In 2019, LANDac launched the Professional Learning Network on Land Governance and Field Mediation. The programme brings together professionals working on sustainable and/or inclusive land governance in a community of practice. While working at NGOs, governmental agencies, universities or businesses, these LANDac fellows (based in different African countries) will exchange experiences and best practices. Furthermore, they will bring stakeholders together in the field to identify ways to make land-based investments – whether in agriculture, infrastructure, nature conservation or natural resource extraction – more inclusive and sustainable.
Over the years, through extensive research and multi-stakeholder projects like the LANDforum, CITYforum, the Securing Women’s Land Rights in Africa Programme and Learning Platforms, we have found that when it comes to (foreign) investments in land in the global South, the quality of environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) tends to be poor and does not allow for mapping the full range of socio-economic impact pathways. Often, engagement with local communities takes place at the tail end of investment preparations and the level of community participation is limited. Due to the lack of information, expectations about the benefits of the investments are often not met and there is no systematic approach of monitoring or keeping communities ‘in the loop’. There is a clear need for more knowledge about ‘best practices’: how do we ensure Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), fair consultation processes and equal benefit sharing between investors and communities? Through learning and exchange, this programme aims to address those questions.
The Professional Learning Network (PLN) brings together researchers and practitioners working on the issues of sustainable and inclusive land-based investments in 10 sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, and Uganda. The first cohort which came together in Utrecht, the Netherlands in June 2019 comprised of nine fellows. Following in-person training and participation at the LANDac Annual International Conference and the 2019 Summer School in ‘Land Governance for Development’, the fellows returned to their home base from where they monitored selected land-based investments and their impacts on local communities and identified opportunities to make these investments more inclusive and profitable for local people.
Beginning in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and flows of people and information became severely restricted, the LANDac fellows continued to meet online to exchange and update each other about the new realities in their country. From the start of the crisis, they have been closely monitoring and exchanging real-time information on the impacts of the coronavirus and government measures on land governance and the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups. These processes of co-learning have been particularly valuable, both for fellows, who learn from other contexts and each other’s expertise and experience and for LANDac members based outside SSA as they could get first-hand information about the pandemic’s impact on SSA through professionals on the ground.
In October 2020, we welcomed the second cohort to the Network and it currently consists of 19 professionals from 10 different SSA countries. It capitalises on the ongoing processes of co-production of knowledge and co-learning and sharing of knowledge with local and international stakeholders. Specifically, monthly exchange seminars are held where fellows share their work that is related to the impacts of land-based investments on local communities. In addition, together, they design and implement action and research on the ground to fill knowledge gaps, monitor trends and identify best practices. Furthermore, LANDac continuously facilitates learning and exchange between the fellows and LANDac partners. With the programme, LANDac creates an international network of land governance fellows that regularly comes together, addressing the need for more South-South learning and exchange. By expanding the network each year with a new group of fellows, LANDac aims to strengthen its ties with professionals on the ground and contribute to more sustainable and inclusive investments.
The PLN’s work resulted in several publications, which are accessible on this webpage. In 2022, the fellows will concentrate on the visualisation (for example in the form of short documentaries or photo essays) of the key messages and findings of the studies they carried out in 2021 in four working groups. These visualisation projects will be centred around local community members and other stakeholders such as government officials and investors where applicable.
Revisiting the notion of profit-sharing: A bottom-up perspective on resettlement and fair compensation
This working group focuses on what is considered fair compensation according to various communities and how this information can inform displacement and resettlement processes in Uganda and South Africa. The findings from the study showed diverse opinions from different groups of people about what is considered to be fair compensation. The different groups identified within communities all of whom tended to have slightly diverging priorities and perspectives on investments, and opinions on resettlement, displacement and fair compensation.
Group members: Emilinah Namaganda, Teddy Kisembo, and Molatelo Mohale
Investigate the trend of large-scale land-based investments in Africa
Based on the Land Matrix, the rise in agricultural land deals started to level out in 2012, with the data available indicating that the number of deals under contract have been on decline. However, little is known about the cause of the changing trends and long-term implications on the local communities’ livelihoods. This working group’s aim is to understand the recent trends and the long-term implication of large-scale land acquisition as well as the community perspectives on the investment’s areas. It involves four countries case studies; carried out in Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia.
