ESAFF Uganda acknowledges that up to 2.5 Billion indigenous and small-scale farming communities’ customarily claim and manage over 50% of the globe’s lands – yet they legally own just 10% (ILC 2022). To support the struggles of the small-scale farmers -seeking to secure their land rights and guarantee their food sovereignty, ESAFF Uganda uses practical, efficient, and comprehensive approaches to amplifying their voices to secure collective land rights to play in sustainable development as seen below.
Actions & Achievements
Community Engagement Tool (CET). This tool is being used to empower and strengthen local communities to meaningfully participate in Large Scale Land Based Investments (LSLBI). Sixteen (16) grassroots structures since 2017 have been instituted and empowered in 8 districts of Mubende, Mityana, Kassanda, Amuria, Omoro, Amuru, Nwoya, and Zombo. Under the leadership of the focal teams, farming communities are mapping their sub-county natural resources, drafting community benefits agreements, developing scenario plans, and accessing information materials on land rights as well as formalizing their land rights through registrations.
The Investor Compliance Monitoring Tool (ICMT): ESAFF Uganda in partnership with GIZ developed the ICMT to provide opportunities for Government Representatives and Regulatory authorities, Investors, affected small-scale farming communities, and Civil Society (CSO) partners active in the area of investments in the land to measure and assess the compliance of investments in agriculture and forestry for responsible investments. A total of 15 investors have been assessed and many investors appreciated the tool as it guides them on what to do regarding international frameworks like VGGT and CFS-RAI principle.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism (ADRM): ESAFF Uganda established pro-community structures for affected communities and local investors to access critical justice through alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Eighteen (18) community paralegals and 6 sub-county level mediation committees with a representation of sub-county LCIII Chairpersons, SAS, CDOs, ALC Chairpersons, and Religious Leaders, have been institutionalized for mediation. Unlike formal legal processes, mediation has proven less costly, more context-specific, flexible, and relatively easily affected farming communities. Sixty-two (62) community grievances have been profiled and 33% of cases have been successfully mediated and resolved by the paralegals and committees. Community mediation is rebuilding and sustaining relationships among households, communities, and investors.
The Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS) in land rights: ESAFF Uganda uses GALS to improve the agricultural production of small-scale farmers through increased access, control, and ownership of land as a productive resource informed by gender justice. This is through addressing land rights challenges among communities and by developing win-win strategies which reinforce positive changes like the security of land rights and economic development among vulnerable groups. The system is supporting the development of action-learning skills for vulnerable women and men in land rights and land-related issues for strategies that are improving livelihoods, gender equality, relationships, and decision-making power.
Creating awareness of small-scale farmers’ land rights: Women’s land rights are still under threat because of bad cultural norms and poor implementation of policies. ESAFF Uganda is creating and providing platforms for dialogue and massive community awareness on land governance, policies and laws, access to justice, and accountability in the delivery of land services leading to the securitization of women’s land rights. This is done through Land Awareness Week and women’s land rights dialogues among others. Since 2017, ESAFF Uganda in close partnership with MLHUD and other land actors has organized 5 regional awareness weeks i.e. Acholi, Teso, Karamoja, West Nile, Central, and South Western Uganda. Subsequently, the Apaa land issue was fast-tracked by both government and CSOs, brought to the floor of Parliament and a Parliamentary Committee was appointed to investigate and come up with sustainable recommendations to resolve this conflict, compensations to affected persons and led to the establishment of strong CCO programs i.e. in Teso, under GIZ.
Influencing enabling environment for Responsible Land Governance of Tenure: ESAFF Uganda creates forums, mobilizes, and supports small-scale farmers to engage in reshaping land governance policies and laws through conducting studies, designing campaigns, and influencing policies like the Land Act – Amendment, Draft Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy, and Land Acquisition Bill, National Land Policy 2013among others in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD) and other actors in the land sector leading to the adoption of policy propositions, and the development of ordinances at the district level.