Who we are | Land Portal

Who we are


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 who we are.


  • Core Team
  • Local Knowledge Engagement Network
  • Board of Directors
  • Policy Advisory Group
  • Technical Advisory Group

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  (Managing Director)
Rome, Italy

Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Coordinator

Laura is a specialist in information and  knowledge management for development with a passion for Open Data. She has substantial program management experience and during the last fifteen years, she has been responsible for kicking off, 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 15 years in Paris, France.



Erik Bennema
  (Administration and Finance Consultant)
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.



Romy Sato  (Research & Knowledge Lead)
Freiburg, Germany     

Romy brings over 20 years of expertise as a communications officer, researcher, and policy advisor, specializing in various aspects of rural development. Since 2014, she has focused on land governance issues, dedicating more than five years to coordinating the activities of the Global Donor Working Group on Land. In this role, she managed the Land Governance Programme Map, a comprehensive database cataloguing donor projects in land governance worldwide. Her professional journey includes contributions to organizations such as GIZ, FAO, CIFOR, and Embrapa. Originally from the Brazilian Amazon, Romy holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's in Environmental Governance.



Lilian Lee  (Communications Consultant)
Rome, Italy     

Lilian Lee

Lilian is a strategy consultant with more than 10 years experience supporting public, private, and civil society organizations in strategic communications, enterprise planning, and project management. She has worked with Deloitte Consulting in DC and civil society groups in Asia. Lilian is a former Fulbright Scholar and has a Master's degree from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.  



Charl-Thom Bayer  (Senior Land Information Specialist)

Charl-Thom Bayer

Charl-Thom is a specialist in land governance and administration with a background in land surveying and information systems design. He is a versatile and seasoned project coordinator with more than twenty years’ experience leading multinational teams and initiatives in pursuit of improved land governance and development. He is passionate about open data, knowledge diffusion and land administration. Prior to joining Land Portal, he worked as a Land Tenure Consultant and was Head of Department for Land and Property Science at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. He was born in Namibia and currently resides there.


Muhammad Iqbal (Web Developer)
Islamabad, Pakistan​     

Muhammad Iqbal

Iqbal is a specialist in computer sciences. He holds a Master's degree in computer science. He has 13 years experience with Drupal CMS, including writing Drupal modules and themes.  Iqbal has extensive experience creating dynamic websites using PHP, and is an expert in using classes  and Object Oriented Programming in PHP. He is also adept at configuring  Linux servers and installing PHP, Apache and MySQL. 



Habteab Kesete (Finance and Grant Monitoring officer)
Groningen, Netherlands          

Habteab Kesete

Habteab is a finance specialist with over 10 years experience of providing comperhensive high qualitycommercial, finance and accounting support services to business across east Africa within hotels, telecommunications, agriculture, financial services and government offices. Habteab has extensive experience with a number of different accounting programs. Habteab has a bachelor degree in accounting from Asmara University and Masters in International business studies-Interdisciplinary from Hanze University of Netherlands. Habteab is originally from Eritrea and resides in Netherlands.





Adam Sánchez  (Technology Consultant)
Grenoble, France     

Adam Sánchez  (Technology Officer)



Adam is a specialist in semantic web technologies, server administration, database administration, management of containerized applications, Big Data management, GIS and web development. He holds a PhD in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Grenoble in France. He has been a 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. 



Stacey Zammit  (Communications Consultant)
Montreal, Canada    

Stacey Zammit (Communications Officer)




Stacey is a communications consultant for the Land Portal Foundation. She has worked for the Land Portal since 2016. Her focus is on the land rights of indigenous and local communities.











Rick de Satgé  (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
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. 




Anne Hennings (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
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.



Dina Naguib (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA)

Dina Naguib

With 20 years in land administration and cadastral systems, Dina Naguib has worked at various levels, gaining insights into planning and implementation principles, especially in the Arab and MENA regions. As a project manager and global land consultant, she focuses on resource utilization and diverse development approaches, particularly in sustainable land governance. Dina, holding a master's in sustainable urban development and pursuing a Ph.D., contributes to international publications and conferences, emphasizing sustainable land tools, policy frameworks, and addressing regional challenges.


