On April 12 and 13, 2023, Master’s Students in Land Governance and Land Management from the Université Gaston Berger in Senegal embarked on a pedagogical field excursion in the country under the supervision of Professor Samba Traoré. The excursion, which was supplementary to the student’s professional training, spanned two days and two locations. The itinerary included visits to the Ross-Bethio-based SAED delegation in Dagana and the Bokhol community.
The excursion aimed to disseminate theoretical and practical knowledge regarding land governance, including its issues and proposed solutions. The specific objectives consisted of a pedagogical component and a scientific component, both of which were pursued to ensure the smooth operation of the educational excursion on land.
The first stop was the Ross-Bethio-based SAED delegation in Dagana. The heads of the local SAED welcomed the group. They presented the instruments used for land management and the objectives, functions, roles, and policies for land management and spatial planning in support of eleven regional municipalities.
The second visit was to the municipal town hall of Bokhol. The mayor and his associates described the municipal issues and the difficulties it faces vis-à-vis its neighbours, notably those associated with the delimitation and division of different land bases. As residents of the communes of Bokhol, Gaya and Dagana have customary rights to land in other communes, which is regarded as the primary source of conflict within these communities. To preserve these relationships, the mayor permits other municipalities to exploit BOKHOL’s properties, even though this violates Law No. 64-46 of 17 June 1964.
During the visit, the team could comprehend the significance of SAED’s land management methods in the Senegal River Valley region. They also grasped the society’s relationship with territorial collectivities and populations and the procedure for utilising its services.
Students expanded their knowledge of land management in the Senegal River Valley. They learned about the difficulties faced by the populations, particularly in the Bokhol region, where water is scarce for agriculture during the off-season in the djieri, where most of the commune’s land is situated. Aside from this, no land office addresses challenges associated with local land management.
The educational field excursion was essential for the enhancement of theoretical knowledge in the field of land governance and territorial administration. The purpose of the excursion was to prepare the students for professional life, particularly in land management administration and related services. The excursion provided students with the practical knowledge and operational skills necessary to improve land and resource management in the country. The pedagogical field excursion was required and essential for the student’s professional development. The trip provided students with an in-depth comprehension of land management in the Senegal River Valley and the difficulties faced by the local population. Students could comprehend the working methods of SAED and their significance in land management, spatial planning, and the relationship between territorial collectivities and populations as a result of this excursion. Students could apply their theoretical knowledge to real-world situations and acquire practical knowledge and operational skills through this expedition. The knowledge gained on the trip will unquestionably contribute to improving the country’s land governance and territorial management. Students left with a deeper comprehension of the challenges and opportunities in the field of land management.
From 28 to 29 April 2023, the Network of Excellence on Land Governance, Francophone West Africa (NELGA-AOF) node, hosted a sub-regional seminar for doctoral candidates working in the land administration and policy space. The seminars, held at the Résidences Mamoune hotel in Dakar, Senegal, were intended to satisfy the needs of human and institutional capacity building needs to improve land governance actions at national and regional levels.
The training had in attendance university instructors who are members of the NELGA-AOF Network, technical and financial partners, and doctoral students. Speakers at the opening ceremony included the NELGA Centre Coordinator, the Doctoral School Director, the GIZ representative, and the Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences Director at the Université Gaston Berger (UGB).
Among several sessions, the seminar featured a roundtable discussion on land governance challenges in Africa, including land insecurity, conflicts, rising inequalities, and substantial foreign investment. The session also addressed the motivations and alternatives for land reform, including redistributive reform, land tenure reform, and land administration reform.
Two doctoral commissions were presented at the seminar, with most of their work focusing on presenting research findings. The instructors provided feedback on the work’s content and style and provided advisory support towards enhancing the doctoral students’ work.
The seminar concluded with several recommendations, including the need for formative and complementary doctorates to increase competitiveness. Participants suggested mobilising additional resources to organise frequent doctorate student exchanges with other countries through the NELGA network. It was also recommended that doctoral students should reexamine their subjects and evaluate analyses of poorly-formulated issues. In addition, they were instructed to pay close attention to the use of concepts and to present their research results using pre-defined templates.
The sub-regional training seminar for land-related doctoral students was a success, providing an opportunity for capacity development and information exchange. The participant recommendations and follow-up actions will unquestionably improve land administration in Francophone West Africa and beyond.
Find the detailed report here.
The Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Francophone West Africa (NELGA) has launched a tremendous research opportunity for young researchers in the field of land governance in Africa. This program, led by Gaston Berger University, has funded research studies that have led to the publication of five (5) articles on land in West Africa. This initiative aims to help improve training and curricula on land governance in Africa and promote research focused on land issues. The results have made it possible to address critical issues relating to land tenures in West Africa, such as the protection of the rights of local populations in forestry in Burkina Faso, land conflicts in Mali, gender and land in Senegal, the geohistory of urban land governance in Côte d’Ivoire, and vulnerability and access to land in Diama.
The NELGA initiative is a welcome development for researchers in the field of land governance, as it provides a platform for young researchers to engage in research that contributes to the discourse on land governance in Africa. The program is designed to provide funding for research, as well as technical support and guidance to ensure that the research produced is of high quality and meets international standards.
The research studies funded by NELGA have already made significant contributions to the field of land governance in West Africa. For example, the study on the protection of the rights of local populations in forestry in Burkina Faso sheds light on the challenges local communities face in managing forest resources. The study identifies the need for greater participation of local communities in decision-making processes related to forest management, as well as the importance of recognizing and protecting the rights of local communities in forest management.
Similarly, the study on land conflicts in Mali highlights the country’s complexity of land tenure systems, particularly in the Kayes region, where descendants of former slaves and masters have competing claims to land. The study emphasizes the need for a more comprehensive approach to resolving land conflicts that consider the historical, social, and economic factors at play.
The study on gender and land in Senegal is another important contribution to the field, as it highlights the challenges faced by women in accessing and owning land, particularly in rural areas. The study identifies the need for greater efforts to promote gender equality in land governance, including recognising women’s rights to land and providing support for women to acquire and manage land.
The study on the geohistory of urban land governance in Côte d’Ivoire provides insights into the processes and factors that have contributed to urban sprawl in the city of Bouaké. The study emphasizes the importance of taking a long-term perspective on urban development and the need for effective urban planning and governance to ensure sustainable and equitable development.
Finally, the study on vulnerability and access to land at the level of the Commune of Diama identifies the factors that contribute to vulnerability and landlessness among communities in the region. The study highlights the importance of addressing structural inequalities in land governance, including the need for land tenure reforms and providing support for vulnerable communities to access and manage land.
Furthermore, the coordination of the scientific committee composed of Prof Ibrahima Diallo, Prof Amadou Kah, and Prof Samba Traores a testament to the quality and diversity of expertise involved in the initiative. This diversity of perspectives is essential in addressing the complex and multifaceted challenges faced by African countries in the field of land governance.
The research can be found here.
In conclusion, the NELGA initiative is a welcome development for young researchers in Africa’s land governance field. The program’s focus on promoting research, improving training and curricula, and building capacity is a step in the right direction towards addressing the complex challenges facing African countries in the field of land governance. The publication of the five articles on land in West Africa is a testament to the quality and relevance of the research produced under the NELGA initiative, and it is hoped that this initiative will continue to provide a platform for young researchers to engage in research that contributes to the discourse on land governance in Africa.