Nearly 15 years of civil war left Liberia in disarray, with land rights at the center of the country’s chaos. Now, technology is helping to heal the war wounds and resolve the land crisis.
You can find the scraps of paper scattered throughout the Western African nation of Liberia. Some are piled in cardboard boxes in government offices from Monrovia to Buchanan. Some are tattered and folded. Some are creased until they practically fall apart at the touch. They’ve been yellowed by age, charred by fire and gnawed by rats.
They are deeds — records showing ownership of land plots. Many are decades old and barely readable. Some are highly detailed, describing surveyed kilometers and city blocks. Others are so sketchy that the only boundaries listed are rocks and trees.