administration, database administration, management of containerized applications, Big Data management, GIS and web development. He has been consultant for several projects and universities in Europe and Latin America over the last 10 years. Adam is originally from Peru and currently lives in France.



Rick de Satgé  (Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)
Cape Town, South Africa     

Dr. Rick de Satgé

Rick was born in Zimbabwe and lives in Cape Town. Rick has over 40 years of experience in the land sector working in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. He is a former Director of Research and Collaborative Learning with Phuhlisani NPC, a leading South African land NGO, to which he remains affiliated as a Senior Research Associate. He currently curates www.knowledgebase.land  providing news and research links on land issues. He holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town. 



Daniel Hayward  (Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)
Bangkok, Thailand     

Daniel Hayward (Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)

Daniel Hayward works as an international development researcher, focused on land relations, agricultural value chains, gender, and migration. As well as working for Land Portal, Daniel is the project coordinator of the Mekong Land Research Forum at Chiang Mai University, and consultant for a variety of local and international NGOs and research institutes. He is from the UK, and presently moves between the Netherlands and Thailand.



Anne Hennings (Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)
Germany, South Africa, Sierra Leone

Anne Hennings (Local Knowledge Engagement Coordinator)

Anne Hennings has worked on land and resource related issues for over 10 years and holds a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies. She conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and Ethiopia with emphasis on contested land deals, community mobilization, gender and post-conflict dynamics. In addition to working for the Land Portal, Anne is a postdoc research fellow at the Peace Academy Rhineland-Palatinate and speaker of the working group “Nature, Resources, Conflicts”. Anne is from Germany, and presently commutes between Europe, South Africa and Sierra Leone.

Aaron Akinocho (Local Content Associate)

Aaron Akinocho (Local Content Associate)

Aaron Akinocho is a journalist. He has worked on agriculture and public management issues in Africa at www.agenceecofin.com . He’s passionate about development topics and has launched comprendre.media to explain the great challenges of this century to a wider public. 



Amanda Martinez (Local Content Associate)
Recife, Brazil

Amanda Martinez (Local Content Associate)

Amanda is a PhD Candidate in Urban Development at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil. Her areas of research are based on urban socio-spatial segregation, gender and urban planning, land rights and decolonial studies related to space production in Latin America. 

Sandra Apaza Lanyi (Local Content Associate)
Madrid, Spain

Sandra Apaza Lanyi (Local Content Associate)

Sandra is a communications specialist with focus on land and human rights. She is responsible for communications and knowledge management for International Land Coalition Latin America and the Carribean (LAC) and has worked with various public institutions, CSOs and research centers. She holds MA degrees in Socio-Cultural Analysis of Knowledge and Communication, and in Democratization and Development.  Originally from Peru with current residence in Spain, she speaks Spanish and English.


Board of Directors

The Land Portal Foundation is overseen by a board of directors. The board is comprised of leading experts in land, property rights and information management, who volunteer their time to support the work of the foundation. This is our board:


Prof. dr. L.C.A Verstappen (Chair)
Groningen, The Netherlands

 Leon Verstappen, Chair

Professor Leon Verstappen founded the International Alliance on Land Tenure and Administration where he leads a team of researchers working on land tenure. Prior to becoming a professor at the University of Groningen, Professor Verstappen completed his studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen and served at the Groningen Centre for Law and Governance.



Magdalena Anna Kropiwnicka (Director)
Kingston, Jamaica

Magdalena Kropiwnicka, Director

Magdalena Kropiwnicka is a food systems, land policy and women’s rights advisor with experience in governance, advocacy and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Before founding the independent consultancy Food and Climate, Ms.  Kropiwnicka has been a chair of the EU Working Group on Land, EU negotiator for VGGTs and  has for many years led ActionAid’s office in Rome.  She has worked on natural resources’ rights in Africa and Latin America, speaks five languages and holds M.A. International Relations / International Law and B.A. in Economics and in Political Science. She is currently based in Jamaica.


Timothy Fella  (Treasurer)
Washington DC, US     

Timothy Fella  (Treasurer)

Timothy Fella has over 12 years of experience of working on land tenure and land administration issues around the world. He is currently the Global Business Development Manager at the geographic information systems company ESRI, having previously worked at Indufor and USAID among others. Mr. Fella has a Master degree in Social Sciences for International Development and Bachelor degree in International Relations.



Dr. Ritu Verma  (Director)
Bangkok, Thailand     

Ritu Verma  (Director)

Dr. Ritu Verma is an anthropologist, international development expert and civil engineer with over 20 years of research focussed on indigenous knowledge, socio-cultural relations, human wellbeing and natural resource management. Dr. Verma is a senior researcher at the Tarayana Foundation and adjunct professor at the College of Language and Culture Studies. She has previously held senior research positions at CIAT, ICIMOD, PLAAS, CBS, RTC, and conducted work on land rights, pastoralism, natural resource management and gender equality for UNDP, FAO, IDS, among many others.




Technical Advisory Group

The Land Portal team is guided and supported by a Technical Advisory Group, comprising leading experts from diverse fields. These are our advisors:


Tim Davies (Advisor)
Portsmouth, United Kingdom

Tim Davies (Advisor)

Tim Davies is co-director of Practical Participation, research coordinator on open data for the World Wide Web Foundation and contributes to the AidInfo program at the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Tim has a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, a Master’s degree in Social Science of the Internet from Oxford Internet Institute, and is currently undertaking a PhD in Web Science at the University of Southampton, focused on the democratic impact of open data.



Paolo Groppo (Advisor)
Rome, Italy

Paolo Groppo (Advisor)

Paolo Groppo is a land tenure, conflict management and territorial development specialist, with over thirty years of experience around the world. Paolo works for the Food and Agriculture Organization, where he has served as editor of the Land Reform, Land Settlement and Cooperatives journal and sat on the Secretariat of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development. Paolo graduated in Agricultural Sciences at Padua University, and has received a post-graduate degree and a PhD in agronomy from Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon. 



Mike Powel (Advisor)
Alnwick, United Kingdom

Mike Powel (Advisor)

Mike Powell is an independent consultant focusing on establishing effective intermediaries between technology developers and ICT users in the development sector. Mike was formerly director of the IKM Emergent program, working on knowledge management in development.



Marcello De Maria (Advisor)
Reading, United Kingdom

Marcello De Maria, advisor

Marcello De Maria is a Postdoctoral Researcher based at the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development - University of Reading. He defended his PhD thesis titled 'Essays on the Economics of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions' and joined the TradeHub. He worked for a decade as freelance researcher and data analyst with a variety of NGOs, research institutes, national and international organisations. He is interested in land, institutional, trade and environmental economics. He is originally from Italy and resides in UK.



The Land Portal Foundation is a public benefit organization (ANBI) registered in the Netherlands (RSIN# 854330045), established on 8 September 2014. More information.

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