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Improving Accountability in Agricultural Investments: Reflections from Legal Empowerment Initiatives in West Africa

A recent surge in agribusiness plantation deals has increased pressures on land in many low- and middle-income countries. Rural people have mobilized to protect their rights, seek better terms or oppose the deals altogether. Since 2014, a set of initiatives in Cameroon, Ghana and Senegal has worked to help people harness the law in order to have greater control over decisions that affect them – a process commonly referred to as legal empowerment.

In the three countries, the initiative developed diverse approaches, responding to different local contexts and theories of change. Each approach embodied a distinctive combination of grassroots action, public advocacy, and private sector engagement – through supporting junior lawyers in Cameroon, grassroots committees in Ghana and locally negotiated “land charters” in Senegal.

In the final year of project implementation, the project teams met at a writeshop to distill lessons learned and write them up for wider dissemination. This report presents the results of that work. It summarizes insights from first-hand experiences of helping rural people exercise their rights and, ultimately, claim their own future.

Uploaded on: May 22, 2018
Year Published: 2017

Resource Tags

Resource Type: Impact Evidence Issues: Community Organizing, Community Paralegals, Generalist Legal Services, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Legal Aid & Public Interest Law Tool Type: Case Study, Manuals & Guides, Training Resources & Popular Education Method: Improving Governance, Accountability and Transparency, Promoting Citizens' Participation in Governance Languages: English Regions: Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal Nature of Impact: Citizen Action & Participation, Citizens' Willingness to Act, Legal Knowledge and Skills, Positive Impact Scale of Intervention/Impact: Unknown Institutions Engaged: Local legislative representative, NGOs, Public / Private Enterprises, Traditional / Customary Authorities Evaluation Method: Anecdotal Evidence, Interviews, Observation