LRFRP Final Report

Throughout Tajikistan, land, and access to it, is paramount to continued resilience and improved livelihoods of rural citizens. Agricultural output, especially from small to medium sized farms, constitutes a disproportionately high percentage of Tajikistan’s overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and represents an opportunity for continued economic growth for both the farmers and the country. Since the end of Tajikistan’s civil war, and more recently over the last decade, Tajikistan has made continued progress in its efforts to reform land use through the restructuring of Soviet-style collective farms, improving legislation to provide better access to land, and supporting initiatives to develop the foundation of a market in land use – an effort to allow farmers to put land to its most productive use.

Despite progress, challenges remain, including a lack of awareness by rural populations of their rights to land, unequal distribution and documented land rights between men and women, and corruption at the national and local level attempting to prevent farmers from exercising their land-use rights. However, steadfast support to the land reform effort from USAID and other donors has allowed Tajikistan to make significant progress in overcoming these constraints. As a result, rural Tajik farmers remain motivated, and as land reform progresses, they continue to find ways to capitalize on new opportunities and thrive.

In October 2013, USAID launched the Feed the Future-funded Land Reform and Farm Restructuring Project (LRFRP), a $5.5 million, three-year project that supported the continuing process of dehkan farm restructuring and recognition of property rights leading to a market in land-use rights through four key tasks: 1) legislative reform, 2) building the capacity of Tajik officials, farmers, rural stakeholders, and civil society, 3) increased public information and awareness, and 4) provision of legal advice and assistance to rural farmers. LRFRP’s broad range of activities covered 12 districts in the Khatlon region, which comprises 67 jamoats (see Exhibit 1). To achieve its results, LRFRP worked through the four mutually reinforcing project tasks, generating significant reforms and improved awareness among Tajik citizens that will have lasting effects for generations to come.

  • Through improved legislation and support to legislative drafting, LRFRP supported the creation of, and amendments to, legislation that dramatically improves the lives of Tajik farmers in the near and long term. Throughout implementation, LRFRP staff supported the analysis and development of 14 pieces of legislation to advance the land reform process. Most significantly, with LRFRP assistance, the new Law on Dehkan Farms was signed into effect by President Rahmon on March 3, 2016. As a result of this law, and other legislative successes, farmers and their dehkan farms can legally be registered ensuring better protection under the law.
    • Another critical milestone was the submission of the draft regulation on granting land users paid and unpaid land-use rights and the right of alienation (ROA) of land-use rights, (i.e., the right to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, donate, or transfer the rights to use specific land plots). ROA, when passed, will mark a significant step forward in the land reform process as it sets the foundation for the creation of a market for land-use rights.
  • Capacity building efforts took shape in many ways throughout the Khatlon region. As implementation occurred, it became clear to the project that the State Unitary Enterprise for the Registration of Immovable Property (SUERIP) at the national and local level needed significant support to provide documented property rights to rural citizens. At SUERIP’s request, LRFRP staff initiated a significant capacity building program focused on improving the agency’s focus on client services, introducing streamlined registration procedures through the implementation of one-stop-shop principles, and facilitating the creation of three pilot registration offices, including the implementation of reformed registration processes and provision of information technology upgrades to improve the efficiency of farm registration.
  • Complementing legislative reform and capacity building efforts, LRFRP designed and implemented a robust public information awareness campaign through multiple channels, including print, TV, radio, public-private dialogues, and improved access of information to high-school and college students. In particular, LRFRP was able to introduce land reform coursework into 629 high schools throughout the Khatlon region, reaching more than 31,000 students and 1,200 teachers. Coursework will have a ripple effect throughout the region, as our interviews with students show that they share the lessons they learn with their families, many of whom are farm workers.
  • Without legal advice and assistance, reforms would not have the impact that they do. Throughout implementation, LRFRP supported 12 Legal Aid Centers (LACs), one in each of the 12 project districts, to ensure that Tajik farmers have access to critical legal support if/when needed. LACs also supported a network of 67 tashabuskors (rural land activists) to serve as field-based information providers and act as a formal referral system for farmers in need of LAC support. Through project-supported LACs, farmers won 93 percent of cases, either through mediation or in court, resulting in the return of 750 hectares of land to 830 farmers.

