Rachael Knight

Senior associate (law, economies and justice programme), Natural Resources

Rachael Knight's picture
Languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French (basic)

Specialist in community land protection and legal empowerment, with a strong focus on community land and natural resource governance.

Rachael helped to found Namati, a global legal empowerment organisation that helps disenfranchised communities to understand, use, and shape the law.

She created Namati’s Community Land Protection Program, then served as its director from 2012-17 and as its senior advisor from 2018-19. In this capacity, together with land rights advocates throughout Africa, she co-created an integrated model of community land protection that is now practiced around the world.

Previously, she was director of the International Development Law Organization’s Community Land Titling Initiative, and worked as a consultant for FAO from 2004 until the present; in this capacity she wrote “Statutory recognition of customary land rights in Africa: an investigation into best practices for law-making and implementation.” She has also written various books and guides for community land protection advocates and activists.


Community land protection; land dispute resolution; strengthening women’s land rights; community-driven ecosystem management and regeneration; learner-centred education design, legal empowerment, law-drafting

Before IIED

  • Senior advisor, Namati (2018-19)
  • Director, Namati (2012-17)
  • Director, International Development Law Organization’s Community Land Titling Initiative
  • Consultant, FAO (2004-19)


•    JD, University of California at Berkeley, School of Law (2005)
•    BA, Brown University (1999)

Current work

Supporting IIED’s law, economies and justice programme; researching inter-generational transfer of indigenous knowledge-based community conservation techniques