Omidyar Network Awards $9 Million to Rural Development Institute

The Omidyar Network has announced a three-year, $9 million grant to the Seattle-based Rural Development Institute to help millions of people living in poverty secure land rights.

The grant will enable RDI to expand its existing programs in India, China, and sub-Saharan Africa as well as launch new projects through its Global Center for Women's Land Rights. In addition, RDI will hire experts in advocacy, communications, and development for its headquarters as well as experienced local leaders for its field offices.

This is RDI's second major grant from Omidyar; in 2008, the network invested $4.3 million to help the organization and local governments provide land to women in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The new initiative begins to extend equal land rights to women in rural India, who represent the majority of the country's agricultural labor force.

"RDI is at the forefront of a high-impact movement designed to create economic opportunity for the world's poorest people through land rights — just as microfinance has done through credit," said Omidyar Network managing partner Matt Bannick. "RDI is the cornerstone of our work in the sector because their approach has produced sustainable change for millions. Partnering with RDI, we plan to raise the awareness of property rights as a means to transform economies through individual opportunity."