Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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  •  GLTN empowers personnel from Ethiopia, Kenya,  Malawi and Uganda for database creation  

    UN-Habitat/GLTN in collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) successfully conducted a Geo-spatial Data Analysis training on the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) from 30th October to 4th November 2016. The five-day learning event brought together 38 participants from the Vegetable Oil Development Programme (VODP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (Uganda), UTaNRMP of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (Kenya), SDCP of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (Kenya), CBINReMP of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Ethiopia), SAPP of the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Water Development (Malawi) and an ILC member RECONCILE. The training was held in Bugala Island, Kalangala District, Uganda and was officially opened by Mr. Nelson Bassalidde, the General Manager of Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust (KOPGT).

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    The Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) factory manager explains a point during a field visit that was organised as part of the training

    “We would like to thank IFAD and GLTN/UN-Habitat for the support that they are giving to the efforts on reduction of rural poverty in the district. We note that Kalangala was one of the poorest districts before the oil palm project but now the livelihoods of people in the island has greatly improved in terms of housing condition and increased access to education”, said Mr. Bassalidde.

    The training was delivered using a very hands-on approach with participants learning the installation and data input of the STDM software, use of GPS equipment for spatial data collection, database management and geo spatial data analysis. There was a site visit to the Oil Palm Uganda Limited (OPUL) oil mill practically demonstrated to the participants the oil milling operations and the associated environmental responsiveness of the industry.

    “We are requesting for more technical training for the KOPGT field officers who would put the data collected from the region into more productive use going forward,”, said Josephine Ariao, a participant speaking on behalf of Kalangala Oil Palm Growers Trust.

    UN-Habitat/GLTN is in a partnership with IFAD to implement the ‘Land and Natural Resources Tenure Security Learning Initiative for East and Southern Africa (TSLI-ESA)’ project, which seeks to promote integration of pro-poor and gender-sensitive land tools in development projects and programmes. This training aimed at developing capacity of VODP and other IFAD supported investment programmes to manage database, handle and analyze data to produce maps and other outputs using STDM.

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    Participants at the Geo-spatial Data Analysis training on the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) held in Bugala Island, Kalangala District, Uganda

  • UN-HABITAT has been implementing the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) towards Pro-poor Gender Responsive Land Governance in Nepal as part of a joint project on ‘Women for Women (W4W): Access to Land for Sustainable Peace’ together with the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and UNDP. The W4W project is an empowerment initiative aimed at giving women and young girls the necessary tools to improve access to secure land tenure and as such fight poverty. Like in many developing countries, the existing Land Administration System (LAS) recognizes formally registered lands within the legal framework. In Nepal, some 41 million parcels of land are captured in the national cadaster under 11 Million owners out of a 26 Million population. Statistics show that half of the rural population, 1.6 million families in number, mainly depending on subsistence farming, are “landless or near landless”, and many of them do not have titles to the land they cultivate. 


    Identifying land parcels on the google map during an STDM training.

    The Government through the Ministry of Land Reform and Management (MoLRM) has been engaged in solving this gap of landlessness and is working on the necessary processes to counter this phenomenon.

    This project piloted STDM in Jhorahat Village Ward No-3 of Morang District, Eastern Nepal. Sixteen (16) households residing on land declared as government land were directly engaged. These people have no official record to claim existence on the particular land. The pilot was carried out in collaboration with three Ministries of the Government of Nepal; Ministry of Land Reform and Management (MoLRM), Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCS) and Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction (MoPR). 


    Identification and adjudication of land by owners and neighbors in Jhorapat Village Ward No-3

    Community members, government personnel, NGO’s and CBO also actively participated in a mock STDM exercise to demonstrate the practicability of STDM, which was further extended at training workshops in Morang, Nawalparasi and Surkhet districts. They were introduced to the concept, application, and usability/function of the tool and went on to participate in a practical field work by collecting spatial and non-spatial information in the workshop venue. STDM was appreciated by communities and government personnel, both as a tool and a process because of its ability to capture the people-land relationships regardless of the law or technical limitations.

    For more information, please find link to major W4W outputs available at UN-Habitat Nepal website.

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    Community meeting at Jhorapat


  • The community learning centres established in four municipalities in Uganda in February 2015 are now the launching pads for the up scaling of usage of the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) to secure tenure for the urban poor in all 14 municipalities in the country. These four centres in Masaka, Entebbe, Tororo and Mbale, now fully kitted with modern information infrastructure such as computers, printers and cameras are facilitating the co-management of planning & land administration information between the local communities and the land professionals. STDM is a pro-poor, participatory and affordable land tool for representing a person-to-land relationship along the land rights continuum. 

