Advancing Land Governance Education: Insights from NELGA-SA Workshop

In a pivotal step toward transforming land governance education in Southern Africa, the recent workshop organized by NELGA set the stage for collaborative efforts among universities, institutions, and industry partners. Focused on aligning curricula with the African Land Policy Center (ALPC) Guideline, the workshop aimed to enhance education in the field.

The workshop, a cross-node learning opportunity, addressed four key objectives. Firstly, it assessed current curricula, identifying strengths and areas for improvement within NELGA Southern African universities. Secondly, it fostered stakeholder engagement, ensuring curricula responsiveness to diverse needs. Thirdly, by strengthening research components, the workshop aimed to equip students to contribute to evidence-based land governance solutions. Lastly, it sought to develop implementation strategies for mainstreamed curricula.

A notable highlight was the exchange of curricula development experiences among NELGA-SA universities. Presenters shared insights, fostering collaboration and mutual learning. The discussions extended to industry engagement, revealing challenges faced by graduates in land administration. Industry professionals emphasized the necessity for curricula to address social skills, crucial for effective community engagement.

The workshop concluded with a commitment to ongoing dialogue and collaboration. It marked the initiation of the curricula development process, emphasizing collaboration, skill development, and overcoming academic-industry barriers. Moving forward, the integration of real-world experiences and regular curriculum updates are key to ensuring relevance in this rapidly evolving field. Bridging the pace gap between academia and industry is crucial for the advancement of sustainable land governance practices in Southern Africa. The workshop has laid the foundation for a transformative journey in land governance education, promising a brighter future for professionals in the region.

Bridging the Gap: Transforming the Landscape of Land Governance Graduates in Botswana

In a concerted effort to address the challenges faced by young graduates entering the workforce in the field of land governance in Botswana, the GIZ-African Union Programme and the NELGA Southern Africa network recently organized a “Multistakeholder Dialogue on the Labour Market for Graduates in the Field of Land Governance in Botswana.” The workshop, held on November 8-9, 2023, in Gaborone, brought together over 60 participants from various sectors, including government, private industry, civil society, and academia.

The workshop revealed a significant gap between academic training and industry needs, leading participants to emphasize the necessity of enhancing practical and soft skills through curriculum development. With an excess of graduates relative to job market capacity, a proposed solution involves integrating entrepreneurship skills to align graduates with market demands. Stakeholders stressed collaboration with the industry to enhance exposure opportunities, recommending various approaches.

Concerns were raised about professionals’ reluctance to share skills, prompting a call for tools to facilitate knowledge transfer. Ethical concerns regarding the competencies of some university lecturers were discussed, indicating a need for stricter recruitment standards. The importance of balancing academic qualifications with continuous professional development was emphasized, an aspect often overlooked by graduates. Attitudinal issues were addressed, emphasizing the need for a serious approach to professional futures, respect for work and supervisors, and an active pursuit of growth opportunities.

The workshop concluded with a consensus among stakeholders to implement recommendations within their respective institutions. The NELGA Secretariat committed to elevating these dialogues to the AU level through the CLPA 2023, aiming to garner the attention of policymakers in member countries. The collective effort to bridge the gap between academia and industry is a pivotal step toward creating a more robust and responsive land governance system in Botswana.

Related article: Closing the capacity gaps through young graduates in land governance.

Closing the capacity gaps through young graduates in land governance

While there are many graduates finishing their academic programmes in the land sector, not all of them find entry level relevant positions. At the same time stakeholders in the public & private sector, as well as civil society and academia face issues in finding young professionals with the required skill set.

To bring attention to this issue and enable discussions on possible solution NELGA and the GIZ-AU programme “Strengthening Advisory Capacities on Land Governance in Africa” (SLGA) organized multistakeholder dialogues in Botswana and Senegal. The national and regional stakeholders discussed the issues at hand in the respective countries and worked on concrete actions that can be implemented within their own field.

Assessments of the situation in these two countries have been conducted to form the basis for the discussion. These assessments gave an overview of the situation of needed experts both in terms of numbers and qualifications, as well as the education and training opportunities offered by universities. The report can be accessed below.