Nieves Zúñiga  (Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
Berlin, Germany

Nieves Zúñiga

Nieves Zúñiga is Land Portal's Country Research and Engagement Consultant for Latin America. She has more than 15 years of experience as a qualitative researcher on governance and has fieldwork experience in Latin America and Africa. In the last years she has worked on anti-corruption, including land corruption, for Transparency International Secretariat and during her post-doc at the University of Nottingham. She received her MA and PhD in Political Science form the University of Essex, in the UK. Previously she worked on democracy and indigenous demands for the Peace Research Center in Madrid. Nieves has a background in journalism. Currently she works as a consultant for a variety of organizations and institutions. She is originally from Spain and she lives in Berlin.




Marie Gagné(Country Research & Engagement Consultant)
Montreal, Canada

Marie Gagné

Marie covers francophone West Africa as a Land Portal’s Country Research and Engagement Consultant. Her first encounter with Africa was in 2007 in Senegal, where she frequently travelled back with renewed interest and enthusiasm each time. Marie earned a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. She previously completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in sociology at Laval University, Quebec City. Her scholarly expertise focuses on land access, agricultural development, natural resource management, and food security. Marie also has extensive professional experience conducting policy research for rural development. She currently is a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University in Montreal.



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.



Israel Bionyi (Local Content Associate)

Israel Bionyi

Award winning communications specialist and respected former journalist with a strong passion for the planet. Double master’s in Communications and Media and Public Relations from the Universities of Douala, Cameroon and Leicester, UK.
More than 7 years of career experience in international development and journalism. He won several awards for his work including the United Nations Media for Social Impact Leadership Council Award 2018, the Science Media Award and Summit Fellowship, the African Development Bank Energy and Climate Fellowship and the Haller Development Journalism Award 2015.



Diana Kyalo (Data Curator)

Diana Kyalo, Land Portal's data curator

Diana has over four years of experience in land administration across East and West Africa. She is passionate about supporting communities and marginalized groups in securing their land rights, believing it to be crucial for sustainable development and social justice. With expertise in both land administration and web development, Diana integrates digital tools into her projects. Currently based in Nairobi, Kenya, she works as a Data Curator Consultant, contributing to the Land Portal's open data strategy and Country Portfolios. Diana has worked for national land-related institutions in Kenya, as well as the UN Habitat, and currently is also engaged part-time with Cadasta Foundation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Land Administration from the Technical University of Kenya.


Luis Baquero (Data Curator)

Luis is a specialized consultant in cartography and data management and analysis. Since 2021, he has been curating statistical datasets and supporting content design and cartography production for the Land Portal. Luis has worked with humanitarian and development organisations on humanitarian needs assessments, community land tenure rights advocacy, legal activism, participatory mapping and biodiversity management. He holds a BSc in Ecology from the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia and is completing his MSc in Rural Development at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. His research analyses the labour dynamics of post-war contract farming in the Colombian Amazon, using mixed methods and critical agricultural studies approaches.

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:


Dr. Elizabeth Daley  (Chair)
Brisbane, Australia     

Elizabeth Daley

Dr. Elizabeth Daley is a land tenure specialist with a strong track record of research, publications and technical advisory work on land policy, governance and administration. She is both a freelance consultant and a Principal Consultant of Mokoro Ltd, and leads Mokoro’s global WOLTS project, focused on strengthening gender equity in the governance and management of land and other natural resources. Elizabeth has worked extensively on issues around customary tenure, pastoralism, large-scale land investments, and gendered aspects of land rights. She has a particular interest in community land rights issues for vulnerable and socially excluded groups. She holds a BA(Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and an MSc and PhD in Development Studies from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).




Prof. Jaap Zevenbergen  (Treasurer)
Enschede, The Netherlands     

Jaap Zevenbergen, University of Twente

Prof. Jaap Zevenbergen is a land surveyor and and a land lawyer who specializes in land tenure security and land administration. He co-authored many publications on those topics and acts as reviewer and editor for relevant papers as well. After many year at the Delft University of Technology he moved to the University of Twente in 2010, from where he sat on the board of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and Cadasta Foundation, next to his teaching and supervision. His MSc and PhD students come from all over the world, esp. from Africa and South-East Asia.



