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.
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.