ERC Success Story: Creating Partnerships and Nurturing Collaboration

The National Land Observatory (NLO) of Burkina Faso has been receiving financial and technical support from USAID since August 2014. The support is characterized as “start-up” and USAID has strongly encouraged the NLO to develop long-term partnerships with a network of partners to ensure future financial viability and a robust, long-term program of research, evaluation and policy recommendations targeting improved local land governance throughout the country. The NLO now appears to be making progress on the partnership front.

The Neer Tamba Project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Government of Burkina Faso, aims to empower local populations within the framework of Burkina Faso’s expanding decentralization policies. Recognizing that the rural poor often have little wealth beyond their rights to land—rights which are nearly always of an informal nature and therefore legally fragile—Neer Tamba is looking to the NLO to develop strategies to achieve land-related project program objectives including: increased awareness and education of local populations regarding rural land policies, targeted land tenure studies to fill existing information gaps, and expanded implementation of the 2009 Rural Land Tenure Law by capitalizing the results of the MCA Rural Land Governance Project (implemented 2009-2014). The new partnership provides the NLO with the opportunity to build on and reinforce the broader Neer Tamba program being implemented in 82 communes across three administrative regions of the country.

A formal collaboration agreement was signed by Neer Tamba and the NLO on March 1, 2016, for an initial year of collaboration, renewable annually for a total of eight years. Neer Tamba will provide 25,475,000 CFA (approximately $43,000) during the first year to support the following NLO activities:

  • Organization and conduct of an annual “forums” to present and discuss policies and processes for securing land-based investments in each of three administrative regions;
  • Information collection on land themes and its validation at the commune level;
  • Training of commune agents;
  • Organization of educational exchanges among local actors in the three regions;

The total value of Neer Tamba support of the NLO over the eight years is estimated at 150,000,000 CFA (approximately $250 thousand). The NLO will partner with a government agency, the General Direction for Organization of Rural Populations (DGFORM), to implement the Neer Tamba sponsored program. The NLO partnership with Neer Tamba follows an earlier agreement with the World Bank, which will finance NLO implementation of six land tenure studies during 2016-2017. At the same time, the NLO is actively pursuing additional partnerships with internationally-funded projects and programs, perhaps most notably with USAID-funded projects working under the RISE project.