How to Empower the World's Poor

The key to solving global poverty is possessing secure land and property tenure, according to this opinion piece. Having such security enables poor communities, even those here at home, to make demands from their governments.
November 29, 2008, 9am PST | Judy Chang
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"While experts debate how best to solve the international financial crisis, providing the world's poor with secure tenure to their home or land is a crucial global economic and social problem for which solutions already exist.

Recently, the U.S. mortgage crisis has squeezed many Americans who are struggling to stay in their homes, a struggle they share with 20 percent of the world's population. A full 80 percent of that population, however, has no legal documentation of their property rights or the legal right to stay in their homes.

The absence of clear, enforceable rules and the lack of a simple piece of paper, like a deed, are often roadblocks on the pathway from poverty to prosperity for the world's poor.

Secure tenure - the freedom to live without fear of eviction, the freedom of knowing that property rights are protected - matters not only for you, but also for these individuals, families and communities in the poorest corners of the world. Having a place to call home, or a piece of land to farm, or a place to start a business matters to the poor and non-poor alike, and all of us should have secure access to rights of use, ownership and transfer."

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Published on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 in Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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