Guides for Practitioners and Communities


Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 1: Preparing in Advance for Potential Investors




Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. This guide details how communities can prepare for interactions with potential future investors and decide whether or not to enter into discussions or negotiations with an investor that has arrived. It is designed to be used before any negotiations start.


Community-Investor Negotiation Guide 2: Negotiating Contracts with Investors




This guide contains advice for communities who have agreed to negotiate with a potential investor. It describes the various sections and clauses that should be in a contract, advises what protective language to include, and warns of “red flag” language to avoid. It is designed to help communities and their frontline advocates to negotiate clear, fair, and enforceable contracts that require investors to respect community interests, conserve the local environment, and support the community’s development—all on the community’s own terms.

Power to the People: A Case Study on Participatory Local Land and Natural Governance in Nepal


Download From 2014 until 2016, the Community Self Reliance Centre piloted an adaptation of Namati’s legal empowerment approach to community land protection in 54 wards in Nepal. This report is an assessment of the project’s community impacts. We found that, when paired with legal education, local bylaws drafting processes can lead to genuine norm changes, authentic protections for the rights of vulnerable groups, and the alignment of national laws and local customary rules.

Community Land Protection Facilitators Guide – Complete PDF

 Download Namati’s step-by-step, practical “how to” manual for grassroots advocates working to help communities protect their customary claims and rights to land and natural resources. This Guide details Namati’s comprehensive, five-part approach to community land protection that supports communities to: build unity and internal capacity, proactively document and map their land claims, strengthen local governance, seek formal government recognition of their land rights, and plan for their own flourishing future. Download the Guide for free or contact Namati to order a print copy.


Community Land Protection Facilitators Guide – Online Toolkit

 Toolkit The toolkit is an online version of Namati’s step-by-step Community Land Protection Facilitator’s Guide. This online version splits the Guide into sections and individual chapters (for download). The toolkit includes links to related recommended resources.


Protecting Community Lands & Resources in Africa: Grassroots Advocates’ Strategies & Lessons

  Download This book is a collection of case studies and analysis written by practitioners, for practitioners in order to share experiences and practical strategies for effectively supporting communities to protect their lands and natural resources in Africa. Together, they share a variety of ingenious, creative, and practical strategies for proactively confronting the forces that undermine community land and natural resource tenure security. The contributing authors were participants in a 2013 symposium convened by Namati and Natural Justice.


Uganda Community Guide: How to Protect Your Community’s Lands and Resources

  Download This guide from the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda and Namati presents a step-by-step process for communities to secure stronger legal protections for common grazing lands and improve local land governance. The instructions are specifically tailored to the context of customary community grazing lands in northern Uganda, drawing upon LEMU’s experience leading community land protection efforts since 2009.


Liberia Community Guide: Protecting Community Lands

 Liberia Community Guide - Protecting Lands - cover Download This guide from Namati and the Sustainable Development Institute in Liberia is designed specifically for communities and provides information and instructions they can use to guide their land protection efforts. Chapters include topics like “how to harmonize your boundaries with your neighbors,” “how to develop community by-laws” and “how to interact with outside companies and investors.” Namati and SDI are now working on a similar guide for paralegals and facilitating NGOs.


Liberia Community Guide: Getting a Fair Deal with Investors

Liberia Community Guide - Getting Fair Deal - coverDownload This guide from Namati and the Sustainable Development Institute in Liberia is a “How To” guide for rural communities considering whether to share their land and natural resources with investors. The guide explains how a community can proactively prepare themselves before an investor approaches them, what questions community members should ask before going into contract negotiations, and how to ensure that they receive truly equitable benefits in return for sharing their land and resources. The guide also includes actions that communities can take if, having already signed an agreement in the past, they feel as though they are being treated unfairly or want to enforce elements of the contractual agreement.



Also available in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. (Please contact us if you would like to request another language.)

Intro video title

Overview: Protecting Community Lands and Resources

Provides an overview of the full community land protection process, the role of grassroots legal advocates, and resulting positive impacts.


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Mapping and Boundary Agreements

Describes the land documentation activities of the community land protection process. Communities map their lands and natural resources, resolve land conflicts, mark boundaries with neighbors, and make an official map of their lands.

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Making Rules for Land Governance

Illustrates the drafting of by-laws and creation of mechanisms for accountable, equitable and sustainable governance of community lands and natural resources, including protections for the rights of women and marginalized groups.

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Protecting Land in Investment Negotiations

Explains how communities can empower themselves to negotiate with potential investors – including basic natural resource valuation, impact assessment, and land use planning – to ensure that agreements promote genuine community prosperity.

Community Land Protection Facilitator’s Guide

A trailer-style overview of Namati’s approach to protecting community land.

Webinar: Community Land Protection Facilitator’s Guide

This webinar outlines the five-part approach to protecting community land, as detailed in the CLP Facilitator’s Guide.

Securing Our Community Lands – Oxfam

This short video by Oxfam showcases work done by community land mobilizers in Turkana, Kenya as supported by the Kenya Land Alliance, Namati, and Oxfam.


Research Reports

Namati’s Community Land Protection Program builds off of a two-year study undertaken by the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), the Sustainable Development Institute in Liberia (SDI), the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU), and Centro Terra Viva (CTV) in Mozambique from 2009-2011. The investigation’s objectives were to: facilitate the documentation and protection of customarily held lands through legally established community land titling processes; understand how to best and most efficiently support communities to successfully document their lands; and support communities to establish mechanisms to address intra-community injustice and discrimination relative to land and natural resource rights. The findings and conclusions of that effort are detailed in a series of final reports.

