Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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  • The 3 day Training of Trainers which started on 15th February 2017 was held at Sports View Hotel, Kireka and was attended by 30 grassroot women leaders. Participants were drawn from government, National Civil Society Organizations, Community Based Organizations and cultural institutions from different regions in Uganda represented by eight districts i.e. Jinja, Bugiri, Mityana, Kampala, Mukono, Adjumani, Pader, Kabong, Mbale. The training focused on exposing grassrrot women leaders to pro-poor and gender responsive land tools specifically Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC) and Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) aimed to:

    1. Support further consolidation and refinement of land tools (STDM and GEC) that have demonstrated success based on previous research, pilots and implementation.
    2. Support peer to peer learning and capacity building efforts towards the implementation, testing or piloting of STDM and GEC.
    3. To enable the participants to acquire the skill and map out their relationships with and uses of land
    4. Promote collaboration and foster partnership among member organizations at different levels.

    Ibra from AcTogether explaining to trainees how to enter social data in a tablet and picking GPS coordinates

    Ibra from AcTogether explaining to trainees how to enter social data in a tablet and picking GPS coordinates

    The Head of National Land Policy Secretariat in the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD), Ms. Noame Kabanda opened the training, particularly welcoming and appreciating participants from upcountry. She recognized the presence of all grassroots organizations, government officials, development partners and cultural leaders like the Paramount Chief of Madi from Adjumani district in West Nile – Uganda. She informed participants that government’s partnership and participation in the on-going processes is very critical for their success and thus pledged continued support on behalf of MLHUD. Ms. Kabanda asked land actors to use innovative land tools (STDM and GEC) to measure the impact of their programs and check their gender sensitivity. She urged participants to adopt the tools as they are already in use across the globe.

    The participants were later introduced to GEC and STDM after introductory remarks from Mino from Huairou Commission and Dr. Samuel Mabikke from UN-Habitat/GLTN. Perhaps, the most interesting session to the participants was the field work on the second day. Field work was carried out in Nabusugwe-Misindye village in Goma sub-county, Mukono district, the home of Mr. Musoke Edward, a trustee of family Mailo land of about 30 acres which is occupied and used by him and the different members of his extended family. Using hand-held GNSS receivers, trainees in four groups picked extents of the whole land and the different portions occupied and used by Mr. Musoke and the other members of his extended family. A questionnaire installed on tablets was used to collect social-economic data of the families utilizing the different parcels on the estate.

    Mityana District land Board Chairperson taking the GPS coordinates during field work

    Mityana District land Board Chairperson taking the GPS coordinates during field work

    From the field, trainees were taught how to download data from the tablets into excel sheets and importing data from the GPS into STDM/QGIS to produce maps, reports and certificates. However, some trainees found this process difficult especially those who were computer illiterate. They requested for more time and guidance on this process.

    On the last day, the sessions focused on exposing participants to GEC. The trainers introduced the tool before grouping the participants as Community Based Organizations (CBO), Government officials, National NGOs, cultural leaders and using the 22 GEC questions each group checked if their work/programmes considers the needs and interests of both men and women thus promoting equitable gender relations.

    Finally, Beauty from People’s Process on Housing and Poverty (PPHPZ) - Zambia shared PPHPZ’s experience on using STDM and GEC in Mungule and Chamuka Chiefdoms to enable women to enjoy their land rights in an environment that is highly governed by customary practices. She reported that many men have started understanding and supporting women’s ownership of land and property in Chamuka chiefdom. 

    Mr Kasiga Paul a land owner in green helping trainees to identify the boundary of his land

    Mr Kasiga Paul a land owner in green helping trainees to identify the boundary of his land

  • 38 Certificates of Land Occupancy issued in Bulemu, Zambia

    On 30th November, 2016, the UN Habitat/ Global Land Tool Network in partnership with other stakeholders in the Zambian lands sector participated in an inauguration ceremony on the issuance of land occupancy certificates for the Bulemu Village, towards improved tenure security on customary land in Lusaka, Zambia.  The event was attended by dignitaries from the land sector in Zambia who included: the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development; Chairperson of House of Chiefs; former Chisamba Member of Parliament and Headperson; Chisamba District Chairperson; Director Chiefs Affairs; Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs; Chisamba District Commissioner; and UN Habitat/ GLTN technical officers. Community members from Bulemu Village also attended in large numbers.


    Chief Chamuka (L) explaining to Permanent Secretary Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development Charles Mushota (in red tie) on STDM mapping process. Looking on from L-R: former Chisamba MP and Headperson; Chisamba District Chairperson; Director Chiefs Affairs, Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs; UN-Habitat Technical coordinator; GLTN Programmes Officer; and Chisamba District Commissioner (holding map)

    This successful event builds upon the Mungule Chiefdom experiences in a project between the UN-Habitat/GLTN and Huairou Commission, in collaboration with local partners in Lusaka Zambia to support grassroots women to better measure the social tenure relationships of women over land, housing and natural resources living under customary tenure using STDM. Under this agreement, STDM was piloted in Mungule Chiefdom, Chibombo District in the periphery of Lusaka, where Huairou Commission implementing partners included Chieftainess Mungule. Mungule Ward Council, Village Headmen and Women, local community members, People's Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia/Zambia Homeless and Poor Peoples Federation (PPHPZ/ZHPPF) and Katuba Women Association.