Dr. Richard Baldwin (Director)
Bristol, United Kingdom     

Richard Baldwin

Richard is a land administration specialist with almost three decades of experience working in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Richard has worked with many of the international development partners including UK DFID/FCDO, EU, UN, World Bank, MCC, USAID, GIZ, DANIDA, SIDA on strategic planning, business planning, programme design, evaluation, technical implementation and oversight in more than 30 countries worldwide. Recently, Richard’s work has focussed on sustainable financing for land registration, land administration and linkages of land markets with land governance as well as programme design, evaluation, oversight and developing academic / practitioner links. Richard holds Masters and PhD degrees in Geomatics as well as an MBA and is a Visiting Professor at University of the West of England (Bristol).



Dr. Cynthia Caron (Director)
Worcester, Massachusetts    

Cynthia Caron

Cynthia Caron is Associate Professor of International Development, Community and Environment at Clark University, USA.  Her research focuses on gender and agricultural labor, the gendered nature of land and natural resource access, and land tenure in the context of resettlement planning.  In addition to teaching classes on gender and the environment,  property rights, and climate change,  she regularly undertakes short-term consultancies.  In 2021, she worked with IOM on women's land rights programming in South Sudan. 



Laura Cunial (Director)
Amman, Jordan    

Laura Cunial

Laura Cunial has worked on housing, land, and property (HLP) rights in conflict and post-conflict situations such as Liberia, Kenya, Somalia, Vietnam, Syria, Honduras, and El Salvador and in countries hosting refugees such as Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Cote d’Ivoire. Currently, Laura is the Syria Crisis Legal Research Adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) Middle East regional office. In this position, she is leading research and analysis on HLP rights for displaced Syrians with a focus on access to justice, gender, durable solutions, and property restitution/compensation. From 2016 to 2019 she led NRC’s legal aid program in Syria. Laura is a member of the New York State Bar. She received her Bachelor’s degree in International Law from Trento University (Italy) and a Masters of Law from University of California - Hastings College of the Law (USA).


The Land Portal's Policy Advisory Group, composed of representatives of donors and founding organizations, provides continuity and stability to our organization. These are our advisors:


Chris Penrose Buckley (Advisor)
London, United Kingdom

Chris Penrose Buckley, Senior Land Policy Lead, United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID)

Chris is Senior Land Policy Lead at the UK’s Department for International Development and holds an MSc in rural development and agricultural economics from Imperial College London. Chris is an agriculture and rural development specialist with 19 years’ experience in smallholder agriculture, market development and natural resource management in Africa, Asia and Latin America.



Robert Lewis-Lettington (Advisor)
Nairobi, Kenya

Robert Lewis-Lettington

Robert Lewis-Lettington is Chief of the Urban Legislation Unit at UN-Habitat. Robert has twenty years professional experience, primarily working in multilateral processes and in providing technical assistance in policy formulation and legislative processes to a variety of partners. He leads the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) Secretariat.



Eva Hershaw (Advisor)
Rome, Italy

Eva Hershaw

Eva Hershaw is the Lead for Global Data and Land Monitoring at the International Land Coalition (ILC), where she is responsible for their data portfolio and the construction of land governance monitoring tool LANDex.  As part of her work at ILC, Eva is a co-chair of the the Alliance for Land, Indigenous and Environmental Defenders (ALLIED) and co-leads the ALLIED Data Working Group. 



Ward Anseeuw (Advisor)
Rome, Italy

 Ward Anseeuw

Dr. Ward Anseeuw, a development economist and policy analyst, is the Land Tenure Lead at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).  Previously he served a as aSenior Technical Specialist responsible for “Knowledge, Learning, Innovation and data” at the International Land Coalition (ILC). For  12 years he was seconded to the University of Pretoria as a senior research fellow to the Post-Graduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development and as the co-director of the Center for the Study of Governance Innovations (GovInn) – which he founded in 2012. Ward is originally from Rwanda and currently lives in Italy.



Alexander Strunck (Advisor)
Bonn, Germany

Alexander Strunck

Alexander Strunck is a geographer with a specialisation in land governance, urban development and spatial data system. His professional career started in peace and conflict research and switched to international development cooperation with work in the Middle East and Africa in 2014. At the moment he works as an advisor in the sectoral department of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) Bonn, Germany, where he develops new projects in the land governance sector.