During the multistakeholder dialogues challenges were identified and recommendations for the different stakeholder groups were formed. Despite societal, economic, historic, and geographical differences between the countries some areas of actions are similar.

  • To reduce and close the gap between required skills by employers and the acquired knowledge and skills of universities graduates, stronger cooperation between these actors is required.
  • Universities need to regularly review curricula with the involvement of employer organizations from the public and private sector, while at the same time opportunities to gain practical experience should be enabled and fostered.
  • The government plays a key role in creating an enabling environment for all stakeholders from universities, local authorities, and the private sector.

For more detailed information on the recommendations and to read the full report of the assessments and the multistakeholder dialogue in Senegal, click here.

Join NELGA’s Knowledge Session at CLPA23: The Role of Academic Institutions in African Land Governance

NELGA invites you to a captivating knowledge exchange and sharing session at the CLPA23. Taking place on Wednesday, November 22, from 11:15 am to 12:45 pm, the session will delve into the crucial role of academic institutions in shaping land governance across Africa.

Background: NELGA, a consortium of esteemed African universities and institutions, is committed to enhancing both institutional and human capacities to address the challenges affecting land governance in Africa. Responding to the ‘Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa’ by African Heads of State, NELGA has actively engaged in building capacities through training, research, curriculum development, and various initiatives aimed at fostering open access knowledge sharing.

This CLPA23 side event aims to explore the pivotal role of academia in advancing capacities for land governance in Africa. It also seeks to showcase NELGA’s accomplishments, providing a platform for the exchange of experiences and knowledge between academia, professionals, and stakeholders. The session is designed to attract new partners by highlighting NELGA’s achievements and contributions to land governance.

Agenda: Chaired by Prof. Ruth Hall, the session will feature a moderated panel discussion with distinguished speakers:

  • Prof. Herbert Robinson: General remarks on the role of academic institutions in land governance in Africa.
  • Dr. Agnes Mwasumbi: An overview of NELGA, its objectives, and benefits to member universities.
  • Prof. John Bugri: Insights into how NELGA universities support land governance curricula and training opportunities.
  • Prof. Eugene Chigbu: Discussion on NELGA’s research focus and its impact on policy processes in land governance.
  • Prof. Moha-El Ayachi: Exploring NELGA’s sustainability, partnerships, and avenues for new collaborators.

Don’t miss this opportunity to engage in a dynamic discussion on the role of academia in shaping the future of land governance in Africa. Join us at CLPA23 on November 22 from 11:15 am to 12:45 pm and be a part of the conversation. Together, let’s build capacities for sustainable land governance in Africa.

Unlocking Research Impact: NELGA Knowledge Exchange (NEx) Registration Open!

We are excited to announce the opening of registration for the NELGA Knowledge Exchange (NEx), in collaboration with the Land Portal Foundation. Join us on Thursday, December 7, from 14:00-15:00 EAT for a dynamic 1-hour Info Session.

NELGA and the Land Portal Foundation cordially invite researchers, policy makers, and land governance enthusiasts to delve into opportunities that enhance the visibility of research results.

Discover how your research can transcend boundaries through dedicated knowledge products edited and published by the Land Portal. Over the last four years, the Land Portal has effectively utilized “What to Read” digests and “Data Stories” to disseminate research advice and evidence to over 24,000 readers, including policy makers and practitioners.

Learn firsthand about the collaborative opportunity for NELGA researchers to contribute as guest writers, enhancing the reach of their work. This collaboration includes comprehensive supervision and wide dissemination through the Land Portal’s extensive network. With Insightful presentation by Romy Sato, Land Portal’s Knowledge Network Coordinator.

Don’t miss out on this chance to amplify your research impact. Register to the NEX now by sending a request to info@nelga.org

For more information, click here.

Pioneering Excellence: Abebe’s Success story with the DAAD/NELGA Scholarship

“Honestly, the scholarship was a good opportunity to realize many of my dreams.”

– Abebe Mengaw, PhD.