    Chief Chamuka stressed that the certificates will help in the reduction of land dispute cases that have been rampant in the past, while at the same time monitoring the allocation of land by headmen/chiefs. He also remarked that the process has been very instrumental in the auditing of land in the village and called for the scaling up the activity to cover the whole chiefdom. He noted that this would provide spatial and socio-economic data for future infrastructural and services planning. He went on to laud the process for having built the capacity of the local community members with enumeration and basic mapping skills, a very critical element for the long-term sustainability of the process. In his closing remarks, Chief Chamuka appreciated the government of Zambia’s recognition to providing security of tenure to all customary land and allowing for the issuance of provisional customary certificate signed by village head persons to improve tenure security. He however appealed to the National Government to deliver on the new legislative framework currently under development, to enhance tenure security on customary land. Chief Kaputa (House of Chiefs Chairperson), also present during the event, requested for similar support towards issuance of customary certificates in his Chiefdom.



    Beneficiaries receiving their certificates

    In total, 38 certificates were issued. This event marked the culmination of UN-Habitat’s partnership with Huairou Commission, People’s Process on Housing and Poverty in Zambia (PPHPZ), traditional leadership and Village Development Committees on enumerations and mapping using GLTN tools in Chamuka Chiefdom, Chisamba District.

    Zambia has a dual land tenure system; customary tenure and leasehold tenure. Section 7 of the Lands Act 1995 recognises the existence of customary tenure in Zambia and guarantees women and men the possibility of being land owners with security of tenure for 99 years but impediments in its application have continued to limit access to land especially to women and the poor. The lack of proper tenure security provisions for customary land cause customary lands in Zambia to be under constant pressure from urban expansion, especially in the vicinity of the nation’s capital city, Lusaka with ribbon settlements sprawling along transport corridors leading in and out of the city. 


  • 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.


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    A community training excercie on how to use the STDM application; Mungule, Zambia. Photo ©UN-Habitat/John Gitau

     Zambia has dual land tenure system which is recognized and has legal provisions in the 1995 Land Act, namely Customary and Leasehold tenure systems.  Customary tenure covers about 94% of land in Zambia, while 6% of the Land is State-land under leasehold tenure.  These estimates are based on 1928 and 1947 assessments.

    Customary Land is administered by the Chiefs using the Customary Laws applicable to different jurisdictions, and subject to Zambian Laws and natural justice.  The Town and Regional Planning Act enacted in August 2015 is applicable in Customary Land.  Rural areas have vast natural resources which results in competing interests between incoming investors and the rural communities over land.  The Government recognizes the need for a robust and responsive legal regime to enhance land rights and stimulate investment.

    The Government’s commitment to land reform is driven by underlying objectives for promoting security of tenure for customary land in rural areas; preventing displacement of local communities by the urban elite or foreign investors in rural areas; promoting good governance, decentralization and transparency in land administration; eradicating inequalities amongst interested groups in gaining access to land in order to cater for the less privileged in districts; establishing a land audit commission to undertake a land audit countrywide in order to plan for sustainable use of land resources; and regularizing ownership of untitled properties in towns and cities.  The Government is following inclusive approaches in the land reform processes entailing the development of the National Land Policy and related legal framework.  Development Partners involved in the land sector are also coming together to support the land sector initiatives under Land Sector Working Group.


    GLTN’s catalytic engagement

    GLTN is working with stakeholders and partners to develop Zambia Country Implementation Plan which will articulate country priorities and identify relevant GLTN tools and approaches to provide value addition to country initiatives. GLTN will support country initiatives through sharing experiences on best practices, relevant land tools, and cooperating with partners who have developed goodwill and confidence of stakeholders and beneficiaries. 


    Main areas of interventions

    1. GLTN will support the development of the National Land Policy within the technical leadership on UNECA-LPI through active participation in the consultative process; review and making inputs to draft documents; and sharing relevant information about land policies. GLTN will also actively support the land related aspects of the development of the National Urbanisation Policy.
    2. Land Administration - GLTN will support customary land certification initiatives, using experiences from Mungule Chiefdom in Chibombo District and assist in mapping of unplanned settlements, for purposes of speeding up the process of issuance of Land Record Cards through the use of relevant land tools. These interventions will investigate the applicability of fit for purpose approaches thus informing the development of legal framework to support Fit for Purpose Land Administration.
    3. Capacity Development - support the various capacity enhancement initiatives to ensure achievement of priorities in land sector and sustainability. GLTN will also actively participate in “Cooperating Partners Working Group Meeting on Land Issues” and advise the group as necessary, while at the same time encouraging inclusive engagement of all stakeholders in the land sector.

     More information:


Contact Info:

Location: Gigiri, UN Complex
Office: NOF South Wing Block 3
Telephone: +254 207623858
Email: gltn[at]

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