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    The learning centers promote co-management of information between communities and professionals and build capacities of members of municipalities, communities and the Municipal Development Forum (MDFs). The centres also promote information sharing and access for all stakeholders to inform engagements at settlement and city level and to improve accuracy of planning data through regular data updating processes

    Thanks to the initiative, the slum dwellers in the four Municipalities have also been collaborating with their respective municipal councils to plan on how the informal settlements they live in should be upgraded. Through a participatory planning process, the voices of the local beneficiary communities now have a platform for expression of their interests during the processes of settlement profiling, mapping and enumeration surveys.

    This inclusion has been instrumental in helping the communities to clearly understand their needs, priorities and capacities. Specifically, the profiling and enumeration carried out in Naluwerere (Tororo), Kigungu (Entebbe), Namboozo (Mbale) and Katafali (Masaka) has generated boundary maps, service maps and community proposal maps that are now being used to inform planning in these settlements besides supporting decision-making for the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructural Development (USMID) program funded under the World Bank support to Uganda.

    Today, these communities are in a better position to meaningfully engage with their municipal council leaders in developing realistic slum upgrading plans for the benefit of the 11,000 people living in the 2,940 households within the informal settlements. The communities are now more confident that their voices are now being heard in the planning & transformation of their settlements and towns.

    This is unlike the past experiences from Mbale when STDM was first implemented where the communities felt extorted and exploited to give information in development programs just as a formality. "STDM has helped in bridging the gap between the Mbale Municipality community in voicing their issues as it regards inclusive planning and using the data in a broader aspect be it informal or formal settlements," said Daniel Waniola, a community leader in Mbale.

    Through this project, municipal and settlement forums have now been established to facilitate community participation. These mechanisms now serve as a platform where the community can now discuss development needs within their settlements and generate solutions while holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions. In Entebbe for instance, the Municipal Development Forum (MDF) discussed the expansion of the Entebbe International Airport and how this would potentially result in the eviction of the people of Kigungu.

    Using this new platform, the physical planner of Entebbe Municipality shared the airport expansion plans and reassured the residents of Kigungu that their community would not face any eviction. As the STDM tool embraces participatory planning, the communities are now better able to clearly identify deficiencies in service delivery in their informal settlements.

    As this project has been appropriately titled, the development of mutually beneficial partnerships has been central to the delivery of outputs for this and other land tenure security interventions implemented by GLTN. Partnerships between the slum dwellers, non-governmental organizations and the government have guided the planning and implementation of STDM activities in Naluwerere, Kigungu, Namboozo and Katafali. ACTogether Uganda and the Institute of Survey and Land Management (ISLM) have even signed a Memorandum of Understanding that gives the latter a critical role in developing the capacity of the urban communities in the use and application of STDM for planning purposes. 

    The involvement of universities and academic institutions means that planning students can now work directly with the communities in the enumeration of surveys. Through this collaboration, the community members are better able to understand the dynamics of land ownership, particularly the importance of recognizing the continuum of land rights in land administration. As a result, the community now sees the benefits accrued and have set their focus on further establishing and strengthening partnerships with their respective local governments. The municipalities of Masaka, Entebbe, Tororo and Mbale are now more receptive to community solutions for identified problems.

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    Door to door enumeration for the selected slums was done in partnership with Universities and Municipal Councils

    The identification and adoption of the STDM as the appropriate tool for managing the challenges presented by uncoordinated urban growth has had an unprecedented influence in the local government processes. Since the municipal officials started being closely involved in the tool and their capacity was strengthened, there has been a positive paradigm shift in attitude towards planning and use of accurate data generated by the STDM Tool. This remarkable achievement has provided the space for institutionalization of STDM.

    All the above achievements were made possible through the “Building a country wide partnership on Land Tenure Security in Uganda” project that was implemented by our partners Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI) through through local partners ACTogether Uganda and the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda (NSDFU) 

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    Mr. Innocent Ateka of MIS receives a STDM Infrastructure training cetificate during the launch of the Land Information Management Database Centre in Mwea, Kenya. 

    UN-Habitat/GLTN in collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) successfully conducted database management training using the STDM application that culminated into the launch of a Land Information Management Database Centre in Mwea Irrigation Scheme on the 9th December 2016. The five day event brought together 23 participants from the Mwea Irrigation Scheme (land surveyors and GIS/ STDM focal points from the National Irrigation Board), community representatives from the Mwea Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) and Bomet Dairy Commercialization Area (DCA 1), project staff of the UTaNRMP of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (Kenya) and project staff of the SDCP (PCU and Bomet) of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (Kenya), Pamoja Trust and an ILC member, RECONCILE. The training was held in Mwea, Kirinyaga County in Kenya and was officially opened by Mr. Innocent Ateka, the scheme Manager, Mwea Irrigation Scheme under the National Irrigation Board.