Group members: Wegayehu Fitawek, James Wangu, Paul Andoh, Evangelista Mazala
Gendered impacts of large-scale land-based investment
This working group focuses on the gendered effects of large-scale land-based investments (LSLBI) in Kenya, Tanzania, Liberia, and Ethiopia. It provides a comparison of positive and negative impacts of LSLBIs on local communities – especially women and the key drivers behind the reported impacts. The findings are drawn from eight case studies in the mining and agriculture sector, this report also includes a set of suggestions to improve similar future investment initiatives in Africa.
Group members: Arach David James, John F Kelvin, Naomi, Hanna Habtemariam
Evaluating land titling to strengthen tenure security in the context of customary land
The goal of this working group is to assess the situation of customary land registration in Uganda, Malawi, and Mozambique, focusing predominantly on large scale land based investments.
Group members: Kate Chimwana, Junior Alves Sebbanja, Judith Atukunda, Clemente Ntauazi
A video about experiences of fair compensation in South Africa and Uganda made by the fellows in addition to their research report.
The activities of the Professional Learning Network are planned and coordinated by James Wangu (Utrecht University), Teddy Kisembo (Makerere University), Annelies Zoomers (Utrecht University), Griet Steel (Utrecht University), and Dominique Schmid (Utrecht University and Universitat Pompeu Fabra).
Please contact Dominique Schmid at email@example.com for more information.
Picture: Romy Santpoort (Shared Value Foundation & LANDac)
Kenya: Arach David James (Senior Program Officer, Namati)
David is a Ugandan national who has experience working with local communities on land governance and strengthening of tenure security. Currently based in Nairobi – Kenya, David is Namati’s Senior Program Officer working on Community Land Protection. He is armed with a strong passion for justice, advocating for security of tenure, and strengthening communities’ ability to protect, document and defend their land rights. Before joining Namati, David worked with Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) to implement a Community Land Protection Program in Northern Uganda. David graduated from Makerere University, Kampala in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Chemistry, where he also attended post-graduate courses in M&E and Statistical Data Management. In addition, he has received formal training in facilitation skills.
Keywords: community land, social justice, facilitation
Uganda: Judith Atukunda (Surveyor and geomatics engineer, LANDnet Uganda)
In her position at LANDnet, Judith Atukunda supports research in various aspects of land governance on topics such as customary land administration and land-based investments. In her work, Judith aims to leverage geospatial technology for land governance and is keen on redefining the use of open data as well as the application of earth observation technology in land management and administration. Judith is experienced in creating and using geospatial data for humanitarian causes and has been involved in voluntary mapping with YouthMappers. She currently is an active trainer and member of OpenStreetMap Uganda. As a fellow, Judith is interested to work on data collection and analysis of large-scale land-based investments and their impact on customary land rights. Judith holds a deep passion for youth involvement, leadership and participation as a mentor and former scholar of the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust (TEST) for Africa and is part of the committee steering the development and implementation of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Youth and Land Governance Strategy 2019 – 2024.
Keywords: customary land rights, youth involvement, geospatial technologies
South-Africa: Wegayehu Fitawek (Land Matrix Africa and PhD student at the University of Pretoria)
Wegayehu is a PhD candidate in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Besides her PhD, Wegayehu is currently working on the Land Matrix Africa database as a data editor. The Land Matrix is an independent land monitoring initiative that promotes transparency and accountability in decisions over large-scale agricultural investments in low- and middle-income countries by capturing and sharing data about these deals at global, regional, and national level. The Land Matrix open-access platform help to find detailed information about deals in almost 100 countries all over the world, including intended, concluded, and failed attempts that acquire land through purchase, lease or concession for a wide range of agriculture and non-agriculture investment deals. Wegayehu has a Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) in Agricultural Economics from Haramaya University and Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria and Haramaya University. Her PhD research focus on the impact of large-scale agricultural investments on household food security in Africa. Her interest as a LANDac fellow is to improve the availability of information on land-based investments in Africa to ensure local communities are not missing out.
