LEMU is implementing Community Land Protection Program in Lango Sub-Region, Northern Uganda.
Community land is that which is communally owned by a given community (can be 1 to about 20 villages) and it is different from family owned land.
In the context of Northern Uganda community land is for hunting, grazing and food collections, local medicine, raw materials for building, hand craft etc.
LEMU has, since 2009 worked with communities to protect their family and communally owned using the provisions of the Uganda Land Act (1998) and the Uganda National Land Policy (2013) which recognize Communal Lands and its protection.
The CLPP is a community driven initiative that is implemented by facilitating a series of steps and meetings in the communities to discuss and allow action points towards protection of the land. The rate of progress of each community depends on their zeal to protect their community land.
The CLPP ensures Community & Wetland tenure security through:
- Writing of Community Land governance & management rules/constitution
- Marking Community & wetland boundary preferably by planting locally available trees “Omara-mara” and “Etuba”trees around the boundary
- Facilitate the communities to reinstate/elect/identify leaders to manage Community Land issues including ADR dispute resolutions
- Support communities to live out their written rules and use their land productively.
- Inform them of what the law offers and the implication for documentation and customary land tenure registration as provided for by the Land Act – Chap. (227) (1998) and the National land policy, for their informed choices and feedback to the Government on the laws and policies.
The Months of April to July 2015 have seen progress in the 15 communities LEMU CLPP Team based at the Lira Field Office supports as 5 out of the 15 communities wrote and finally adopted their community land rules in 1st, 2nd and 3rd drafts and elected their leaders.
Of this 5 communities, 3 started boundary harmonization and disputes resolution processes.
The 5 Communities that have made major strides include
|S/N||Community||Location||Number of Villages||Population Households||What community is currently up to|
|1||Anyomorem||Lira District, Ngetta Sub-County||11||1123HHs||Living out rules|
|2||Bar Odir||Lira District, Ngetta Sub-County||9||1086HHs||Living out rules|
|3||Alemere||Amolatar District, Agwingiri Sub-County||10||497HHs||Boundary Harmonization|
|4||Barkitwe||Amolatar District, Agwingiri Sub-County||23||948HHs||Boundary Harmonization|
|5||Burlobo||Lira District, Adekokwok Sub-County||7||657HHs||Conflict Resolution|
What excited the team?
Anyomorem community land had conflicts from encroachment by 11 community members while Bar Odir by 13 community members. The encroachers used the land majorly for cultivation, burning bricks and mud and wattle huts at the edge of the community land which uses are against community rules.
The CLPP team facilitated the 2 communities to harmonization their boundaries by holding a series of community meetings and boundary walks as the communities couldn’t allow any boundary mark planting before all of the conflict was resolved. The CLPP team convened meetings between community members and the alleged encroachers to discuss what was to be done. The encroachers had participated in a number of CLPP meetings and understood the spirit behind CLPP and therefore with very minimal hesitation they acknowledged that they were in a community land and requested for time to leave the land. Negotiations allowed some time for encroachers to harvest their crops.
Community land can be regarded conflict free 60 days after the consent agreements have been signed (as provided for in “The Judicature [Mediation] Rules – 2013”), the encroachers have moved out of the land, boundary trees have been planted and sketch maps drawn. For the case of Anyomorem and Bar Odir; the 60 days after consent agreement signing have elapsed, boundary trees have been planted, sketch maps have been drawn and the community is waiting for harvest time for the encroachers to harvest their crops and thus stop using the community land leaving it free for community use as per the written rules and for the community to start preparing for productive land use options. This therefore indicates that in the next season Anyomorem and Bar Odir community lands will be conflict free.
Reasons for the success
Ensuring community wide meetings where all community members participate and own the process
Leaders were elected from amongst clan leaders; the clan already has a role to govern land under customary tenure.
Involvement of various stakeholders in the mediation with the agreement of a neutral clan leader by the two parties to mediate. This lead to a consensus rather than a ruling of who was in the right and who was wrong.
Thorough understanding of the origin of the conflict by the project staff and in depth analysis of how and with whom to resolve the conflict.
LEMU’s Partners on Community Land Protection Program
1. Namati: Innovations in Legal Empowerment, Putting Law Into
People’s Hands – www.namati.org
2. USAID-SAFE Project Uganda: Supporting Access to Justice, Fostering Equity and Peace (SAFE), is a five-year development program operating from 2012 to 2017, aims to strengthen the Government of Uganda’s (GoU) capacity with respect to peace building and conflict mitigation – www.safeprogram.ug
Arach David James
LEMU – M&E Manager