     “We would like to thank IFAD, RECONCILE and GLTN/UN-Habitat for the support that they have given us. We recognize STDM as an essential application in data base management and the knowledge transfer is valuable for the scheme and outgrowers as a whole. The documents produced not only act as IWUA operational documents but can also act as beacon certificates useful documentation in enhancing tenure security within the region” said Mr. Ateka. The Scheme Manager agreed during the launch that MIS was extremely honored in hosting the Land Information Management (LIM) Database Center and would put both the STDM infrastructure including donations of a server computer, STDM software and four GPS devices as well as the database of out grower framers into good use in improving the efficiency of irrigation water supply to the out-grower farmers.

    The three day training was delivered using a very hands-on approach with technical focal points from the partner organizations learning the critical components of enumeration, data development, management and administration using the STDM application for improved efficiency of irrigation water supply to the small-holder rice out-grower farmers. A meeting was held on the fourth day to deliberate on the operationalization of the Land Information Management and Database Centre. This was well attended by community representatives, Programme/ project technical focal points and senior programme representatives and an arrangement was drawn on the technical operation and management of the LIM database center.

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    Participants at the launch of the Land Information Management Database Centre held at Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Kirinyaga County, Kenya.

    Finally the Land Information Management Database Centre was launched on the 9th of December 2016 at Mwea Irrigation Scheme. The center located at MIS will be managed by the key technical staff of NIB/MIS who are experienced in using STDM software and database infrastructure. MIS hosts the database of 169 out grower farmers of Ndekia III and will use the information in supply of irrigation water and supporting the farmers with other agronomical technical services.

    “We are indeed grateful to see what we have been working and hoping for come into reality. Let us put the database into productive use and assist the farmers in accessing irrigation water and technical help while also effectively managing the natural resources we have.” said Maurice Maingi, the Chairperson of the Mwea Irrigation Water Users Association

    UN-Habitat/GLTN is in a partnership with IFAD to implement the ‘Land and Natural Resources Tenure Security Learning Initiative for East and Southern Africa (TSLI-ESA)’ project, which seeks to promote integration of pro-poor and gender-sensitive land tools in development projects and programmes.  MIS through collaboration with the UTaNRMP, had requested support from GLTN under the GLTN/IFAD's TSLI-ESA Project, for enumeration of the out growers sections, database creation and production of 'documents of affiliation' facilitating the integration of the Ndekia III farmers into the Mwea Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) through use of STDM software. The Land Information Management Database Center is a bridge for the information gap that earlier existed at MIS and well within the objective of the IFAD funded Upper Tana Natural Resource Management Programme (UTaNRMP) developed to contribute to reduction of rural poverty through promotion of environmentally friendly and sustainable livelihoods in the Upper Tana River catchment area.

  • The smallholder dairy farmers in Sugurmerka,  Bomet County, re-commissioned their Cheptuyet cattle dip facility after successfully reclaiming it and the land from a land grabber. This was achieved following the implementation of phase 1 of the “Securing shared communal resources through and recordation in Bomet Project” using the Social Tenure Domain Model. The community mapping revealed that the land on which the dip facility was built belongs to the community and not the individual. The dairy farmers belong to the Dairy Commercialization Area 1 (DCA1) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) supported Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Project (SDCP) in Bomet County. With support from Global Land Tool Network (GLTN)’s regional project Land and Natural Resources Tenure Security Learning Initiative, SDCP in partnership with RECONCILE facilitated participatory enumeration of dairy farm households and their animals, and mapping of community grazing land and livestock resources in October 2016.

    “The dip has been a subject of concern in the community as the land where it is situated had been grabbed by an individual in the community who erected a fence to curtail the movement of cattle in the area”, said Mr Hezekiel Towett, Treasurer of Communal Resources Management Committee. “We had a certain individual who had encroached into land surrounding the dip, erected a fence around the dip to stop the community from using the dip. He noticed our activities around the communal resource and seemingly got scared, conceding the dip to the community”. “Since we mapped the entire communal resources in Sugurmerka, and reclaimed the cattle dip facility people in the community are now bringing their 1,500 plus animals to Cheptuyet for pest control,” said Mr Towett.

