University of Yaoundé I Launches Massive Open Online Course on Land Conflicts in Africa
Under the auspices of the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA), the University of Yaoundé I (UoYI) coordinates a network of academic institutions, civil society organisations, and researchers focused on land governance issues in Central Africa. One of the network’s mandates is to promote knowledge creation and dissemination, as well as capacity building initiatives in the field of land governance.
UoYI has created a “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) on the topic of land conflicts, with the goal of spreading tools to help Africans understand, prevent, and resolve land conflicts. The MOOC addresses generic concepts related to the aforementioned themes and contextualises them to Central African realities. The project was carried out with the financial assistance of GIZ and the technical assistance of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF).
AUF oversaw the project’s overall technical implementation, drawing on the expertise of NELGA land experts from several Cameroonian universities: the University of Yaoundé I, the University of Dshang, the University of Maroua, and the University of Yaoundé II.
With the MOOC now complete, AUF, UoYI, and GIZ are planning a joint launch to encourage NELGA students and stakeholders to use the MOOC.
The goal of the launch event is to situate the MOOC within the broader context of African land conflicts, with a focus on Central Africa. It will also provide the general public with an overview of the MOOC’s content, address some technical aspects of the e-learning initiative, and announce the opening of the DAAD/NELGA call for research proposals on land and conflict for the next graduate course.
The MOOC can be found at https://conflits-fonciers.auf.org/. On March 30th, 2023, the online event will take place on MS Team.
To attend the launch, send a request through the contact us feature on the website, a DM on Twitter or a comment on Linkedin.
From NELGA Scholarship to a GIZ Advisor – Anthony’s Success Story
Working with GIZ allows me to give back to the organisation by using the skills and techniques I learned through the GIZ-assisted scholarship programme – Anthony Sarfo
One of the best things that happened to me in 2018 after finishing my undergraduate studies in Human Settlement Planning was being a part of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) In-country programme under the Strengthening Land Governance in Africa (SLGA) through the Network of Excellence in Land Governance in Africa (NELGA). The scholarship enabled me to research the contextualization of sustainable land use planning with incorporated geospatial technology tenets as input and precursor for land governance in small and intermediate urban areas.
This cumulated in a master’s degree and a position at The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
The NELGA Programme is adaptable and provides opportunities for professional and academic growth. A series of training and networking events were held to improve co-learning and scholar capacity in research approaches and methodologies, data collection, and science communication. I also attended a summer school at the Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt am Main Training programme on the theme of Environmental and remote sensing data analyses via geospatial technologies in research and teaching. This enhanced my capacity in geospatial technologies, academic communication, support and guidance, and higher education didactics. I was able to enrol in two additional courses: digital image acquisition and processing at the geomatic department and spatial documentation of land rights at the land economy department at KNUST.
With the skills acquired, my initial publication during the scholarship programme was on corruption in the land governance in Ghana, titled “Towards Elimination of Corruption in the Land Sector: Incorporation of Geospatial Technologies in Land Governance at the Local Level” published in the African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences. The paper advances a course for the incorporation of technology in land management as an indispensable endeavour to eliminate the bottlenecks and contribute to the fight against corruption in the land sector. Read More Here. Two other publications from my M.Phil. studies on the conceptualization of sustainable land use planning for land governance and the assessment of unsustainable spatial development of two intermediate towns through earth observation are in press. Further skills attained enabled me to undertake consultancy works on land use planning and adjunct lecturing roles at a prestigious university in Ghana.
I seek to contribute to methodologies for effective planning practices in Ghana in the purview of sustainability, earth observation, land governance, climate change, and gender. Presently, I am with the GIZ on the Resilient Against Climate Change (REACH) Project as a Technical Advisor (GIS and Remote Sensing). The project, being implemented in the Northern part of Ghana, works towards promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth and increasing agricultural outcomes in rural communities of the Joint Programme Area (JPA). Additionally, envisage a point where planning at the community level is enhanced through participatory Community Action Plans (CAPS) and Community Land Use Plans (CLUP) in at least 200 communities in the JPA. I deem this an opportunity to use the skills and techniques acquired during my studies with GIZ assisted scholarship programme.
Call for Papers: NELGA North Africa International Forum on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences I June 6-8, 2023
Papers are currently being accepted for the International Forum on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences to be held in Rabat, Morocco, on 6-8 June 2023.
Papers can be submitted through the Abstract Template.
The forum allows all stakeholders in geospatial sciences, land governance, land policy, and sustainable development paradigms to share their expertise, knowledge, and experiences. All participants interested in the Forum’s themes are encouraged to register by clicking this link. Registration
If a participant has submitted a contribution in French or Arabic, an abstract in English is required. Contributions will be assigned to the axes’ topics as described below. Abstracts must be uploaded through the Submission link no later than April 1st, 2023.
