Working towards greater community control over land, forests and natural resources

LIWG is looking for Consultant for the study on Woman Land Rights

Deadline of application: 21st April 2019

Send your application to:

Terms of reference

Mission: Women’s Land Rights in Laos – Understanding the context to better secure women’s land rights

Background and context of the study

The Land Information Working Group is a network of civil society organizations concerned about land issues in Laos. The LIWG supports open information sharing, and participatory and transparent decision-making processes related to land and natural resource use management. The LIWG operates under the umbrella of the iNGO Network (network of international NGOs in Laos) and nearly 40 different organizations, INGOs and NPAs, are represented in its Core Membership.

LIWG aims to conduct a study on Women Land Rights in Laos in 2019. On 29 November 2018, LIWG during a core members’ meeting facilitated a brainstorming session with its members about the aim of the study and issues known related to the topic (annex 1)

Women account for more than 50 percent of farmers in Laos. They are key players in improving household food security, yet their access to and control over land seem often more restricted than that of men. Moreover, the presence of women in land governance remains weak and consequently women’s voices might be hardly considered in decision-making about land and natural resources.

Overall there is a lack of knowledge about the situation of Women’s Land Rights in Laos and consequently rare are the practices to protect them. There are very few studies related to this topic and all are quite outdated. There are lots of perception that women’s land rights are not an issue as such since the current Land Law provides a provision for married women to have their name on the land certificate. Yet, while it seems that the situation for women’s land rights is more favorable in cities, it seems different in rural areas depending for instance on the customary rules of ethnic groups, awareness raising of government officials and communities etc.. Lots of questions arise in a context where the revision of the Land Law challenges women’s rights by removing the provision enabling them to access to land. Moreover, the land rights context might also evolve in the coming months and years with an upcoming titling project by the World Bank. The lack of knowledge about what is done in practice is also a concern especially when past studies point out the risk for women to see their socio-economic role challenged during the process of formalization of land rights. One could even wonder now how much women are actively involved in land management and what are the implications for women. The policy of the government on the ban of shifting cultivation might also be a risk for women and undermine their socio-economic role.

In this time of transition, LIWG has the sense that Women Land Rights in Laos must be better scrutinized in order to better understand the dynamics and issues related to it as well as to identify the risks to undermine these rights in practice. Therefore, advocacy to protect Women Land Rights will be better framed and addressed.

Main objective and key questions

Based on the LIWG brainstorming session and additional reflections on the topic, LIWG has defined the goal of the study as follows:

Goal: Understand how much women’s land rights are challenged in a context of agricultural transition and formalization of rights in rural areas of Laos

The study will thus:

  1. Look into the overall situation for women land rights in practice in Laos: how much communities and women understand the importance of women’s land rights and how they are practiced. How women are formally and informally actively part of the decision-making processes on land management? How do women use land? What are the dynamics in communities which allow or restrict women to have access to land? How much these rights are protected by women themselves? How women are affected by expropriation? What are the differential dynamics for women to access and control over land depending on their ethnicity especially when a village counts multiple ethnic groups?
  2. Understand the situation of women in the current context of agricultural transition (eradication of shifting cultivation, transition to monoculture and commercial agriculture): What are the evolution during the last 10 years for women to access to land? What are the implications of these changes for women’s land rights? Are there changes in their socio-economic role within the community and within their family? If yes, which ones? Are there any impacts on food security for the households/community? Are there any changes in the way women uses or plan to use land? How the evolution and changes have been affecting women in regards to their ethnic group ethnicity especially when a village counts multiple ethnic groups?
  3. Understand the risks for women’s land rights to be undermined during LUP processes and registration project: Would land registration provide more security to Women? Why? How these initiatives/project interact with customary rules? How are women actively part of these processes? How are their voices heard? What are the most significant challenges on women abilities to retain land access even if a land titling program underway? What are the safeguards to put in place to strengthen women’s land rights in rural areas? Are there any disparities between women due to their ethnicity especially when a village counts multiple ethnic groups?

