Traditional / Customary Authorities

Improving Accountability in Agricultural Investments: Reflections from Legal Empowerment Initiatives in West Africa

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED),

A recent surge in agribusiness plantation deals has increased pressures on land in many low- and middle-income countries. Rural people have mobilized to protect their rights, seek better terms or oppose the deals altogether. Since 2014, a set of initiatives in Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal has worked to help people harness the law in order…

Evaluation of Grassroots Community–Based Legal Aid Activities in Uganda and Tanzania: Strengthening Women’s Legal Knowledge and Land Rights

Julia Behrman, Lucy Billings, Amber Peterman,

Progressive legislative actions in Uganda and Tanzania have improved women’s legal rights to land, however significant gender disparities persist in access, control, inheritance, and ownership of land at the grassroots level. One promising mechanism to improve the implementation of laws is through Community–based Legal Aid (CBLA) programs, which are typically designed as pro–poor to enhance…

Increasing Access to Justice for Women, the Poor, and Those Living in Remote Areas: An Indonesian Case Study

Leisha Lister, Cate Sumner, Matthew Zurstrassen,

Recent reforms in the religious courts of Indonesia have resulted in a 14-fold increase in the number of poor clients able to access the courts through court fee waivers and a fourfold increase in the number able to access circuit courts in remote areas. These increases are significant because the ability of the poor, particularly…

Addressing the Information Requirements of the Urban Poor – A Government-Community Partnership in Piloting the Social Tenure Domain Model in Uganda

Danilo Antonio, Jack Makau, Samuel Mabala,

In the recently published State of the World’s Cities (2010/2011) by UN-Habitat, it was highlighted that urban slum population is expected to increase to 1.4 billion by 2020. Such realization has triggered a continuing debate in the global development discourse on a new phenomenon – the urbanisation of poverty. The benefits of land administration systems…

Communities’ Ability in Consultations and Land Transactions: Improving the “Empowering Effect” of Tenure Security Initiatives in Rural Mozambique

Giorgia Mei, Mariagrazia Alabrese,

The 1997 Land Law in Mozambique recognizes the “Right to Use and Benefit from Land” (DUAT) in the following situations: collective or individual “customary occupation”; individual “good faith occupation”; temporary (renewable) authorization for commercial exploitation of the land to national and foreign individuals or corporate entities. Mozambique’s Land Law establishes also that in cases of…

Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest, Kenya: A Strategy for Strengthening Women’s Land Rights

Deborah Espinosa, Florence Santos,

Kenya’s new Constitution guarantees all Kenyans the right to access justice, recognizes customary justice institutions to the extent they do not violate the Constitution, and prohibits gender discrimination in land matters. These provisions form the basis for the USAID-supported Kenya Justice Project, which piloted a model for improving women’s access to customary justice as a…

Community Empowerment and Participation in Maternal Health in Kamwenge District, Uganda

Aaron Muhinda, Joyce Mugarura, Abrahams Mutumba Zahura,

The status of maternal health in Uganda has remained poor despite the country’s relatively fast economic growth of the past 20 years. The proportion of women delivering in health units remains low and there is a gap between the numbers attending antenatal services and those delivering in health services. In Kamwenge District, where as in…

Voice and Accountability: The Role of Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health Committee

Margaret Leppard, Sarawat Rashid, Atiya Rahman, Mahmuda Akhter, Hashima-E-Nasreen,

If health services are to be improved, raising the voice and accountability of both community members and health service staff is important. Many partnership initiatives have shown achievements in improving health services by facilitating people’s participation and by identifying mechanisms whereby the voice of those involved can be effectively heard. To ensure community participation, BRAC’s…

Driving Change: Policies Favouring Poor People in Indonesia

Sharon Thangadurai, Oxfam Great Britain,

This paper shows how the ‘Driving Change’ project in Indonesia used advocacy and capacity-building to ensure that the voices of poor people, especially women, became part of government planning processes to alleviate poverty. It focuses on people’s participation at village level as a key entry point, leading to advocacy for policy change at district and…

Participatory Budgeting in Fissel, Senegal

Bara Guèye,

This chapter presents a case study on participatory budgeting as a tool to promote inclusive and transparent mechanisms of local governance. The initiative took place in the communauté rurale (rural commune) of Fissel, one of the first rural communes in Senegal to be decentralized in 1972. Fissel also benefits from many years of active community life,…

New book on protecting community lands and resources in Africa from Namati and Natural Justice

Posted by Marena Brinkhurst in Advocacy & Systemic Change, Land & Natural Resources, Resources & Research

In 2013, a group of 20 expert advocates from across Africa gathered for a three-day symposium to share experiences and practical strategies for effectively supporting communities to protect their lands and natural resources. The symposium illuminated many similarities between the types of threats to communities’ land and natural resource claims, as well as underlying factors that drive and exacerbate…

Justice & Identity in Kibera

Posted by Paul McCann in Citizenship

Kibera, reputedly Africa’s largest informal settlement, is not an easy place to find your way around. In this story and photo gallery Namati’s partner, the Nubian Rights Forum, introduce us to the crowded lanes that are home to their community. We meet some of their clients, Kenyan Nubians struggling with a discriminatory system that makes it…

Using paralegals to fight forced early marriage in Sierra Leone

Posted by Daniel Sesay in Community Paralegals

Early and forced marriage continues to be a widespread and serious problem in post-war Sierra Leone, especially in rural areas. It has become a common practice that abuses the rights of children and girls. Early marriage, also known as child marriage, is the marriage of someone before the age of 18 years. Such marriages are…