Find more details on the subject areas of focus in the attached documents below. If you have a question about attending the conference, submitting abstract or other queries, kindly email email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find the Call for Abstracts here in English and French for more details, especially thematic areas.
IWD2023 Q&A: Women’s Empowerment benefits Society, as Egypt has over 35% Female-Headed Households – Prof Heba Allah E. Khalil
- Prof. Dr Heba Allah Essam El-Din Khalil is a Professor of Sustainable Urbanism at the Department of Architectural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, with an academic and professional experience of more than 15 years. She is also the Senior Coordinator of the Architectural Engineering and Technology AET program at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.
- She has pursued scientific research in various fields, including community development, participatory evaluation, informal areas development, energy efficiency strategies, sustainable urbanism, affordable housing, quality of life, strategic planning, urban metabolism, urban climate and integrated urban systems with more than 25 publications including books and journal papers.
Special Focus on Leading Voices on Women’s Land Rights in Africa
How important is it for women to lift each other, and what does that mean to you?
Within the current inequitable world, women must stick together and support each other. Whether it is promoting awareness about gender equity issues, disseminating information about relevant opportunities, providing mentorship, or building the capacity of women, supporting gender equity shapes a fundamental part of my ethos.
Why do you think equity is important for women in land rights?
Land rights symbolize issues of power within society. Hence, improving women’s access to land is vital in empowering them economically and socially. As more than 35% of households in Egypt are female-headed, this indicates the importance of women’s improved capacity as it reflects society’s overall well-being.
Do you think the field of land governance has succeeded in incorporating women, conceptually and institutionally?
Various efforts have been exerted to incorporate women in land governance issues. However, there is still a gap between the conceptual frameworks and reality that stems from prolonged and systematic exclusion. Institutionally, there is still much to be addressed and achieved, from building the capacity of women to undertake various responsibilities and represent their stakes in the decision-making processes to facilitating their infiltration into the existing institutional setups and hard-held convictions that have been long governing. Additionally, with their different land governance dynamics, much work is needed on the ground, both within urban and rural communities.
What do you hope to see in terms of progress and change in the field of land governance and women’s land right policies over the next few years?
I aspire to see more capacitated women in decision-making positions and see housing programs prioritising women’s tenure. Additionally, I hope laws protecting women’s land rights are implemented and reflected in real projects with increased resources and institutional and societal support.
What advice would you offer to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in the land/ land governance sector?
My advice for young girls and women is to study well and to profoundly understand the underlying structures that inhibit women’s access to land so that they can better devise responsive interventions. I would also advise them to pursue this career and equip themselves with the knowledge of related technological tools and software and the soft skills needed for continuous negotiations and discussions with various stakeholders. Additionally, and most importantly, I would advise them always to remember the vulnerable and underrepresented and how they are working to improve their livelihoods when faced with challenges or obstacles along their paths.
IWD2023 Q&A: Laws must protect Women’s Land Rights regardless of Status – Dr Edeme
- Dr Janet Edeme is the Head of the Rural Development Division in the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- Her Division is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the African Union Agenda on Land and its challenges, Post-Harvest Loss Management, and Empowerment of Women and Youth in Agriculture.
Special Focus on Leading Voices on Women’s Land Rights in Africa
What is the importance of International Women’s Day (IWD), and what does it represent to you?
International Women’s Day reminds us of the critical role women play in our societies and their valuable contribution to Africa. If you consider the African landscape, our women contribute to the sustenance of our agriculture and food systems and achieving food and nutrition security. Women, therefore, need land as well as other productive resources for them to contribute towards the development of Africa sustainably.
When women can enjoy their land rights, they will be able to contribute to the achievement of Agenda 2063 sufficiently; more specifically, Aspiration 6 envisions an Africa whose development are people driven, relying on the potential offered by African People, especially its Women and Youth, and caring for Children. Through Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063, we hope to achieve full Gender Equality in all spheres of life, including accessing and owning productive land.
You’ve worked in this space for a long time. What about 2022 to 2023 has surprised you the most on women’s land rights?
During the period 2022 and the early months of 2023, the world was recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic disrupted the status quo and prompted renewed thinking on managing global food supply chains.
The Russia-Ukraine Conflict, however, slowed down the post-Covid 19 pandemic recovery process, and what we have seen is an increase in agriculture production costs, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is heavily reliant on fertiliser, agro chemicals and raw crop inputs from the two countries that have been in conflict for close to two years now.
