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

By: 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 are enormous which include contribution towards poverty alleviation, security of tenure, management of land disputes, improvement of land planning, management of natural resources and protection of the environment, amongst others. However, in developing countries, cadastres only covers about 30% of the country and 70% are not covered by any formal land registration and information systems.

By now, stakeholders are aware of the emergence of a potential solution – the Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM). STDM is a more flexible land information system that can handle various types of land rights and claims particularly in informal settlements. In June 2010, a joint project proposal between UN-Habitat/GLTN Secretariat and Slum Dwellers International aimed at piloting STDM in Uganda as a way of addressing the information requirements of the urban poor for wider learning and application was developed and submitted to Cities Alliance for funding purposes.

The project design was based on two pillars: strengthening partnerships at all levels and building from community strengths and processes. With these two pillars, Cities Alliance, Slum Dwellers International, UN-Habitat/Global Land Tool Network Secretariat, Ministry of Land and Housing and Urban Development, Actogether and Mbale Municipality have provided advisory, technical and capacity development inputs. Most of the work including mapping, enumeration, community mobilisation, local consultations and sensitization and data entry, analysis and validation were done by Mbale Slum Federation and community members themselves.