The broad-based impact of LRFRP’s innovative approaches to land reform and farm restructuring surpassed nearly every indicator measured and had a tangible effect on Tajik citizens. In total, the project has helped more than 56,000 people acquire documented property rights, provided training that reached more than 88,000 citizens, and almost 29,000 farmers have received legal services through projectsponsored LACs. As a result, 82 percent of citizens are now aware of their freedom to farm, a critical indicator in their awareness of the land reform process.

Project Activities and Key Outcomes

Project activities were developed to achieve the project’s ultimate goal — agricultural productivity through strengthened property rights and more efficient use of land. Through USAID support, LRFRP supported the institutions necessary to develop a land market. Our experience in Tajikistan and our broader regional experience supporting land reform and market development in Central Asia underscore the importance of identifying local champions and establishing political buy-in from government institutions to support the land reform agenda. USAID’s investments have supported Tajikistan’s progress in land reform for nearly a decade, and Chemonics is proud to have helped almost every step of the way.

MAST Report: Lessons Learned

This report describes the genesis, implementation and outcomes of the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST) Pilot project. MAST was implemented in three villages in Iringa District in Tanzania between 2014 and 2016. The original goal of the project was to provide a “proof of concept” that mobile technologies could be provided to community members, along with training on land laws and rights, in order to efficiently and effectively capture land rights information. Rather quickly, the pilot transformed into a collaborative experiment with the Government of Tanzania to work with rural villagers and the District Land Office in Iringa Rural District to formally document rights to land, in this case by providing Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs).

The pilot developed a software application suite that includes a mobile data collection application and a web-based database to store collected land rights information. District Land Officers validate the collected data and use it to generate reports and issue Adjudication Forms and CCROs – thus helping the government achieve a key development goal of titling properties to secure tenure and enhance the enabling environment. The pilot also developed a robust implementation methodology that trained local women and men on the provisions of Tanzania’s land laws and specifically, on women’s rights under these laws. The project helped, as needed, to establish local governance institutions and to provide specific training for members of the Village Council and Land Adjudication Committee members on their roles and responsibilities under the laws. Villagers learned about the process of land adjudication and the likely benefits and challenges of the process on a hamlet-by-hamlet (or “hyper-local”) basis. This deep engagement at the village level helped to improve buy-in to, and support for, this new process.

The pilot trained local literate youth – women and men – to use the mobile data collection application to map and record the land rights of their neighbors. These youth, called “Trusted Intermediaries” also received training on the land laws and the land adjudication process, and then proceeded to map all parcels in the three villages in which MAST operated. In addition, Trusted Intermediaries from Village 1 (Ilalasimba) helped to train Trusted Intermediaries in Village 2 (Itagutwa) and those from Village 2 helped to train Trusted Intermediaries in Village 3 (Kitawaya). The project aimed for a gender balance among Trusted Intermediaries and on Land Adjudication Committees.

Final Report: Promoting Peace Project – Rwanda

Executive Summary

This is the final report for the Promoting Peace: Mitigating and Managing Property Rights Disputes in Rwanda Project (Promoting Peace Project), covering the project in full (August 2013-January 2016). The project was funded through a cooperative agreement with USAID-Rwanda, with a total value of $1,159,142.

The goal of the Promoting Peace project was to increase legal literacy and respect for women’s land rights, and facilitate participatory and inclusive property rights dispute management in Rwanda’s Eastern Province. It aimed to achieve this goal through two objectives:

  • Create an institutionalized network of CRPs (Community Resources Persons) trained to facilitate management and mitigation of land disputes in their communities, and
  • Improve the legal, policy, and institutional framework for land dispute management by making it more responsive, participatory, and better informed.