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


Pascal Bekono (Advisor)
Yaounde, Cameroon

Pascal Bekono

Pascal Bekono is a Telecom & Computer engineer graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure Polytechnique de Yaounde, he works for the Government of Cameroon and he leads a NGO focused on SDG advocacy. He has conducted research projects on Open Data in several countries in Africa. He teaches Data Governance in higher education. For many years, he has been participating actively on Internet Governance with ICANN, DiploFoundation, European School on Internet Governance and Internet Society. 


Keitha Booth (Advisor)
Wellington, New Zealand

Keitha Booth

As an open data contractor for the Land Portal since 2021, Keitha Booth has co-authored  the Open Up Guide: open data for improved land governance, prepared open data assessments for SOLI reports for Namibia, Zambia. Zimbabwe, Senegal, Malawi, Botswana and Madagascar and is contributing to SOLI indicator discussions. Keitha is an Adjunct (Senior Research Fellow) in the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka. As Director of the NZ Open Government Information and Data programme she led work on New Zealand’s open government information and data policies. Since 2017 she has reviewed several National Action Plans for the Open Government Partnership and in 2022, she reviewed Taiwan’s National Action Plan. 


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.



Paulina Deschamps-Ramírez (Advisor)
Seattle, United States

Paulina Deschamps

Paulina Deschamps-Ramírez has over a decade of experience in environmental and social impact projects across corporate, government, and non-profit sectors in Mexico and the United States. Her work in Mexico focused on policy research and advocacy for community forest management. More recently, she led the development of the City of Seattle’s first open data and budget transparency portal that allows users to track spending and learn about the impact of the American Rescue Plan Act funds (nearly $300 million of federal pandemic aid). She has an MSc in Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford. Originally from Mexico City, she currently lives in Seattle, WA.

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.


Tim Fella (Advisor)
Washington, DC, United States

Tim Fella has been with Esri for 7 years, where he leads international business in support of national mapping, official statistics, and land administration. Prior to Esri, Mr. Fella led new business development and consulting for the land and natural resources sectors at Indufor North America. Before this, he spent 10 years between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and USAID where he led the design, management, and evaluation of land administration reform projects in more than 20 countries across Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Mr. Fella has a MA in Social Sciences for International Development and BA in International Relations.  

Rolf  Kleef (Advisor)
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Rolf Kleef

Rolf Kleef is an independent consultant, trainer, facilitator, and developer on online collaboration and open data in civil society, with a focus on making people, processes, and innovative technologies work together.  He graduated in computer science (information systems and knowledge engineering), and has been working with networks of NGOs and public institutions active in international development and global environmental issues since 1994. Since 2011, he has been involved with IATI, the International Aid Transparency Initiative, as Technical Advisory Group member,  and as developer of data publishing and data quality feedback tools.


Juan Pane (Advisor)
Asunción, Paraguay

Juan Pane

Juan Pane is the Chief Innovation Officer at Centro de Desarrollo Sostenible (Center for Sustainable Development) in Paraguay. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Trento – Italy and a Computer Engineering degree from the National University of Asunción – Paraguay. He works as a consultant in the field of Open Data, Public Procurement, Data Standards and Transparency for the World Bank, USAID, IDB, OAS and PAHO in Paraguay. He designed the transparency initiatives and open data portals in Paraguay for the Ministries of Health, Education, the Treasury Department, the National Procurement office, among others. He is an expert in the Open Contracting Data Standard and has 9 years of experience in the implementation of the standard in Latin America. He also developed health related data standards for Dengue, COVID and Public Procurement of Medicine and Drugs. He is a lecturer and researcher for Open Data related topics at the National University of Asunción - Paraguay. 



Valeria Pesce (Advisor)
Rome, Italy

Valeria Pesce (Advisor)


Valeria Pesce is currently Semantic Web Specialist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and was previously project manager at the Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR) for 13 years. She is also an Ambassador for the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative.
She has worked for more than 15 years in the areas of information management, semantic web, data sharing, data standardization and more recently data policies, especially concerning agri-food data. She has coordinated work packages and activities in international projects on agri-food data standardization.


Mike Powell (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.


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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