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LEMU – Making land work for us all

We are LEMU. The Land and Equity Movement in Uganda is a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation. We have been working since 2003 to uphold and secure the land rights of the most vulnerable people in Uganda, using our expertise in customary tenure.

We have experience working across the country with the current focus in the Lango, Teso and Karamoja sub-regions. We work with donor partners on various programmes to improve security of tenure for Ugandans in order to safeguard livelihoods on land. We support customary land and advocate for it’s continued protection


In defence of customary tenure

Customary land ownership simply means that someone (or a group of people) owns or has rights to the land, because their community accepts that they all have rights to it.

Established customary land governance systems are well placed to promote sustainable rural land management. The tenure incorporates the societal importance of family obligation into land ownership. Customary land deserves careful protection to support those who own land in this way.


The case against land titles

It is hugely important for people to feel secure on the land that they own. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to improving how secure people feel on their land.
LEMU has always been clear: existing customer land approaches cannot simply be translated into title documents. Titling land is not the answer; in fact, documentation of customary land can present risks to the Communities that those advocating documentation are seeking to help

Women’s Land Rights

Women’s land rights under customary tenure are widely misunderstood. Although the tenure incorporates protections for women, in some circumstances, the land rights of women can be especially vulnerable. LEMU is committed to reducing land rights abuses against women.
Our experience has shown this is a complex area, which requires a deep understanding of the rights of women within customary tenure in order to make appropriate interventions.

Community land protection

To date, LEMU has successfully worked with a number of communities to document their own rules regarding the management of their communal land. Documenting the agreed Principles, Practices, Rights and Responsibilities (PPRR) reduces the potential for conflict within communities, promotes cohesion and enables community members to clearly articulate their agreed rules.
This practice contributes to upholding fairer and efficient use of land, and reduces the potential for injustices based on the misapplication of custom.