Keywords: Land Matrix, agricultural economics, food security
South-Africa: Molatelo Mohale (Land activist, writer and programme officer at Nkuzi Development Association)
Molatelo Mohale is a land activist and a writer advocating for social and economic justice in the land and agriculture sector in South Africa. He is currently working as a Programme Officer at Nkuzi Development Association, a land rights based support non-profit organisation based in Polokwane, Limpopo in South Africa. He is a fellow of international Land Coalition-Jai jagat Fellowship 2020, an international movement advocating for justice and peace. During this fellowship programme he joined a global march for peace that started in October in India, New Delhi before it was abruptly called off amid the spread of the global Coronavirus Pandemic.
Keywords: social justice, land rights, journalism
Ghana: Paul Andoh (Founder and executive director of the Centre for Land Policy Initiative)
Paul is a land tenure and real estate professional with over ten years of experience in the land sector in Ghana. Driven by the challenges he encountered, Paul founded the Centre for Land Policy Initiative(CLPI), a land policy Think tank in Ghana to address those challenges. Paul holds master’s degree in Land Policy and Administration from the University of Cape Coast, and a bachelor’s degree in Land Economy from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. His area of expertise covers Land Tenure and Property Rights, Land Policy Analysis, Real Estate Development, Land Administration and Management as well as Project Management. He is a member of Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy (CASLE).
Keywords: land policy, land tenure, real estate
Sierra Leone: Buawah Jobo Samba (head of National Land Policy and VGGT implementation secretariat at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning)
Buawah Jobo Samba has over ten years’ experience working in rural and urban areas in Sierra Leone in the field of natural resource management. As the head of the National Land Policy and Voluntary Guidelines implementation secretariat at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Samba has been instrumental in the development of the National Land Policy for Sierra Leone and establishment of the institutional framework that promotes multi-stakeholder collaboration on responsible Governance of Forest, Land and Fisheries. Building on his experience with GIS and Remote Sensing, Samba has successfully delineated, demarcated and surveyed several forests reserves and national parks in Sierra Leone using GIS and Remote Sensing techniques. In addition, he has trained staff from several ministries to use and mainstream GPS/GIS technologies. Buawah attended the Prince of Wales Secondary School, where he joined the Conservation Society. This motivated him to pursue a Bachelor degree in Environmental Physics at the Njala University, which he completed with Honors. He also holds a Masters’ degree in GIS and Remote Sensing from the University of Aberystwyth in the United Kingdom. He is currently the Head of the National Land Policy and VGGT implementation secretariat in Sierra Leone.
Keywords: legal frameworks, VGGT’s, geospatial technologies
Mozambique: Clemente Ntauazi (project manager at LIVANINGO)
Clemente Jorge Ntauazi is a Programme Manager at LIVANINGO (Associação para a Preservação e Defesa do Meio Ambiente). He has over 6 years of field based research experience in land based investments in Mozambique and more recently in southern Africa. He has conducted various research on land-based investments, food security, food sovereignty and land governance commissioned by and or in collaboration with national and international organizations. Clemente has wide experience in project management mainly in the field of Community Development projects. He is an expert in designing projects that include good governance, lobby, and advocacy. In this field, he is well-known within Mozambique and can rely on a wide network of Civil Society organisations, as well as government actors. He conducted community training on lobbying, advocacy, movement building, and community development.