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    Cheptuyet communal resource management committee pose for a photo in front of the Cheptuyet community cattle dip

    DCA1 is in Sugurmerka, Chepalungu Sub-County of Bomet County and was selected after a series of community meetings between GLTN, RECONCILE, SDCP, Bomet County government and DCA leaders in Bomet. ”Participatory enumerations generated a database of 498 smallholder dairy farmers and their animals, and community mapping recorded 43 key communal natural resources, (salt licks points, water points, and cattle dips among others) and revealed gaps in terms of accessibility to these communal resources and how these were interlinked to tenure security issues”, said Daniel Langat, Secretary of DCA1. “The process has enabled the Sugurmeka community to identify critical shared resources, develop tenure rules to strengthen the security of their grazing rights from encroachers and land grabbers, and rules for sustainable utilisation of the shared grazing land and water resources,” said Langat.

    As part of the sustainability plan for the cattle dipping facility, “farmers agreed to pay a fee of Ksh10 on each animal dip that is done every Saturday”, said Mr Towett, and he continued “… that the community has reached out to the County Government for laboratory technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries collect water samples every month from the dip for testing the viability of the pesticides in use and report back within three days to the community via the local SDCP office”. Adding his remarks, Mr Evans Kiplagat, SDCP Project Coordinator in Bomet County, indicated that “the dip facility users also agreed that clearing of the water and contents of the dip is done once in three months”. The re-commissioned cattle dip facility has now been placed under the management of a thirteen person committee drawn from the local community (Sigor, Nyagores and Kipkeres Wards) who working in conjunction with the local SDCP office oversee the financial operations and general management of the communal resource.

    TSLI-ESA is a regional project of UN-Habitat/GLTN and IFAD whose main goal is to strengthen security of tenure on land and natural resources through integration of pro-poor land tenure tools in IFAD supported projects and programmes in selected countries in the East and Southern Africa region. By integrating pro-poor and gender-sensitive land documentation tools, TSLI-ESA strengthens the rights of poor communities in IFAD-supported projects and programmes to land and natural resources and the revenue streams linked to those rights.

  • The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) in partnership with the Homeless Peoples Federation, Inc. (HPFPI), Linkbuild, Inc. and the Technical Assistance Movement for People and the Environment, Inc. (TAMPEI) conducted a Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the use and application of the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) from January 27-29, 2016 at the University Hotel, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The aim of the training is to promote the GLTN land tool in the Philippines and to capacitate participants in the use of the STDM software for application in the context of the Philippines, particularly in informal settlements. Participants in the ToT were drawn from the local communities and local government units (LGUs) of Muntinlupa City and Valenzuela City; Geodetic Engineers of the Philippines-National Capital Region (NCR) and Region IV-A; FEATI University Department of Geodetic Engineering, University of the Philippines Department of Geodetic Engineering; FIG Young Surveyors Network (YSN), HPFPI and TAMPEI.

    Formed in 1998, HPFPI is a national federation of urban poor community organizations promoting community-led approaches to securing tenure, upgrading, housing, basic services, livelihoods and disaster risk reduction and management for the urban. Currently supporting its operations is TAMPEI, an organization of technical, professional and community builders established in 2001. This ToT was a follow up to an STDM learning event facilitated by GLTN that the two organizations jointly organized in October 2013 on the potential uses of STDM in the management of community information.

    The training supports the piloting of STDM in Muntinlupa City and Valenzuela City to be implemented by HPFPI and TAMPEI with partner communities and LGUs. STDM will facilitate the processing of data currently being gathered in the pilot sites through mapping and enumeration activities that will be used as input to barangay shelter planning to enhance community development initiatives. The implementation will be undertaken in partnership with land professionals, particularly geodetic engineers, academia and representatives of urban poor communities and local government units. 

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    Participants of the Trainor’s Training on the Social Tenure Domain Model STDM) at the University Hotel, University of the Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines on January 25-29, 2016. Photo ©TAMPEI/Mark Padida

    The training topics include an introduction to GLTN and its land tools, with focus on the concept and application of STDM. Ms. Ruby Haddad of HPFPI presented the details of the pilot project on STDM implementation in selected sites while Arch. Christopher Ebreo and Arch. Ruel  Orcajado of  TAMPEI shared their experience in participatory enumeration and community mapping.

    A basic tutorial on database preparation for data  import to STDM, QGIS and STDM features and capabilities, including practical exercises on using the STDM software and actual practice on the use of GPS was also a part of the training. Ms. Brenda Perez Castro, Manager for Urban Development, Housing and Human Settlements of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) Asia Pacific regional office shared the experience of HfHI in strengthening the capacity of the community in Ciudadela Sucre in Soacha, Colombia to identify and rank settlement´s problems and opportunities and formulate solutions through specific urban projects.