We, therefore, need to rethink and strategize how women can position themselves and apply sustainable agriculture practices that can enhance their productivity and leverage opportunities that the reduced importation of foods from Europe would create. We have sufficient land in Africa, but we must ensure that our women are resilient to the many external shocks, including wars, epidemics and climate change.
How can we build back a society that supports women’s land rights?
To have a society that supports women’s land rights, we need to ensure that our Member States put policies and legal frameworks in place that protect women’s land rights despite their status and whatever tenure arrangements they have land on.
There is also a need to adapt to low-cost Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and associated applications and use them for enhanced information sharing among women and other vulnerable groups. This will help increase awareness of the available opportunities women can leverage and benefit from their land rights. ICTs can further facilitate women’s increased access to registering land rights, agriculture extension, finance and technical assistance.
We also urge AU Member States to deliberately increase the quota for women’s participation in various Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) platforms both at the regional and national levels. This is key in facilitating women’s participation in planning, and decision-making and increasing their access to information to land.
What can men do to help to achieve equality for women’s land rights?
Men are involved in decision-making over land. They are also involved in land administration worldwide and can promote women’s rights to land in their daily roles as administrators of this vital resource. This includes creating a gender-inclusive business environment that limits the barriers to entry of women and women-led businesses in various sectors of the economy.
What advice would you offer to young women interested in pursuing a career in the land/ land governance sector?
Opportunities in the land sector are diverse, and you can always find a place to influence change as a surveyor, administrator, lawyer defending other women’s rights, policy maker, and planner. The opportunities are endless in the land sector!
With the increasing digitalisation of processes, we expect tech-savvy young women to innovatively develop technologies and platforms that would address the challenges that disproportionately affect women’s access to land. Working in the land sector allows you to contribute to development, specially and uniquely.
IWD2023 Q&A: Women should know Land Laws in support of Land Ownership – Dr Saidou
- Dr Safiatou Saidou, from Cameroon, won the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa, Central Africa Node award, which recognizes the best master’s degree in land issues in Central Africa.
- She is committed to guaranteeing the rights of women to access land in Cameroon through the reform of legislative, regulatory and social standards.
Special Focus on Leading Voices on Women’s Land Rights in Africa
What examples have you seen of innovative approaches to protecting and promoting women’s land rights, and how can these be scaled up and replicated in other contexts?
To my knowledge, recent innovative approaches in the northern zone of Cameroon are mostly centered around advocacy, lobbying and financial contributions to promote women’s land rights. Several actions have been carried out by various NGOs and Associations in favor of women in this direction. These include the CIGs, which are widespread in all the villages, which were initiated to respond to the need to constitute a common work force on the basis of proximity criteria whose aim, in the agricultural field, is to increase production. It is in this wake that to circumvent the discrimination of women in access to land, some women have decided to form a GIC; which increases their possibility of sustainably exploiting plots.
In addition to the security crisis linked to boko haram in this region, international NGOs such as NRC, OCHA and other local organizations such as ALVF, ALDEPA, etc., support women in accessing land through information sessions on the security of land transactions and through legal assistance to those who encounter problems of land disputes. This support is observed much more in Logone and Chari, Mayo-Sava and Mayo-Tsanaga, which are the localities most affected by the security crisis. Thus, there is a new class of women emerging and becoming more and more emancipated in this field. The picture is not totally black as is often thought, because there are women who, personally and collectively, were able to gain access to large secure lands to improve their agricultural income. With these convincing results, these different approaches can be considered as reproducible best practices.
What do you think are the biggest challenges women face in accessing and owning land in your country/region?
In my opinion, the biggest challenges in the northern zone of Cameroon are at the level of negative perceptions vis-à-vis women landowners and securing their rights. Despite the evolution of land rights, the marginalization of women persists. They can in principle acquire by themselves the land they want to exploit without there being a blockage relating to gender. But this marginalization of women in rural areas is well anchored in the socio-mental and socio-cultural universe of the populations, although today Cameroonian law gives women the possibility of acquiring and owning land. While women have the possibility of accessing land through purchase, which is becoming the increasingly widespread mode of land transactions, the majority of them occupy marginal land.
I can also mention marital status, which remains decisive for women’s access to land. In most cases, they risk losing their rights in the event of divorce, widowhood or the migration of their husband. To this, I must add that the inheritance of land is not shared equally between men and women. Women’s rights to land inheritance are affected by cultural norms and rules. For example, in cultures where land rights pass through men (patrilineal) and where women move in with their husbands upon marriage (patrilocal), a woman will rarely inherit land rights from her late husband because she is considered “foreign” to the blood line of the late husband.
