The initial seeds of the Rights-LINK project (RL) project were sown in 2001, when Village Focus International (VFI) field staff observed that large-scale land acquisition, mainly agribusiness, was having profound impacts upon rural farming families in southern Lao PDR (Laos). Land-based investments continue to fuel Laos’ rapid economic growth, yet also threatens food and land tenure security of rural communities who depend on land and natural resources for their livelihoods. Weak governance and limited government regulation of investments, combined with communities’ lack of knowledge and information about land rights, has resulted in many rural farmers losing access and ownership of their land.
To address these challenges, the first RL project was launched in 2007. RL (Rights-Land, Information, Network, Knowledge) pioneered the rights-based approach to land issues in Laos, and continues to be a leader in the field of land rights, natural resource management, forestry, agriculture and rural livelihoods.