    The presentation generated a lot of interest from the participants particularly in extracting the challenges encountered and lessons learnt on the process of implementing the STDM pilot project in Colombia. 

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    Ms. Brenda Perez Castro, Manager for Urban Development, Housing and Human Settlements of Habitat for Humanity International (Asia Pacific regional office) shared the experience of implementing STDM in Ciudadela Sucre, Soacha, Colombia. Photo ©UN-Habitat/Rhea Lyn Dealca

    A Working Group composed of representatives from the different organizations who participated in the training which will support the implementation of different activities was formed. They are expected to provide technical expertise and support towards the implementation of mapping activities, operationalization of STDM, as well as provision of trainings at the city and community levels. 

    [Submitted by Rhea Lyn Dealca (GLTN), with contributions from Luna Cagan (TAMPEI)]

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    The continuing implementation of STDM in the Philippines has formed several linkages between the Philipines Alliance and professional organizations; local government units and academic institutions across the country in Metro Manila, Davao and Cebu.

    The Philippines Alliance (LinkBuild Inc., Technical Assistance Movement for People and Environment Inc., and Homeless Peoples’ Federation Inc.) have undertaken several STDM training activities over the last five months in Iloilo, Cebu and Davao at national level and in Davao city at regional level. Previously, GLTN and the Philippines Alliance conducted a Trainer’s Training on the use and application of STDM in January 2016 at the University of the Philippines, in Quezon City. The training was conducted for key community, government and academia participants on the use of STDM to capture land information and use it as input to improve project development initiatives in selected informal settlements in Muntinlupa and Valenzuela City.

    Various local government units have also expressed interest in STDM and have committed to support activities towards addressing the need for comprehensive data on informal settlements. The academia is also keen to study STDM, both as a tool and as a concept as a way to further students’ Research and Extension Programs through actual practice of participatory community work.

    It is also encouraging to see the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor – Field Operations Division for Mindanao, which serves as the direct link to the government in policy formulation and program implementation addressing the needs of the urban poor also participating in these training activities. It should be noted that technical improvements on land governance such as the STDM only work where there is political will to make them effective and sustainable.

    Submitted by John Gitau


  • A training on the use of the STDM-based Turkana County Government Land Information Management System (TCGLIMS) was conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) on 21-24 March 2016 at the World Food Programme County Office in Lodwar. The training which targeted technical officers and sub-county land administrators of the Ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Areas Management (MLPPUAM) of the Turkana County Government aimed to familiarize the officers with the newly-developed TCGLIMS and provide them with the necessary skills to enable them to use the tool while performing land administration processes in the county.

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    Attention of the participants to hands-on exercises helped them understand clearly the capabilities of the STDM-based TCGLIMS. Photo by UN-Habitat/Rhea Lyn Dealca

    Turkana County is at least 90% under customary tenure. Recent developments in oil exploration by multi-million investors, both regional and international community, and upstream oil companies has subsequently led to the local community raising concerns over land rights as well as environmental rights. FAO and GLTN both recognize the importance of prioritizing and addressing issues related, but not limited, to customary lands because of its huge potential to contribute to poverty reduction and positive potential impacts at a global level. In this regard, the two agencies are supporting the Ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Areas Management (MLPPUAM) of the Turkana County Government in Kenya, to develop and rollout a land information system (LIS) for managing tenure with regard to urban and customary land within the County. The activity is under FAO’s pilot project, “Support for the responsible governance of land and natural resources in communal lands of Kenya”, funded by the European Union. FAO is supporting the Turkana County in the framework of the said project in three areas: strengthening community land rights, county land use planning, and establishing a land information management system (LIMS), which would include the registry.

    The development of the land information system utilizes GLTN’s pro-poor and gender-sensitive land tool, the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM), with an initial pilot focusing on capturing tenure information in Lodwar town. STDM was customized to the needs and requirements of Turkana County to build up TCGLIMS.

    In an interview with Mark Ewesit Ewoi, Chief Officer of MLPPUAM, he emphasized the need of the ministry for a land information system which would make information easily accessible not just for the local government but also the public. He views the project as important to increasing the county’s revenues from rents and permits, reduce disputes on land and improve land tenure security for their constituents. 

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    Temporary residential huts (manyattas) lie at the center of Lodwar Town in Turkana County. Photo by UN-Habitat/Rhea Lyn Dealca



  • During the FIG Working Week 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand, GLTN, together with its Partners - FIG and Kadaster - launched the Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration: Guiding Principles publication. The publication is primarily designed to allow a range of stakeholders in developing countries to understand the overall Fit-For-Purpose approach and how Fit-for-Purpose solutions provide opportunities for land administration systems to deliver benefits, including secure tenure rights, to a wide range of stakeholders within a relatively short time and for relatively affordable costs in a flexible manner.

