The Community Land Titling Initiative: An Investigation into the Protection of Customary Land Claims

The Community Land Titling Initiative was designed to investigate how to best support communities to follow existing national laws that allow communities to document and title their lands as a single legal entity and operate as decentralized land administration and management bodies. The project therefore investigated the following central questions:
  • What type and level of support do communities require to successfully complete formal community land titling processes?; and
  • How to best facilitate the protection of the land rights of women and other vulnerable groups in the context of decentralized land management and administration?


To investigate the central questions, 58 communities across the three nations were randomly assigned into four treatment groups, each of which received a different level of legal support (a control group, a group that received monthly legal education, a group that received monthly legal education and paralegal support, and a group that received the full assistance of legal and technical professionals). The communities’ progress was then tracked through, inter alia, obsevation, a pre- and post-service survey of over 2,225 individuals and more than 250 focus group discussions.
The publications detail the findings of this research, and set forth a variety of recommendations intended to: support lawmakers and other stakeholders to draft, amend and strengthen community titling laws and regulations so as to make community land documentation procedures easier for both communities and land administrators to follow help civil society and government agencies to best and most efficiently support communities to successfully protect their lands through legally-established land documentation processes; help civil society and government agencies to devise and pilot strategies to guard against intra-community land-related injustice and discrimination; and address and resolve procedural obstacles to fast, inexpensive and streamlined community land delimitation.
The three country reports analyze each nation’s existing community land documentation laws and procedures and detail the study communities’ respective experiences following these laws. The international report reviews the three national experiences and makes comparative analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of each process, as well as the study communities’ experiences, cross nationally. These reports describe the processes in detail, provide in-depth statistical analysis, and showcase the wide range of data collected. The policy briefs highlight the Community Land Titling Initiative’s main findings and briefly outline suggested recommendations.