I am Abebe Mengaw Wubie (PhD), the pioneer beneficiary of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) In-country/In-Region PhD scholarship programme under the Strengthening Land Governance in Africa (SLGA) through the Network of Excellence in Land Governance in Africa (NELGA). In 2021, I received my PhD in Land Policy and Governance, specializing in Land Use Management and Decision Support Systems. Prior to this, I earned my MSc in Geo-information System from Bahir Dar University in 2010 and my first degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from Jimma University in 2007. Since 2007, I have been dedicated to the roles of a university lecturer and researcher accumulating expertise in various domains including: in GIS, remote sensing, photogrammetry, Web GIS, 3D mapping, land registration, land use, and land governance strategies. My research works have also been published in reputable journals, marking my contributions to the academic landscape.

Being the first recipient of the DAAD/NELGA PhD scholarship programme has been a profound honor. This initiative not only covered my tuition, research fees, pocket money, and digital expenses but also opened doors to remarkable opportunities. I was fortunate to attend a short-term summer school training on Environmental and Remote Sensing Data Analysis via Geospatial Technologies at Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany. This experience significantly enhanced my research and teaching skills, allowing me to connect with German scientists, international scholars, and fellow scholarship holders. Moreover, I spent six enriching months at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, where I successfully published my research articles and participated in national and international conferences.

Honestly, the scholarship was a good opportunity to realize many of my dreams. It helps me to take responsibilities and to be become a more professional researcher in the areas of land governance, land information/cadastre, and geospatial science. Now, I am working as an Assistant Professor and Vice Dean for Postgraduate, Research and Community Service at the Institute of Land Administration, Bahir Dar University. In this role, I coordinate the post graduate programs, revise the curricula based on the national and international priorities, provide support and follow-up for research projects, lead annual international land conference and seminars, announce research calls and award internal research grants, initiate research projects and grant writings, and coordinate the community services and technology transfer activities. Additionally, I am leading a significant research project as the Principal Investigator. Looking ahead, I am interested in conducting demand driven scientific research on land governance, land information/cadastre, and geospatial science to contribute to the sustainable development of my country and beyond.

This is my success story with DAAD/SLGA/NELGA scholarship. I trust DAAD/NELGA will continue the financial support for young scholars and researchers to continue making a difference in Africa and beyond.

Abebe Mengaw Wubie (PhD)

Email: mengawabebe@gmail.com

Phone number/WhatsApp: +251912106213

Website: www.bdu.edu.et/ila

Empowering Local Government Leaders: Ardhi University and Partners’ Land Governance Training

The Ardhi University (a NELGA member university), in collaboration with GIZ and the Kibaha District Council, organized a targeted training program on September 26, 2023. This initiative united diverse stakeholders, from village leaders to councilors; focusing on enhancing awareness of Tanzanian land law and management practices.

The training comprised three key segments: an introduction to general land matters, in-depth discussions on specific topics including gender-related issues in land management, and an interactive session for questions and open dialogue. By involving leaders at various levels, the program emphasized the vital role these individuals play in responsible land resource utilization.

This collaborative effort not only demonstrates the commitment of Ardhi University and GIZ to promoting good land governance but also showcases their dedication to capacity-building and knowledge dissemination. Empowering local leaders with profound insights, the initiative paves the way for sustainable land use, ensuring equitable benefits for communities and the environment.

In essence, Ardhi University and its partners have taken a significant step towards fostering informed leaders, shaping a more equitable and sustainable future for Tanzania.

NELGA Family Congratulates Isata Mahoi, NELGA Focal person on becoming Sierra Leone’s Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs.

Isata Mahoi, a NELGA focal person, has made significant contributions to the land governance sector in Sierra Leone. With her extensive experience and expertise, she has played a crucial role in promoting sustainable land management practices and ensuring equitable access to land resources.

As a highly educated individual, Isata Mahoi holds multiple degrees, including a Ph.D. in Economic Policy. Her academic background, combined with over 15 years of professional experience, has equipped her with a deep understanding of the economic and social aspects of land governance.

Throughout her career, Isata Mahoi has actively participated in peace-building programs and advocacy efforts related to land rights. Her commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering marginalized communities has been instrumental in advancing land governance reforms in Sierra Leone.

As the newly appointed Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Isata Mahoi continues to champion inclusive land governance policies that prioritize the rights of women, youth, and vulnerable groups. Her leadership and dedication to sustainable land management make her a valuable asset to NELGA and the land governance sector as a whole.