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    Training session on the Social Tenure Domain Model tool. Photo © UN HABITAT/John Gitau

    This launch marked an important milestone for all the stakeholders involved in the development of the guide as it was acknowledged as a timely reference for designing country-specific strategies for implementing Fit-For-Purpose land administration systems. Elijah Muyiwa (Nigeria) noted that the publication promoted the recognition of other forms of legitimate tenure within the legal framework. Padma Sunder Joshi (UN-Habitat, Nepal) acknowledged the importance of advocacy and the need for legal reforms. “The guide has come at an opportune time in line with the enactment of a new constitution in Nepal” remarked Joshi.

    In an exhibition of its commitment to ‘Securing Land and Property Rights for All’, GLTN jointly organized with FIG eight sessions, which included but not limited to: Sensitization on implementation of GLTN Land Tools at country level; Valuation of Unregistered Land; Initiatives to support to Nepal in building back better in the post-earthquake context including rehabilitating non-formal settlers and risk hazard-prone settlements; Hands-on training on STDM; and, Role of land professionals in the context of climate change and security of tenure in Small Island Developing States.

    These sessions and interactions with Partners provided an opportunity for GLTN to showcase and provide testimonials on how the innovative GLTN tools and solutions are being used to address real world issues pertaining to land reform, land management and security of tenure in a pro-poor manner. 

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    Official launch of the Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration publication Photo © UN HABITAT/John Gitau

  • On 4th of February 2017, UN-Habitat/GLTN in partnership with l’Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) launched a joint project to support the North Kivu provincial government in formulating and implementing land reform programmes in Beni and the greater Eastern Congo at large, through the use and application of GLTN land tools. The partnership seeks to support land dispute resolution mechanisms, promote advocacy on the land reform initiatives as well as develop the capacity of key land stakeholders including the provincial land administration office.

    The inaugural ceremony was well attended by key players involved in land reform including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Land Affairs, coordinator of the DRC National commission of land reform (CONAREF), the Provincial Minister of Land Affairs in North Kivu among other representatives from Kinshasa and North Kivu.

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    The Provincial Minister of North Kivu giving remarks to the media during the launch of the project. Photo: UCBC

    His Excellency, Mr. Carly Nzanzu, the Provincial Minister of Land Affairs in North Kivu, opened the session by calling upon the land administration agents to collaborate with all stakeholders on land, such as the Mayor of Beni Town, the chiefs and the local communities so as to ensure that opportunities for all rights holders are explicitly recognized thus improving land governance. He also emphasized that communities should be made aware of land issues and their complexity, and that this information should be disseminated through a good land information system. Mr. Léon Ntondo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Land Affairs, encouraged UCBC to build capacity and provide technical support to DRC land administration offices at provincial level as well as key actors in developing and rolling out sustainable land reform programmes in the country.

    This event was followed by a four-day Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop from the 6th February, 2017, on the use and application of STDM. This workshop targeted thirteen (13) participants who would subsequently be deployed to three provinces; North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri in Eastern DRC to support the setting up of a land information system based on STDM at the land administration office in each province. After the training, participants were requested to share their views on STDM and how they plan to use the knowledge they had acquired during the training. Many expressed positive views and committed themselves to learning more on the tool and process. “The STDM tool offers opportunity for the inclusion of poor people holding land informally in the property rights debate. It shows that everyone’s right to land is important; it can start at the informal level and with time improve towards the formal, with the recognition of these rights by government”, said Mr. Kikuni Kabala Fahdi, a project staff from UCBC.

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    Project staff from UCBC learns how to handle the GPS machines during the STDM training Photo: UNHABITAT / John Gitau

    The partnership draws on UCBC’s experience in land programmes such as the Sharing the Land (STL) Program which aims to address land conflicts by facilitating transparent land tenure practices in Eastern DRC. Its mission is to use research, technology, community engagement, activism and public sector to produce a dynamic and transparent land registration system, sustainable and efficient in North Kivu.

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    Participants during the STDM training on the use and application of the tool Photo: UNHABITAT / Christol Paluku

  • The Global Land Tool Network has been actively present in Zambia since 2014 where it has been implementing the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) at country level, and these interventions have been implemented in Mungule Chiefdom in Zambia’s Chibombo District. STDM implementation encompasses the wide range of GLTN land tools such as Participatory Enumerations, the Continuum of Land Rights approach, the Gender Evaluation Criteria, Pro-poor Land Recordation and Land Governance among others.