International Report

Executive Summary
Full Report

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Uganda Report

Executive Summary
Full Report

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Liberia Report

Executive Summary
Full Report

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Mozambique Report

Executive Summary
Full Report

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Lessons from the Field

Namati’s Lessons from the Field are produced in collaboration with our partner organizations. These short reports share challenges that we encounter in our work supporting communities to protect their lands and resources as well as practical solutions that we have developed.

LEMU LfF 1 - coverDownload

Using ‘Visioning’ to Build a Positive Foundation for Community Land Protection [Uganda]

Until recently, staff at the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU), would start a community land protection process with conflict resolution. However, they found that focusing on contentious internal land disputes tended to exacerbate internal discord and even impede the community land protection process. This Lessons from the Field describes how LEMU went back to the drawing board to develop an innovative solution: collective visioning exercises to build unity and momentum for community collaboration.


SDI LfF 1 - coverDownload

Holding Leaders Accountable and Ensuring Community Participation in Land Transactions [Liberia]

In the spring of 2013, the community of Duah faced a serious challenge: Clan elders agreed to a large land deal with a local palm oil investor without the involvement of the community or its new Land Governance Council. This Lessons from the Field describes how, with support from the Sustainable Development Institute in Liberia (SDI), Duah community members held their leaders accountable to their newly adopted community by-laws and successfully reversed the land deal. The case of Duah highlights some of the challenges faced when promoting inclusive, participatory, and accountable community land management in rural Liberia.


LEMU LfF 2 - coverDownload

How to Determine Appropriate Responses to Community Land Encroachment [Uganda]

Community land protection efforts must often confront cases of encroachment, where individuals have claimed part of community land as their own private property. Namati and the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) have witnessed this in many communities in northern Uganda, where encroachment disputes often threaten to undermine or stall community land protection efforts. Over the past five years, LEMU has developed ways to assess these conflicts and respond appropriately. This Lessons from the Field elaborates on LEMU’s approach to encroachment conflicts and reflects on the effectiveness of this approach to date.



Customary Rules and Practices Strengthen Women’s Land Tenure in Rural Mozambique [Mozambique]

Under Mozambique’s Constitution and Land Law (1997), communities may legally govern their lands and natural resources according to customary norms and practices, so long as local customs do not contradict national law. However, rising land scarcity and associated increases in land value are leading some families to “reinterpret” custom as sanctioning the dispossession of widows from their marital lands. This Lesson from the Field describes how Centro Terra Viva (CTV) and Namati support communities to strengthen women’s land rights within customary systems and harmonize local practices with national and human rights law. The publication also describes CTV’s efforts to involve Customary Tribunals and local dispute-resolution authorities in efforts to ensure the implementation and enforcement of community rules designed to protect women’s land rights.



Complexities of Community Self-Identification in Liberia [Liberia]

Defining the boundaries and membership of a community is the first step in community land protection and documentation. These decisions require careful negotiation among a wide range of stakeholders and consideration of many social, political, cultural, and practical factors. Community definition should not be left to bureaucrats or external ‘experts’ because this may impose an inappropriate definition and deprives communities of a powerful opportunity for collective action. Rather, skilled facilitators should help communities to navigate the self-identification process to define their territories and membership. This Lesson from the Field shares strategies for supporting community self-definition in rural Liberia from Namati partner the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI).



Oral to Written – Practical Processes in Documenting Community Land Rules [Uganda]

As encroachment onto community lands increases in the Lango region of Uganda, communities are organizing to revitalize their traditional land governance systems. Central to these efforts is a process of recording and debating previously undocumented community land management rules. In this Lessons from the Field, Namati partner the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) shares insights into how staff facilitate and support the community-driven rules-writing process.



Engaging Local Officials to Support Community-led Natural Resource Management [Myanmar]

The community of Kaw Thay Ghu stewards 30,000 acres of some of the most biodiverse forest in South-East Asia. After years of civil conflict, the people of Kaw Thay Ghu, with support from the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), are revitalizing their customary land and forest governance systems. This Lessons from the Field shares strategies that KESAN is using to engage local officials to support communities’ customary land management systems.

Blog Posts


Rachael Knight. 5 May 2015. We are looking at gold and calling it rock. World Bank.

Originally published for the World Bank’s People, Space, Deliberation blog, Namati Community Land Protection Program Director, Rachael Knight, presents Namati’s approach for supporting communities to calculate the replacement costs of their communal lands and natural resources.

Marena Brinkhurst. 22 April 2015. Using the law for resource justice. IIED.

This post describes Lawyers for Resource Justice – Namati’s new collaboration that brings grassroots organizations together with international lawyers to fight for resource justice in situations of large-scale land or natural resource development projects.

Rachael Knight, Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Melissa Riess-James. 8 April 2015. Legal precedents for fighting dispossession of land – the Community Land Rights CaseBase. TerraNullius.

A profile of CaseBase, Namati’s new online database of community land rights case law.

Rachael Knight. 24 March 2014. For Responsible Mapping of Community Land, Create Accountable Land Governance. FOLA.

Namati’s Rachael Knight argues that providing a poorly governed, disempowered community with documentation for its land rights without ensuring intra-community mechanisms to hold leaders accountable to good governance may make land dealings even more unjust and quicken the pace of land alienation.

Rachael Knight. 19 July 2012. Empowering communities to document and protect their land claims: A solution to the global land grab? TerraNullius.

This post summarizes the major findings of the first phase of the Community Land Protection Program from 2009-2011. The study found that successful community land protection efforts combine three critical components: the technical task of mapping and titling community lands, the peace-building task of land conflict resolution, and the governance task of strengthening local land administration and management.

Other Resources

Mokoro Land Rights Library: Recommended publications on Land Rights in Africa from various sources. View.