The study will help 1) LIWG and other main stakeholders in the land sector (development partners, projects, government, policy makers, mass organizations) to better understand the situation of women’s land rights in rural areas and 2) help LIWG to better adjust its advocacy work to protect women land rights.

Outcomes of the study

The expected outcomes of the study are:

  1. Give an understanding of the legal framework for women having access to land
  2. The evolution of women’s land rights during this time of transition in Laos is explained
  3. The main issues and risks threatening women’s land rights in the rural areas of Laos are identified and explained
  4. LIWG is better equipped to conduct its advocacy work for the protection of women’s land rights
  5. Recommendations are provided to better secure women’s land rights in Laos

Study framework and methodology

Duration: The mission is estimated to represent 35 full work days and must be finalized by August 2019.

Location: Vientiane Capital and Northern, Central and Southern Provinces of Laos

The study will focus on rural areas and target different ethnic groups from different parts of the country. The study will associate LIWG members by targeting their geographical presence and associating them into the implementation of the study as much as possible.


  • LIWG and the consultant will select the geographical areas of the study at grassroots level by targeting as much as possible LIWG members’ location
  • Literature review
  • Interviews to government officials in Vientiane, main stakeholders in the land sector, LIWG members, local authorities, communities (women), and others
  • Field visits in selected geographical areas
  • A workshop targeting LIWG members will be held to present and discuss the main findings before the final report.
  • Another workshop targeting the main stakeholders in the land sector will be hold as well to present the study.
  • Report including stories

Consultancy team

The consultant will form a team with another partner as per the consultant’s convenience to support the work. In case of partnership, the consultant will have a lead role and will accompany the team until the finalization of the study.

Priority is placed on the consultant having expertise and primary knowledge on women rights and policies related to land in the Lao context. Strong analytical and strategy development skills are also required.


Outline of the report: The report should be roughly 30 pages. The report should contain the different elements mentioned below. All parts should be clearly distinguished from each other and be of sufficient quality.

  • Cover page, including Table of Contents and list of abbreviations
  • An executive summary that can be used as a document in its own right. It should include the major findings of the study and summarise conclusions and recommendations.
  • The report must contain 3 main parts answering the 3 main questions
  • Bibliography
  • Report annexes that include:
    • Terms of Reference
    • Anything else deemed relevant by the consultant during the study preparation process

The reporting style should be clear and accessible. References to sources used, such as interviews, literature, reports, etc. must be given.

Expression of interest

If you are interested in carrying out this evaluation, please send a Curriculum Vitae and a tender including the following elements:

  1. Evaluation proposal (3 pages maximum) including the methodology proposed to comply with the requirements of the evaluation.
  2. Detailed calendar of the evaluation (based on the work plan included in the workplan).
  3. Full budget presenting the costs for the evaluation. The budget presented should not exceed 20,000 USD.
  4. The Curriculum Vitae and the Tender have to be sent by email by the 21st April 2019 at the latest to the following address:

Contact Organization Person

Violaine Fourile     LIWG International Coordinator     

Address: Ban Phonthan Neua, Saysettha District, Vientiane Capital , Lao PDR

Annex 1: Notes from the brainstorming session with LIWG members

Different points were raised as follows:

  • Inheritance and land title
  • Awareness that land titling should include women: how far is it done and what is the understanding on the importance?
  • Understand better the current situation for advocacy messages and the upcoming World Bank messages.
  • Customary roles and women’s land rights?
  • Land Use Planning: how much did women actively participate in consultation and implementation? What are the implications for women? How women use the land? What is the access to land by women?
  • Shifting cultivation: How much do the recent changes have on women?
  • Data on land registration?
  • Involvement of the government in the study? Role of the government? Who to reach: MoNRE, NA, MoJ, MAF, LWU…? Which bodies work on Women’s land rights in communities? How much LWU supports women land rights? 
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