Keywords: community development, advocacy, good (land) governance
Ethiopia: Hanna Habtemariam (Lecturer at Addis Ababa University)
Hanna Habtemariam has a background in biology and environmental science and has combined this expertise with her interests in sustainable land management and agriculture. She held a position as a Young Expert at Wageningen University and Research, focusing on sustainable and equitable land management: helping farmers to increase their livelihoods while taking care of the land and environment. She furthermore has experience as a consultant for the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and is frequently consulted as an expert on developmental interventions in relation to environmental pollution and water management. She currently works as a lecturer at the Center for Environmental Sciences at the Addis Ababa University
Keywords: Environmental pollution, water management, climate change
Liberia: John Fayiah Kelvin (Land Rights Program Coordinator at the Rice and Rights Foundation)
As a program manager and coordinator in the field of land governance, John has a wealth of experience setting up and running programmes that aim to accomplish more equitable and sustainable land governance within Liberia, particularly for women, youth and other minority groups. His organization, the Rights and Rice Foundation promotes social justice and economic empowerment throughout the country. During his career, John has contributed to a variety of development projects from a young age and during turbulent times in Liberia. John is a skilled trainer and facilitator of multi-stakeholder dialogues on land governance, always bringing together relevant actors and starting a dialogue between them. He is currently the National Coordinator Multi-Actor Partnership Platform (MAP) on Land governance, in collaboration with the International Land Coalition through the National Engagement Strategy,
Keywords: Multi-stakeholder dialogue, social justice, land rights
Ethiopia: Bethelehem Fikre Beyene (Coordinator, Ethiopian Netherlands Business Association)
Betelehem is currently working for the Ethiopian Netherlands Business Association (ENLBA), where she brings together and assists Dutch companies that (want to) invest in Ethiopia. Before working for the ENBA, Betelehem worked for different investment companies as a communication officer and business analyst, and advised the United Nations Migration Agency on monitoring guidelines for rural job opportunity strategies. Betelehem obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Administrative Services Management at Addis Ababa University and her Master’s degree in Social Policy for Development at the Erasmus University.
Senegal: Elhadji Faye (Program Coordinator, Enda Pronat Senegal)
Elhadji Faye is a rural development expert, with a background in rural sociology (BA) and rural development (MSc). At the NGO Enda Pronat, ElHadji focuses specifically on land and natural resource governance. Land transactions and (foreign) investments are a major part of his work. For ElHadji represents his organisation in a network organization called CRAFS: the Framework for Dialogue and Action on Land in Senegal. CRAFS was initiated by Enda Pronat together with farmers associations, and supports local communities in securing their land rights. CRAFS also mediates when conflict is the result of land transactions. Last but not least, Elhadji is involved in the Observatory on Land Governance that tracks land acquisitions and dynamics in Senegal.
Kenya: Fridah Githuku (Executive Director, GROOTS Kenya)
As head of GROOTS Kenya, Fridah leads a grassroots movement that champions land tenure security for women and marginalized groups. Fridah advocates for a bottom-up and rights-based approach toward tenure security and has worked to build and disseminate evidence on the importance of land rights for women through the Women2Kilimanjaro Initiative and LANDac’s Women’s Land Rights Programme. Fridah has a Bachelors in Arts-Economics and Political Science.
Ethiopia: Hiwot Tadesse (Agricultural Value Chain Facilitator, Resilience BV Ethiopia)
With a background in Economics and Development Policy Analysis, Hiwot is currently working for Resilience BV to consult (Dutch) agribusinesses in Ethiopia. Over the past years, through her work within agribusiness consultancy, Hiwot has knowledge and experience working together in a multi stakeholder context with businesses, farmers and governmental actors. In a context in which land disputes have led to displacement, violence and political turmoil, Hiwot aims to assist both communities and investors to solve land disputes and set clear and effective agendas.
Uganda: Junior Alves Sebbanja (Physical Planner ACTogether Uganda)
Junior Sebbanja is a physical planner currently working at ACTogether in Kampala, Uganda. At ACTogether, as an assistant Program Officer, Junior supports urban poor communities organized in the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda. Junior specializes in participatory data collection and planning activities together with urban poor communities. For example, in collaboration with IHS, Junior supervised a research team that aimed to understand how land values have influenced the distribution of urban population in both Kampala and Arua region. Through his work and the challenges he encounters related to urban growth and development, Junior is committed to address and learn more about issues of urban land governance and securing the rights of vulnerable groups in the city.