These objectives were accomplished through implementation of field activities in a pilot project over the course of 18 months, and complementary learning and dissemination efforts. Because of the conflict between customary and formal rights to land for women, the pilot interventions focused on women’s intra-household land disputes, though efforts were made to engage the wider community through awareness raising and community dialogues.

The project was implemented as a collaboration between international NGO Landesa, the National Women’s Council of Rwanda (whose members were CRPs for the project), international NGO Search for Common Ground, and local NGO Haguruka.

At the conclusion of the project, a number of notable achievements emerged, including: 

  • Capacity development of partner organization Haguruka; and development of synergistic partnership between Haguruka and Search for Common Ground-Rwanda
  • Capacity development of 26 Sector-level CRPs in legal literacy, and conflict resolution, communication, and leadership skills; and further training of Cell- and Village-level CRPs by Sector CRPs through a Training of Trainers (TOT) model resulting in 3,450 person-trainings of local women to serve as resources in their communities
  • Dissemination of legal literacy and conflict resolution awareness through the facilitation of approximately 350 Community Dialogues with more than 9,400 total attendances (5,100 female and 4,300 male); airing of 90 community radio programs; and receipt of nearly 1,800 calls through an informational hotline
  • Peaceful resolution of more than 400 land related disputes
  • Increases in legal literacy around women’s land rights, confidence in exercising those rights, and changes in attitudes and perceptions around land dispute resolution

This final project report provides an introduction to the project, including background on the land context in Rwanda and the project logic model. Section I covers project administration and logistics, and Section II provides an overview of project activities and outcomes. Section III focuses on findings from project assessment and evaluation of impact on targeted areas. Section IV notes communications and media coverage of the project that helped to disseminate information about the project’s activities and impact. Finally, Section V shares insights drawn from the project, highlighting successful project elements, lessons learned, and related issues for further inquiry and consideration. Annexes to the report include “Most Significant Change” stories of project participants, and all assessment tools and training materials.

Kenya Justice Project Final Report

This report is the final report for the pilot project, Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest, Kenya (the Justice Project or Project), a project that specifically targeted a customary justice institution in an effort to test a model for transforming that institution into supporters and enforcers of women’s land rights. This Final Report discusses: (1) Project background; (2) Project administration and logistics; (3) Project activities and outcomes; (4) a summary of the Project impact evaluation; (5) related communications efforts; and (6) conclusions.

For the average woman in rural Kenya, access to justice begins and ends in her village. Too often, the obstacles rural women face to access formal courts are formidable, including long travel distances; high costs for legal counsel; time-consuming delays; and language barriers. Instead, they may turn for redress to typically all-male customary justice institutions located within their communities. Here, too, rural women often face obstacles. They may be culturally prohibited from appearing before the customary institution because their community considers women to be minors, or if it is culturally appropriate for women to assert claims, they may face deeply embedded biases against women rooted in tradition or religion.

The primary objective of the Justice Project was to pilot an approach for improving women’s access to justice related to land rights by building the capacity of customary justice actors, particularly traditional elders, to support and enforce women’s land rights, consistent with the Constitution. Because traditional elders enjoy strong social legitimacy, influence the allocation of rights to land and natural resources, and resolve disputes, engaging them in strengthening women’s access to justice may lead to more secure resource rights for women, their families, and their communities as well as contribute to a more equitable rule of law.

Legal rights to land are necessary but not sufficient. There must also be in place institutions at the national and local levels that recognize and enforce those rights. Given that in Kenya the typically all-male elder institution wields significant influence over rural women’s access to land and resources, the Justice Project tested an approach for transforming such actors through legal literacy training and facilitated dialogue into supporters of women’s formal land rights. In so doing, the pilot project intended to help develop a clearer understanding of the relationships between customary and statutory law and thereby develop a model to promote the integration of informal and formal justice mechanisms. This approach was particularly timely in Kenya given the recent adoption of a new constitution that guarantees equal rights for women as well as mandates the promotion of “traditional dispute resolution mechanisms,” to the extent such mechanisms are consistent with the Constitution.