    Located in the periphery of Lusaka City, Mungule Chiefdom is under pressure for land and natural resource exploitation from the expanding capital of Zambia. The Huairou Commission, a GLTN partner, with the support of its affiliate organizations namely the People’s Process on Hosing and Poverty in Zambia/Zambia Homeless and Poor Peoples Federation (PPHPZ/ZHPPF) and Katuba Women Association (KWA), supported grassroots women to implement STDM in Mungule Chiefdom. The first phase of the project, implemented between June and December 2014, focused on mobilizing and raising the awareness of the community and key stakeholders about STDM and its usefulness to the Mungule Chiefdom.

    The second phase of this GLTN intervention that started in September 2015 seeks to integrate STDM into customary land administration and respond to gender issues in Mungule Chiefdom. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to issue customary certificates of occupancy to residents in the area. A unique feature for the Zambian situation is that is that STDM is being implemented in rural/customary tenure contexts where gender issues demand special attention. Enumeration surveys and mapping were completed in 7 villages: Meleki, Mungule, Mutakwa, Chilete, Mukumbwanyama, Mankalu and Kandeke. The enumeration covered 308 households with a total of 1 731 residents.

    Mungule women

     Members of Katuba Women Association showing the map of 7 villages as captured in STDM. Photo ©UN-Habitat

    A major win for this GLTN intervention in Mungule Chiefdom has been the establishment of local institutions that are now facilitating the implementation of STDM at the community level. Comprised of headmen, headwomen and the councilor for the local ward, the Mungule Technical Advisory Team (MTAT) is tasked with disseminating information on STDM and mobilizing political support to facilitate its implementation. The STDM Steering Committee now works with this locally based MTAT. The Senior Headman, who oversees the work of six other traditional leaders, has embraced the STDM idea so much that it has now become a regular subject of discussion at their meetings. The STDM Steering Committee also holds regular village meetings in which the local community is given updates on the status of the certification process, clarifies areas of concern as raised by the community while reassuring them that they would ultimately be issued with their certificates of occupation.

    Another win in implementing GLTN tools in Zambia has been the creation of new partnerships and an increased interest from, and engagement of State Authorities. Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI), a GLTN partner, has local affiliates PPHPZ and ZHPPF who have provided technical support for project implementation. Katuba Women’s Association has also supported partnerships by bridging the gap between the local communities and key state partners. The key government partners in the initiative are the Ministry of Lands, the Surveyor General’s office, the Ministry of Local Governments and the Chibombo District Counsel and Planning Office. The Surveyor General’s office frequently officiates at STDM functions and this provides the much needed government recognition, endorsement and support for GLTN tools.

    From the STDM interventions carried out so far, some emerging impacts are already being observed in Mungule Chiefdom. The residents and Indunas have noted that the work being done in Mungule is important because it will in due course reduce boundary conflicts that result in displacement and violence, particularly of women and widows. Through STDM and the process of demarcating and documenting land occupations, boundaries and land rights have been identified, recorded and validated by the beneficiary communities. Through the mapping and the agreements that are made on land rights and boundaries, it is now possible for the residents in the communities to do their own planning around the communal resources, rather than having the planning done for them. This will now provide an avenue for the Chibombo District Council to directly engage in the planning for the development of Mungule. The plans and standards developed will particularly help to rein in tree loggers, sand harvesters and quarry stone miners as these extractive industries in Mungule have erstwhile been largely unregulated and unscrupulous in their operations.

    This GLTN initiative is also set to improve the quality of life for the residents of Mungule through increased security of tenure. With the imminent expansion of Lusaka City and the subsequent conversion of customary to urban land, the residents of Mungule Chiefdom are now being prepared to engage with such urban processes and have already shown their readiness to jointly articulate a vision of what development should look like in their area.

    The implementation of STDM in Mungule has also now made it possible to clearly articulate and capture the social tenure relations of all community members, including the often excluded polygamous relations which are the norm in Africa. The mai nini (subsequent wives and their children) can now have their names appearing on the certificates and on registries as having various tenure relations to respective parcels of land. The STDM intervention has thus highlighted the land tenure rights of those groups normally discriminated against by traditional land registration processes.

