Lessons Learned from CSO-led Systematic Registration of Customary Land in Zambia

Published in: Annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

Paper prepared for presentation at the “2016 WORLD BANK CONFERENCE ON LAND AND POVERTY,” The World Bank—Washington DC, March 14-18, 2016.

Authors: Christopher Mulenga (TetraTech) & Noreen Miti (Chipata District Land Alliance)

Since 2014, USAID has been supporting the Chipata District Land Alliance (CDLA), a local civil society organisation (CSO) in the Chipata District of Eastern Province, to work with four chiefdoms to carry out systematic documentation of landholdings in 138 villages as part of an impact evaluation on the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices under the Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) project. Over 18 months, the CDLA has followed a replicable, deliberate and rigorous process that relies on multiple visits, broad community engagement, and trust-building with chiefs and traditional leaders. This paper presented by the Chipata District Land Alliance explores the lessons learned from the implementation of this process related to establishing dialogue among chiefs, government and CSOs, and the associated benefits and challenges of implementing systematic registration through CSOs. The paper will track the how the systematic registration work in these trial chiefdoms has informed government processes, including the forthcoming National Land Audit and National Land Titling Program.

Key Words: Civil Society Organisation (CSO), customary land, land demarcation, village land committee (VLC).