Furthermore, I observe that marriage constitutes a brake on the purchase of land by women. Indeed, married women in the Far North region of Cameroon do not have the same freedom as single people, divorcees or widows to appropriate land.
Moreover, because of their illiteracy and ignorance, most women are unaware of the regulatory provisions allowing them to assert their rights to own and acquire or enjoy land. Even when they know them, they hesitate to use them so as not to challenge social rules, but also and above all for fear of being divorced or even stigmatised. Stigma thus leads to the persistence of traditional practices for women’s access to land through purchase, inheritance and donation within families. The same applies to the increase in the purchase of land in secret for fear of reprisals from the spouse.
In the different regions of Cameroon, women who wish to own land face real difficulties, How to approach the land rights of women in rural Cameroon?
In my opinion, the texts of laws applicable in Cameroon in land matters are multiple and multifaceted, outdated and difficult to interpret. They do not specifically mention women’s access to land. Land security for all and more especially for women, necessarily implies the vote by the state authorities, new texts (drafting and voting of a single Land Code) and laws as well as the bringing into conformity of certain existing legal frameworks (Code of people and family).
In addition to involving women in local land management bodies, it is also important, in my opinion, to promote women’s full citizenship, respect for their rights and facilitate women’s access to land ownership by lifting different barriers related to the weight of tradition and social norms.
How can land governance/land policy be made more gender sensitive and inclusive, and what steps can be taken?
I think that developing and implementing a communication plan for the appropriation of laws relating to land ownership would make it possible to make everyone aware, particularly women, that securing land is important for development. They will educate and raise awareness on a large scale and also improve general knowledge of land laws. The women who constitute more than half of the population of Cameroon will then be able to understand their rights and be able to defend them. This will allow them to contribute considerably and effectively to development. Similarly, through awareness raising and information, legal illiteracy will be reduced,
Furthermore, I believe that socio-economic and incentive measures can be taken to increase women’s access to land. In land matters, the inequality between the male and female sexes is greatly increased because despite the existence of texts and political efforts, even intellectual women continue to be considered inferior in the eyes of tradition. Having limited resources, women cannot acquire land. To improve its status and enable it to have equal access to the landed heritage as a man, it is necessary, apart from its information, education and permanent dialogue, to take specific measures concerning it on the socio-political and economic.
I will end by adding that support for creating and revitalising women’s groups can also be considered. Women in groups will be stronger, and their combined efforts will allow them to sow more land and consequently have more financial means and be able to benefit from significant credits. It will be wise to strengthen those that already exist through technical and financial support and encourage and help create such groups in areas where they do not exist. The excellent organization of these groups and their cohesion will enable them to easily delegate their representatives to decision-making bodies on the issue of land management and to organize visits to exchange experiences between groups.
What advice would you give to young women wanting to pursue a land governance career?
I would advise them to familiarize themselves with the texts and laws in force, to be familiar with the sociological and political issues on the ground, but also to develop local awareness-raising strategies to support women in the process of development in land matters. . In this, they can not only contribute at their level to the development of knowledge on land but also to be able to support decision-making in their communities.
NELGA Presents: International Women’s Month Q&A Series
Welcome to the International Women’s Month Q&A series on the NELGA website. This March, we are shining a spotlight on the critical contributions that women are making in the field of land governance and land rights. As part of this series, we’re interviewing well-known women in the field affiliated with the network. They’ll talk about their experiences, insights, and points of view on various issues related to land governance, policy, and rights.
The goal of these Q&As is to honour the accomplishments of women in this field while also bringing attention to the problems they’ve had to deal with and the chances for progress and change. We hope this series will encourage more people to get involved in land governance and work for more social justice and gender equity.
We are excited to share the stories and insights of these women, whose actions influence NELGA’s impact in Africa. We hope you will join us in celebrating International Women’s Month and women’s contributions to the land governance field.
Find the stories here:
Dr Safiatou Saidou speaks on advocacy, lobbying and financial contributions to promote women’s land rights in Northern Cameroon.
Dr Janet Edeme discusses women’s protection, resilience, and agricultural opportunities for Africa’s development.
Prof Dr Heba Allah Khalil provides empirical context on land issues for women lead households in Egypt.
Johannes’s Sucess Story – NELGA Intern
It was such an exciting opportunity to be part of a culturally diverse organization while gaining experience in land governance in Africa – Lineekelomwene Johannes, Former Intern with NELGA Southern Africa Node at NUST
In February 2023, I completed all requirements towards my achieving a Bachelor of Business Management degree from the prestigious Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). NUST is the leading hub for the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa, an African Union network managed by the African Land Policy Centre through the support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).