The Justice Project technical approach was multi-faceted, coming at access to justice issues from multiple directions, through multiple actors, and using multiple methods. The approach was as participatory as possible, using applied learning techniques appropriate to the target populations, namely: elders and chiefs, women, teachers, and youth (ages 18-35). The Project expected to see increased sensitivity to and respect for women’s land rights in elders’ efforts to resolve disputes through several methods: (1) legal literacy trainings focused on governance, land and forest rights, and the rights of women; (2) skills trainings on alternative dispute resolution and public speaking; and (3) facilitated conversations to reflect on the meaning of the above on their lives.

Underlying the pilot approach is the following hypothesis: women’s access to customary justice will improve with the confluence of four events: (1) passage of a new constitution creating new land rights or significantly strengthening existing land rights; (2) legal recognition of customary justice institutions; (3) legal literacy trainings; and (4) community conversations, i.e., facilitated dialogue on the implications of such legal changes within a “safe space.”

USAID initially funded the pilot for a one-year period, followed by a second commitment of funds to support an impact evaluation as well as a national workshop in Nairobi. All told, the Justice team worked with the pilot community for a 12-month period, with the other twelve months spent on work planning and curriculum development, the evaluation, the National Workshop, and close-out.

Kenya Transition Initiative – Kitale Final Report

The main objective of the Grant was to facilitate documenting processes and the process review for the Ministry of Lands, Kitale.

The main activities which were funded by this grant were as follows:

  • Preparation of a USER GUIDE that would systematize the work processes in a working document that would be a resource for staff and service users.
  • INVENTORY TAKING of all records within the four departments of the ministry.
  • STAKEHOLDER FORUM for Trans Nzoia County to discuss the emerging and other pertinent land issues, and the reforms currently taking place in the land sector.

Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) Pilot Program – Guinea: Closeout Report January – April 2009

Political events in the Republic of Guinea in the first quarter of 2009 resulted in the closing of the Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development (PRADD) Pilot Project—at a time the project was gathering significant momentum. This report describes the key actions carried out and highlights information gathered during final consultations with actors in artisanal diamond sector that could inform decisions regarding an eventual resumption of PRADD in Guinea, when the political situation improves.

Lessons Learned: Property Rights and Natural Resources Management: Close-Out Report

USAID is making a strategic commitment to developing a stronger, more robust policy for addressing property rights reform in countries where it operates. As land is a main factor for economic production in most USAID presence countries, it is the main focus of the Lessons Learned: Property Rights and Natural Resources Management Task Order under the Rural and Agricultural Incomes with a Sustainable Environment Indefinite Quantity Contract. This report is the close-out report for the task order and provides an overview of the tasks performed.

Angola: Strengthening Land Tenure and Property Rights: Final Report

This report covers the full period of implementation of the Strengthening Land Tenure and Property Rights in Angola Project. ARD, Inc. worked with Development Workshop Angola (DW) and the Rural Development Institute (RDI) to implement a 15-month project to develop a methodology to assist peri-urban and rural households improve their land tenure security. The project was based in Huambo Province where DW has a long history of providing assistance in land and social service issues. Two pilot sites were selected in the province to test the methodology: one rural community in the eastern part of the province, Mombolo village, and one peri-urban community on the outskirts of Huambo town, Bom Pastor.

Burundi Land Related Program Activities 2006 – 07: Completion Report

USAID is providing policy and legislative support to the Government of Burundi (GOB) and other stakeholders in the land sector. The first phase of USAID’s assistance included a number of assessment activities such as: determining the legislative status of the draft Land Law; identifying key GOB actors; summarizing the land related activities of other donors and civil society; and confirming the nature of land-related conflicts.