Myers headshot

Leland Fellow

Dan Myers

10th Class, 2019-2021

Dan Myers, a native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, graduated from the University of Denver in 2016 with a BA in International Studies. As an undergraduate researcher, Dan focused on formal and informal governance systems surrounding agricultural resources in East Africa. He received a Cherrington Global Scholars placement with SIT Study Abroad in Madagascar, where his capstone project centered on the socioeconomic and environmental factors underlying the erosion of norms and institutions underpinning the cattle economies of the Haute Matsiatra and Ihorombe regions. Dan also received a Partners in Scholarship grant to study hyperlocal variations in land tenure systems near Mzuzu, Malawi ahead of national land reform legislation. After graduation, Dan worked on Healthcare Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Healthcare Initiative, where he studied the role of state and national community benefit law in shaping American nonprofits hospitals' efforts to boost food security and reduce diet-related disease in their service areas. Most recently, Dan worked on the facilitation and mediation of planning processes and disputes involving water supplies, forest management, and the governance of public lands in Colorado and New Mexico with Peak Facilitation Group.

Host Organization: World Cocoa Foundation

First Year Placement
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

As a Land Tenure and Property Rights Fellow with the World Cocoa Foundation, Dan works to organize and accelerate collective efforts among chocolate companies, civil society groups, donors, and government to improve land tenure security for smallholder cocoa farmers. Based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, Dan has conducted field interviews with farmers and broader desk research to inform the development of a business case for action within the cocoa sector on land tenure issues. He has also worked to facilitate communication about best practices, risks, and documentation procedures among companies, civil society, government and to build awareness of the linkages between land issues, deforestation, food security, farmer productivity, and gender in cocoa-growing communities. In 2020, Dan will conduct a landscape analysis of existing land documentation efforts in Côte d’Ivoire and drive efforts to provide documentation to vulnerable farming populations with an emphasis on leveraging documentation to prevent conflict, empower women and youth, and protect forests.

Second Year Placement

In Year Two of the fellowship, Dan continues to support cocoa companies’ involvement in three distinct projects aiming to leverage public sector and cocoa industry resources to strengthen land documentation and local land governance for smallholder cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. Returning to Abidjan, Dan coordinates efforts to match cocoa farming cooperatives with licensed land surveyors, answers key research questions on the benefits of land tenure security for agricultural productivity and forest conservation, and manages external relationships with government, donors, and civil society groups. He also leads efforts to explore land security opportunities in Ghana and to embed land justice within other cocoa sustainability programs like the Cocoa and Forests Initiative. In addition to advancing WCF’s land tenure agenda, Dan supports the organization’s Social Development team on ongoing initiatives surrounding financial inclusion, gender empowerment, and rural community development planning.

Publications & Blog Posts