Part of the requirements for graduation was to embark on an internship through Work-integrated Learning (WIL). This is an integral aspect of our curriculum and must be completed by all students for graduation. Lucky for me, I met Mr. Theodor Muduva, the advisor for NELGA at NUST and I was given the opportunity to gain experience as an administrative assistant intern for the network in southern Africa.
Simply put, it altered the playing field and was a game-changing experience. I was putting theory into practice and exchanging real-world experience. It was a thrill to work with people from various walks of life and learn from their experiences and perspectives. Before I joined NELGA, I had never thought of being interested in land issues, but through NELGA, I became knowledgeable about them. Mentors at the NELGA hub at NUST, especially Mr. Muduva, were extremely rewarding; and cumulatively inspired me to do my best in all my endeavours as I contributed my bit to my country’s development, region and the continent and, of course, come out with a better-than-average grade in my WIL course.
During my internship, a highlight of my time was participating in a planning and review meeting for NELGA with delegates from across Africa speaking as one voice. It was a tremendous pleasure for me to interact with NUST faculty, NELGA partner universities, African Land Policy Centre, GIZ as the implementing partner and many others. I was learning about land governance outside of my original academic interest; however, I could see the business management intersections and alignment with land and how this impacts the continent. It was a thrilling experience.
I am incredibly grateful for the invaluable insight into the workings of the business world that I gained due to my time spent in NELGA in these early professional years. Being a part of the NELGA team was an incredible opportunity to gain significant experience and intellectual resources to guide my future career goals.
Publication: Understanding Urban Land Leasing System as a Strategic Value Capture Instrument to Enhance Urban Revenue in Ethiopia: A Case Study of Bahir Dar City
Since 1993, the Ethiopian government has been using the urban land leasing system to monetize the increase in land value created due to factors other than private investment. Thus, this paper by Seid Hussen Yimam, Hans Lind and Belachew Yirsaw Alemu aims to explore and understand whether Bahir Dar city is leveraging the urban land lease system as a strategic value capture instrument to enhance its local revenue or not.
This study has used the qualitative research method and in-depth analysis. The information needed to reach the goal of this study has been gathered through a desk review of documents and key informant interviews with experts and brokers. The study has found that most urban land is held under a permit system, with landholders paying a small amount of land rent per annum. The study also found that most of the city’s land was given away through administrative allotment at low and out-of-date benchmark prices, which hurt the city’s lease income.
Also, it has been found that there isn’t enough enforcement of lease payment collection, which hurts the city’s ability to make money from urban areas. So, the city isn’t using the public land leasing system as a strategic way to get more value out of the land. Based on these results, this paper suggests that the government set up a modern property tax system to capture the increase in value of land with a permit. Also, the study plans to do empirical research to find the factors that significantly impact benchmark prices and to update the benchmark price based on those factors regularly. Moreover, the study has suggested proper enforcement of the lease payment collection in the city.
New Study: Women’s Access to Land Ownership and Agricultural Development in Baïgom, West Cameroon
Women represent close to 51% of the Cameroonian population, and they are more than 70% active in food and market gardening activities (INS, 2010). Like those elsewhere, the rural women of Baigom are fighting with all the means at their disposal to gain access to land and participate in the agricultural development of this village. To this end, they need land and capital to carry out their actions to make agriculture profitable and ensure food security for their families.
This contribution makes it possible to analyze the socio-economic and cultural context, which is unfavourable primarily to women’s access to land in Baigom. Women active in agricultural production activities are limited by the unavailability of land resources, which constitute a no less negligible factor of production. This State of virtual exclusion of these leading actors in family farming is detrimental to the development of the agricultural economy.
To conduct this study, the methodology adopted focused on primary and secondary sources and field observations. As for the primary sources, socioeconomic surveys were carried out with a target population of women producers in the village of Baïgom. The socio-economic surveys reached 5% of women over the age of 15; in the end, 150 questionnaires were collected in the five central districts of the village (Nkoupetgom, Nkou gahri, Chaanké, Mbayé, Njissen). Young girls are more like family labourers in peasant agriculture.
The secondary data are the fruit of the literature review and the consultation of the archives. These archives are present in the decentralized services of the State of the specialized institutions which generate official statistics, such as the National Institute of Statistics (INS). The webography was not, moreover, a source of acquisition of specific knowledge in terms of the gender approach to land issues in tropical Africa as a whole. The main results indicate that women’s access to land ownership is low, with only about 8% holding a land title. Furthermore, the juxtaposition of modern and customary rights complicates the marginalization of women’s access to land, negatively impacting agricultural production activities. Despite these obstacles, solutions are envisaged by all the actors to involve women more in the management of rural land.