Customary Land Tenure in Liberia: Findings and Implications Drawn from 11 Case Studies


This report synthesizes the findings from field research on land and natural resource tenure in 11 administrative clan units (henceforth referred to as „clans‟) in Liberia, including Ding, Dobli, Gbanshay, Little Kola, Mana, Motor Road, Saykleken, Tengia, Upper Workor, Ylan, and the community of Nitrian. The report presents an analysis of critical implications of the findings of the study and provides recommendations for addressing sources of tenure insecurity faced by rural communities in Liberia. The research was carried out under the auspices of the Liberian Land Commission and was undertaken with the primary purpose of improving the Commission‟s understanding of customary tenure in rural Liberia. The information and analyses are intended to enable the Land Commission to develop sound law and policy that will strengthen the land tenure security of rural communities in Liberia. This report was written as part of the Land Policy and Institutional Support (LPIS) Project, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The customary tenure studies were coordinated by Landesa and Tetra Tech ARD.

The research informing this report was gathered using Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) methods. The research team consisted of two technical leads and a researcher from Landesa, and seven Liberian researchers. The team was composed of men and women representing different professional backgrounds, regional origins, ethnicities, and ages in order to capitalize on a diversity of skills, experiences, and insights to improve the quality of the research. In each study area, the research team spent five days engaging in a series of research exercises with clan members.