Indigenous, pastoralist communities in Kenya made history last week by marching to the nation’s capital to demand official registration for their communal lands.
This was unprecedented and the culmination of years of effort to empower communities to understand and claim their land rights.
In 2016, the Government of Kenya enacted the Community Land Act, a progressive new law that enables local communities to legally register and own their communal lands.
Indigenous and other marginalized groups have faced stiff challenges in exercising their land rights. An estimated 3.5 million people have been unable to register their communal lands, covering roughly 150,000 square miles, or 67% of Kenya’s landmass.
The Community Land Act was meant to pave the road for historically marginalized groups to legally claim, own, and manage the land that they depend on for their livelihoods, culture, and identity.
Yet, despite the passage of this progressive legislation, challenges remain.
The law is complicated, it has not been widely publicized, and the government has not deployed the personnel or systems needed to implement it throughout the country.
Even though the law was passed three years ago, not a single community in Kenya has been able to apply to have their land rights legally recognized.
This changed on July 24 when over 50 representatives from 11 communities in Isiolo, Kajiado, Laikipia, Tana River, and Turkana Counties traveled to Nairobi and marched to the Ministry of Land to submit registration applications directly to the Deputy Director of Land Adjudication. They also met with the Cabinet Secretary and several officials from her office.
The Ministry of Land promised that they would process the communities’ applications within four months. Their stories were covered on live TV and in local newspapers.
The journey to get to this point was not an easy one. Starting in 2018, Namati and its partner organizations Il’laramatak Community Concerns, Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation (IMPACT), Samburu Women’s Trust, and Kenya Land Alliance have trained and deployed community land paralegals to help communities understand the Community Land Act, meet the requirements for land registration and organise to demand that their applications are processed in a timely manner.
Each of the 11 communities discussed, drafted, and adopted detailed bylaws for local land management and governance. Many of the rules that were created by communities include rights protections for women, youth, and other marginalized people—often for the first time. The bylaws also include rules for climate change resilience and environmental protection.
The communities also elected Community Land Management Committees to manage the day-to-day affairs of the communities’ land and natural resources. In the past, only male elders made decisions over community land. Now, the committees include women and youth, ensuring that all people have a voice in decisions about land and natural resources.
Each community agreed on their boundaries with neighboring communities and created evidence of their land claims by making maps. Some communities created detailed maps using GPS while others drew maps based on natural boundaries like rivers and mountains. This documentation will empower communities to guide surveyors when the government creates technical maps of their land.
Most importantly, the communities know the law and the rights that they have over their land and natural resources. They are empowered to meet with high-level government officials and demand that they follow the law. They also know that they are representing thousands of other communities in Kenya whose land is at risk and could be protected using the Community Land Act.
We must celebrate this moment, stand in solidarity with these communities, and build upon the trailblazing efforts of the people of Kuku B, Munichoi, Musul, Lenguruma, Longopita, Kawalash, Lomokamar, Handaraku, Kibagami, Salama, and Kapese communities.
This is legal empowerment in action.
Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: July 25, 2022
Welcome to the namati.org website (the “Site”) and the Legal Empowerment Network Forum (the “Forum”) operated by Namati, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Namati”, “we”, “us” or “our”). We share your concern about the protection of your personal information online.
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
We may, from time to time, store and archive the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum. The information that we gather may include your name, title, and address, telephone number, email address, credit card number or other elements of personal information. In addition, if you contact us, we may keep a record of your correspondence, including any information contained therein.
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Privacy notice: https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement
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Privacy notice: https://www.godaddy.com/en-in/legal/agreements/privacy-policy
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Privacy notice: https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy
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Privacy notice: https://www.scorecardresearch.com/privacy.aspx?newlanguage=1
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Privacy notice: https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization/our-policies-terms/privacy-policy
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Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA, and WPengine servers located in Texas, USA. When you provide personal information to us, we request your consent to transfer that personal information to the USA. The USA does not have an adequacy decision from the European Commission, which means that the Commission has not determined that the laws of the USA provide adequate protection for personal information. Although the laws of the USA do not provide legal protection that is equivalent to the EU GDPR, we safeguard your personal information by treating it in accordance with this Policy. We take appropriate steps to protect your privacy and implement reasonable security measures to protect your personal information in storage. We use secure transmission methods to collect personal data through our website. We also enter into contracts with our data processors that require them to treat personal information in a manner that is consistent with this Policy.
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Namati Data Protection Officer
1616 P Street NW, Suite 101
Washington, DC 20036, USA
It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.
You have the right to:
Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
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Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we could refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it could take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
If you live in an EEA Member State, all of which have adopted the EU GDPR and national , you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application. The European Commission has a list of EU national data protection authorities here:
If you live in the United Kingdom, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority, the ICO, about this policy and its application:
The Policy was updated in July 2022 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.