NELGA Highlights from the Africa Climate Summit: Land Governance and Climate Change Side Event

On September 7, the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) played a pivotal role in an important side event at the Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, Kenya. The event, held at the African Union House/Pavilion, focused on the critical theme of “Effective land use and governance: Pivotal elements in Africa’s efforts towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change,” contributing significantly to broader discussions encompassing agriculture, land, ocean, food, and water.

The session began with opening remarks from the African Union (AU) by Dr. Janet Edeme, setting the stage for a comprehensive exploration of land governance. She stated, “The key focus of this side event is to explore and ensure a common understanding of experiences from different stakeholders and champion the implementation of the AU Agenda on Land.”

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa on behalf of AU Commissioner Josefa L.C. Sacko, providing valuable insights into the wide-ranging implications of climate change on land governance.

Following this, expert panel discussions ensued, featuring contributions from distinguished individuals such as NELGA member, Professor Sylvana Rudith King.  The panel also included Japhet Seulu, the Chief Operation Officer for Carbon and Conservation at Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) who was also representing the GIZ Climate Resilience and Management of Natural Resources in the SADC Region Initiative; Ms. Marealle Maria Saguti, African Development Bank (AfDB) who spoke about the intersection between climate change, gender, and land tenure; Mr. Japheth Kasimbu the Transhumance Expert at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), who discussed Pastoralists’ Responses to Climate Hazards in the Horn of Africa and Mr. Audace Kubwimana, Africa Regional Coordinator at the International Land Coalition, speaking on the role of people centered land governance in addressing the climate crises and building sustainable food systems in Africa.

The experts emphasized the importance of policy revisions, integrated land-use planning, climate-smart practices, and the intersection of climate change with gender and land tenure, among other critical topics. Professor King highlighted the need for policy implementation, stating, “We need to invest in policy implementation to tackle issues of land governance, increase resilience, and build capacity for smallholder farmers to cope with climate change.”

An engaging Q&A session further enriched the discourse, with active participation from the audience. The side event culminated with messages of solidarity from influential organizations such as the International Land Coalition, GIZ, and various government representatives. Their messages underscored the imperative need for collaborative efforts to comprehensively address climate change.

The side event served as a platform to emphasize the pivotal role of land use and governance in addressing climate change and fostering climate resilience in Africa. It provided an exceptional opportunity for stakeholders to exchange ideas and explore innovative solutions to these pressing challenges. This event marks a significant milestone in NELGA’s unwavering commitment to effective land governance, crucial for enhancing climate resilience across Africa.

Join Us at the NELGA Post-Doc Research Fellowships Virtual Launch Event!

Are you passionate about land governance in Africa? Do you wish to explore ground-breaking research opportunities? Look no further! The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) is excited to invite you to our highly anticipated virtual launch event, where we will introduce the NELGA Post-Doc Research Fellowships and provide valuable insights into this exceptional fellowship programme.

The NELGA Post-Doc Research Fellowships are designed to support outstanding young scholars and researchers who are eager to contribute to advancements in land governance. Through these fellowships, participants will delve into critical thematic focus areas and gain comprehensive knowledge and expertise.

Mark your calendars for the Virtual Launch Event, scheduled for 10th August 2023, from 13:30 to 16:00 CET. The event will be conveniently hosted on MS Teams.

During this event, experts from NELGA and the African Land Policy Centre will provide in-depth presentations on the fellowship programme. You will gain insights into the eligibility criteria, application process, selection procedures, benefits, and expected outcomes of these fellowships.

The event will cover various thematic focus areas, showcasing the breadth and depth of research opportunities available. Additionally, the virtual setting allows for engaging discussions and networking, connecting participants from diverse backgrounds and locations across the continent.

Attending the event provides an avenue to interact directly with representatives from NELGA, ALPC, and other renowned institutions, clarifying any queries and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the fellowship programme.

Visit the NELGA website’s Contact Us page and express your interest in attending the virtual launch event. 

Related links:

DAAD website

NELGA Postdoc Research Themes Narrative

NELGA Postdoc Fellowship Call 2023

NELGA Call for Short-Term Research Fellowship