This Work Plan details activities programmed under the USAID/Rwanda Conflict Management & Mitigation Project, otherwise known as the “Land Dispute Management Project” (the “Project”). ARD, Inc. is the recipient of a USAID grant for this Project and will conduct these activities in partnership with the Office of the Registrar of Land Titles at the Rwandan Ministry of Lands, Environment, Forestry, Water, and Mines (“MINITERE”). To implement the project, ARD, Inc. has sub-contracted with the following entities: Rwandan Institute for Sustainable Development (“RISD”), Center for Justice and Peace Building (“CJP”), and the Rural Development Institute (“RDI”).
The duration of the Project is 14 months.
Thirteen years after the civil war and genocide, the Government of Rwanda (“GoR”) has made significant progress in reconciliation, governance, and land tenure reform. With donor support, the GoR established MINITERE in 1999, drafted a National Land Policy in 2000, passed the Land Policy in 2004, and passed the Organic Land Law in 2005. Throughout this process, the GoR has actively facilitated the reintegration of pre- and post-genocide exiles into Rwandan society, introduced imidugudu (grouped settlement) as a means to address land use and human settlement problems, developed the gacaca program to offer the potential of justice and reconciliation after the genocide, and put in place village-level mediators (abunzi) to hear disputes, especially land disputes.
The GoR is keenly aware of the danger of devising solutions that could destabilize the country. The government continues to peacefully absorb and reintegrate demobilized soldiers, former prisoners, and returnees (including women and children) into communities, in a situation of increasing land scarcity due to high population growth. In addition, experiences in other countries in the region suggest that effective decentralization and capacity are often the weak links in land policy implementation. Given that 90 percent of the Rwandan population depends on land as their main source of livelihood, peaceful resolution of competing land claims is critical to continued peace.
Current MINITERE land-related initiatives are focused on implementation of the Organic Land Law, including piloting a land rights formalization process, drafting the necessary implementing laws and decrees, and developing land administration capacity. (These are all part of the DFID-funded National Land Tenure Reform Program (“LTRP”)). In addition, USAID is providing legal and gender-specific implementation assistance to MINITERE under the RAISE IQC Task Order: Lessons Learned: Property Rights and Natural Resources Management, Rwanda Land-Related Program Activities (Phase III) (“Rwanda Phase III”). This Project will contribute to those efforts. It: (1) supports and strengthens local capacity to resolve land disputes that may arise in the pilot areas where land rights are being formalized; and (2) educates specific pilot communities in two GoR priority areas about the land law and avenues for seeking relief, with the goal of reducing and preventing the recurrence of land-related disputes. The Project will implement activities with particular attention to women and disadvantaged groups to help ensure they have equal access to the land dispute resolution process.
The establishment of tenure security, through appropriate legislation and socially-inclusive land rights formalization, backed by effective mechanisms for land adjudication and dispute resolution, will provide for reconciliation and further prevention of conflict.
The objectives of the Project are twofold:
- Support and strengthen capacity in two GoR priority pilot areas to resolve land disputes in a fair and efficient manner; and
- Increase public awareness about the law governing land rights and avenues for seeking peaceful
resolution of land-related disputes and conflicts.
The Project will contribute directly toward the following objectives of USAID/Rwanda:
- Strategic objectives (SO) of Improved Governance through Increased Citizen Participation (SO5) contributing to Program Component (PC) 1: mitigate conflict and support peace; and
- Operational Plan relating to “Governing Justly & Democratically” (Program Area 3 “Political Competition and Consensus-Building”).
The Project will also contribute indirectly to the Expanded Economic Opportunities SO by facilitating land tenure security, which will lay the foundation for improved agricultural and business practices.