    The implementation of STDM in Mungule comes at a time when the Government of Zambia is also implementing its National Land Titling Program. While commending the work started by grassroots women at the launch of the certificate of occupancy, the Surveyor General’s office has described the STDM interventions as ‘real, pro-poor, low-cost approaches that are scalable and needed by people in rural communities.’ STDM has received a further confidence boost from the Surveyor General’s office who have applauded the grassroots mapping and enumeration and explained the ongoing efforts to change the overly strict laws that govern land surveying in Zambia. The National Land Titling Program, a national effort to provide titles to the entire country, outlines that these laws will be relaxed in rural areas and that work was already in progress. With a commitment to continue the engagement with STDM, the Surveyor General’s office directed the District Planning Commission to validate the work already done in Mungule.

    Further support for STDM has also been received from the Surveyors’ Institute of Zambia who have offered to verify and validate the mapping done, with proposals of funding this exercise through the National Land Titling Program. With all stakeholders being on board as is the case now, the STDM implementation in Zambia will be sustainable in the long run, even with discussions being held on up scaling of the GLTN interventions. A significant gain for the initiative is the linkage between the STDM pilot and the National Land Titling Program.


  • Mwea Irrigation Scheme (MIS) employs the STDM in verifying total acreage in the scheme’s Ndekia III Rice Outgrower Block

    Since the installation of the improved digitized land information management system (LIMS) based on Social Domain Tenure Model (STDM) in the Scheme, the Mwea Irrigation Water Users Association (IWUA) continue to map the paddies using hand-held geographical positioning system (GPS), record farmer information to update the land database, and issue  MIS-IWUA Certificates of Integration into the water users association for Ndekia III rice out-grower blocks.  

    “In the face of critical water shortage due to prolonged drought that the country faced this year, establishing the land database with STDM has helped us at MIS a great deal”, said Mr. Ennocent Mwaura, a Senior Technical Water Management Officer at the National Irrigation Board attached to the MIS. “We have been able to verify the actual acreage and thus been able to improve the efficient conveyance of irrigation water to more farmers. In addition, the more accurate and reliable data will be used when charging operation and maintenance fees for the water supplied accordingly, as we now know that the irrigated actual area of Ndekia III is 540 acres and not 200 acres as reported before”.

    A smallholder farmer preparing his rice paddy in Mwea Irrigation Scheme Brendah Achungo A smallholder farmer preparing his rice paddy in Mwea Irrigation Scheme.Photo UNHABITAT/Brendah Achungo

    Established in 1954, MIS is the largest irrigation scheme in Kenya with an annual rice production of 60 million bags from the gazetted scheme area of 26,000 acres. Due to the rising demand for rice as a substitute staple food, MIS is extending the irrigation water supply into ‘private land’ or leaseholds out-grower zones of Mutithi, Kianugu, Kiamanyeki and Ndekia I,II,III,IV; through the construction of the Link Canal No. 1 between Nyamindi River and Thiba River. This is expected to boost the water volume required in the main canal. However, the expansion was informal and undocumented and the scheme’s management could not accurately quite determine the exact number of farmers using the irrigation water and the acreage of their irrigated farms.

    The National Irrigation Board (NIB) and MIS in collaboration with the Upper Tana Natural Resource Management Programme (UTaNRMP), requested support from GLTN under the IFAD-funded Land and Natural Resources Tenure Security Learning Initiative for Eastern and Southern Africa (TSLI-ESA) project, to pilot the application of STDM through farmer driven enumerations, towards collecting verifiable household and spatial data, and to produce the Ndekia III area map that would be central to the formalization of the water distribution for irrigation. In December  2016, GLTN through TSLI-ESA launched the Mwea Land Information Management Centre and Database (LIMS) at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in conjunction with the NIB, MIS-IWUA and the UTaNRMP. The LIMS Database is managed by the Mwea Irrigation Water Users Association (MIS-IWUA) and co-hosted at the Mwea Irrigation Scheme and the National Irrigation Board.This is well within the UTaNRMP project objective, to contribute to the reduction of rural poverty through the promotion of environmentally friendly and sustainable livelihoods in the Upper Tana River catchment area. The LIMS Launch is a part of the pilot application of STDM in IFAD-supported agriculture projects within TSLI-ESA  in Kenya. Other pilot initiatives include using STDM to verify communal natural resources for sustainable management the within the  Dairy Centralization Areas of the Smallholder Dairy Commercialization Programme in Bomet Country

    Work continues after the end of the first phase of the intervention which ended in December 2016. With MIS continuing the scaling up, GLTN through TSLI-ESA continues to provide technical support in the enumeration of Ndekia I, II, and IV. “We are looking forward to farmers participating in the mapping and enumeration exercises we have heard will take place in Ndekia I so as to collect our information as a means of addressing the local population’s needs with regard to the distribution of irrigation water,” said Mr. Chomba Gikuru a farmer in Ndekia I.


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