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Group Ranches and the Community Land Act: Will We Correct the Mistakes of the Past or Repeat Them?

By: Namati, Eileen Wakesho

This policy brief argues that a people-driven, legally empowering implementation of Kenya’s Community Land Act (CLA) is necessary to avoid the previous pitfalls of the Land (Group Representatives) Act. This type of implementation strengthens local land governance by supporting communities to create stronger community bylaws, building the capacity of Community Land Management Committees, and strives to be as inclusive, transparent, and participatory as possible. The brief emphasizes that the process is as important as the end goal of granting legal rights to communities. Evidence demonstrates that focusing on titling alone—whether individually or at the household level—may not necessarily lead to greater tenure security for women. The focus on the process yields a stronger governance system, an inclusive and participatory decision-making process which is key in securing tenure rights. Furthermore, this policy brief calls for a shift from past practices in governance and management of undissolved group ranches and focuses on a holistic view of protection of rights and interests in community land – for both women and men.