Mozambique: Nzira de Deus (Executive Director, Fórum Mulher)
At Fórum Mulher, a network of organisations that promote gender equality and women’s rights, Nzira initiated a rural women’s network where women farmers share their challenges and work together for their rights. Nzira has managed the LANDac Women’s Land rights Programme and is part of the Coordination Committee of the International Civil Society Mechanism for the United Nations Committee for food security. She has a background in International Relations and Diplomacy, Local and Territorial Development and Leadership and Management Projects in Gender Approaches.
Sudan: Salaheldin Abukashawa (Program Manager, ISTIDAMA Centre for Land and Environmental Governance)
As a land mapping specialist from Sudan, Salaheldin has worked on land governance for the past seven years. Before he initiated the Centre for Land and Environmental Governance in Sudan (the ISTIDAMA Centre), where he works as a strategist, researcher and lecturer, Salaheldin worked as a manager at the Ministry of Physical Planning. Salaheldin obtained a master’s degree in International Relations, Geoinformation Science and Earth Observations at the University of Twente and a Bachelor’s degree in Surveying Engineering.
Uganda: Teddy Kisembo (Researcher, Urban Action Lab Makerere University)
Teddy is a an urban planner and researcher working on urban resilience projects in Uganda, with previous experience as a supervisor for IIED and the Young African Refugees for Integral Development on a project on Refugees’ access to health and infrastructure services in East Africa. She obtained a Master’s degree in Land Use and Regional Development at Makerere University and collaborated with the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS) on spatial inequality, urban transitions and complex land markets. Her interest as a LANDac fellow lies in her experience working on flood risk management investments and resettlement in Kampala.
Ethiopia: Senait Worku (PhD Candidate, Utrecht University)
Senait Getahun Worku is a PhD student at Utrecht University working with the International Development Studies group and a lecturer at St. Mary’s University in Ethiopia. As a LANDac fellow, Senait will bring in her PhD research that focuses on the impact of foreign agribusiness investments on local food security in Ethiopia. The research is conducted within a wider multi-stakeholder research program called ‘ Follow the Food’ that compares case studies of agribusiness investments from Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya, with the ultimate aim to enhance food security.
Kenya: James Wangu (PhD Candidate, Utrecht University) James Wangu is a PhD candidate within the ‘Follow the Food research project’ at Utrecht University. As a LANDac fellow, James will bring in his knowledge and experience related to his research in Kenya. His research focuses on ways that foreign and presumed inclusive agribusiness investments in smallholder farming impact local food security. The overall objective of this project is to enhance food security in Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya through targeted advice for (Dutch) agribusiness investors, policy makers and other stakeholders in the three countries on the possible impact pathways from global agribusiness investments to local food security, and the risks and opportunities involved.
Zambia: Evangelista Miti Mazala (PhD Candidate)
Evangelista Miti Mazala is a development practitioner with wide experience in agricultural extension, grassroots community mobilization and land tenure research. She has worked for both Government and Non Governmental Organisations. She holds a degree in Agricultural Science and a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies (with a focus on environment and sustainable development). She is currently in the initial stages of a doctoral degree in poverty, land and agrarian studies. She has attended several short courses which include teaching methodology, gender and development as well as participatory monitoring and evaluation. Evangelista has a passion for grassroots community empowerment. She is a people person with good skills in establishing rapport with resource poor communities. She is also well acquainted with current discussions around sustainable development and the manner in which it relates to climate change, land tenure as well as small and medium enterprises.
Malawi: Kate Chibwana
Kate is currently facilitating the National Multistakeholder Platform on land governance in Malawi (NES MALAWI). Professionally trained as an Agricultural Economist, Kate is a social advocate by heart passionate about tackling the inequalities that hamper the enjoyment of rights those discriminated against in our society such as the youth and women especially within the land and natural resource governance sector. Kate has worked with various donors such as FAO, Oxfam and the ILC in promoting people-centered land governance especially within the context of multistakeholder engagement. She is also part of the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa, having been part of the first cohort jointly trained by the network, the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) and the Africa Land Policy Centre in the Political Economy of Land Governance in Africa in 2018. Her experience and training is channeled towards formulating and implementing innovative solutions to inclusive and participatory land reform in Malawi.