A tool to secure tenure for all in Francophone Africa

Friday, 15th March 2019

Across French speaking Africa, communities are battling governments and companies to preserve their historical rights to land. An inclusive land tool developed by the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) is helping communities determine borders and protect their rights.

Captivating, picturesque and appeasing are words often used to describe the landscapes of Niayes, in North-western Senegal, where 30-year-old farmer, Mr Papa Amadou Ndiaye depends for his livelihood. Though Mr Ndiaye’s farm provides income for his family, it has increasingly brought him worries. The building of the Blaise Diagne International Airport, around 30-40km from Niayes is putting pressure on his land. With no documentation, he is afraid he can lose it.

Tenure security is a big concern for many vulnerable people in Africa. Roughly 70% of rural lands in Africa are undocumented. Lack of proper documentation often leads to land disputes. Though land administration systems exist in many countries, they are not always effective in helping people secure their lands.

To strengthen land tenure and property rights in Francophone Africa, ILC partnered with the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and organised a training around the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) on December 10-12 2018 in Dakar, Senegal.

STDM is a pro-poor, gender  responsive and participatory land information system that is applied to secure land rights for all.

The event trained 20 land experts how to navigate and apply the STDM tool in the field to support people secure their lands. Target countries for the training included; Cameroon, Senegal, DRC, Togo and Madagascar.

GLTN and ILC also invited experts from Kenya and Burkina Faso to share their experiences in the application of STDM in their respective countries.

Mr Ken Otieno, Technical Coordinator, Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE) tested the approach in projects in Kenya.“The tool can be customised in rural or urban areas and can adapt to the needs of people….”Mr Otieno told participants. RECONCILE adapted the tool to strengthen tenure rights in three counties across Kenya.

“The STDM tool will support our strategy in encouraging participatory documentation of community lands in the country,”said Ms Michelle Sokoue, Country Strategy Facilitator for Cameroon.

At the end of the workshop, the trained experts developed action plans to share the acquired  knowledge within their national platforms and a proposal to use the STDM tool to support land governance in their country.

In collaboration with GLTN, ILC hopes to help French African countries use the STDM to increase tenure security. In 2019, it will support two countries to implement the tool and establish an expert community of practice on it in Francophone Africa.