NEW YORK, September 26, 2012—Thomson Reuters software will document land rights in rural Bolivia as part of the country’s ongoing effort to regularize land ownership and quell land disputes.
Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian agency, is implementing the project to help a local non-governmental organization, Fundacion Tierra, capture the information needed to issue property titles to residents. Omidyar Network is supporting the 12-month pilot project.
“For generations, indigenous farming communities have occupied the mountainous lands near the capital, La Paz, but they have had limited legal means to prove the land they work or possess is rightfully theirs,” said Matthew Alexander, program director and Bolivia country representative for Mercy Corps. “Property titles will prevent their land from being taken in disputes and give landowners the ability to pass the land to their children, sell it, or use it as collateral. This, in effect, creates economic opportunities, stability, and a better quality of life.”
This pilot project will advance Bolivia’s plan, led by the Instituto Nacional de Refoma Agraria, to regularize land rights across the country.
“Rural communities and informal settlements often lack a formalized means and process to document their rights, making it difficult for them to improve their agricultural production,” said Peter Rabley, vice president for global business development in the Tax & Accounting business of Thomson Reuters. We’re pleased to provide our OpenTitle software and processes which provide an appropriate and sustainable set of proven tools that will help document and secure the community’s rights.”
Fundacion Tierra will work with local community members to use OpenTitle to record their property details. The software will be configured to use Fundacion Tierra’s methodology for data collection and dispute settlement as the base model for capturing and collating images and data to produce land and property rights maps.
Thomson Reuters has deployed property administration services in more than 40 countries, enabling governments to support sustainable growth, optimize revenue generation, and improve services to the public.
Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs approximately 60,000 people and operates in over 100 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges (symbol: TRI). For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $550 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives including financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, property rights, government transparency, consumer internet and mobile. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com.
Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve. Driven by local needs, programs provide communities in the world’s toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Mercy Corps’ worldwide team works in 41 countries to improve the lives of 19 million each year. Mercy Corps established Red Tierras in Bolivia to enhance the already existing community-titling process in the Altiplano region by developing a network and regional strategy to resolve land disputes and secure land tenure for indigenous and small-scale farmers. For more information, go to www.mercycorps.org or www.redtierras.org.
ThoughtWorks is a global IT consultancy with expertise in creating complex custom software using the latest technologies. ThoughtWorks employs 2000 + professionals to serve clients from offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, the UK and the US. ThoughtWorks’ Social Impact Program is a focused effort to build partnerships with world-changing social mission organizations. Visit social-impact.thoughtworks.com to learn more.
Fundación TIERRA is a Bolivian nongovernmental organization (NGO) committed to locally-driven sustainable development in rural populations of Bolivia. For over 20 years, Fundación TIERRA has worked in alliance with various organizations and institutions dedicated to development research and advocacy for land use and rights. Fundación TIERRA seeks to influence policy by building management and negotiation skills while promoting participation of indigenous organizations. For more information, go to http://www.ftierra.org/ft/.