Preventive legal empowerment: early alert and action to strengthen rights in the context of land based investments

Project Location: Lango, Teso, Acholi and Karamoja (20 districts)


Duration: 2022 to 2025

Status: Running

Project Narrative: This project will preventively address conflicts related to land-based investments and elite capture of community lands. Rather than providing legal support after a land-based injustice has occurred, the project will pilot methods designed to best support communities to: 1) proactively identify where investment-driven land conflicts may occur; 2) seek legal support as soon as they perceive this may be needed; and 3) engage with the potential conflict from a place of agency and legal empowerment – thereby ensuring that the conflict is avoided, the communities’ land rights are not transgressed, and harm does not occur.

Implemented by LEMU the project will combine fieldwork and national advocacy efforts in Uganda. The project’s action-research fieldwork – early warning hotlines and rapid response actions; hotspot mapping; and participatory compliance monitoring – will establish new methods for pre-empting rights violations and reducing the amount of time and effort spent resolving conflicts or litigating injustices. It will also provide much-needed data on the evolving nature of land-based investments and conflicts, and effective approaches for anticipating their negative impacts and proactively strengthening community rights and agency.

The fieldwork will directly generate policy-relevant insights on: 1) changing pressures on land/natural resources; 2) the location and boundaries of natural resource concessions and related potential conflicts and pressure hotpots; and 3) compliance issues in land-based investments. Reflection on field-level results will also generate insights on how to develop preventative approaches to issues of land conflict, investment and legal empowerment. Strategic policy interventions at the national level will promote systemic change by feeding findings from the legal empowerment pilots into national advocacy to reform policies, laws and institutions in the two countries.

  • Categories:
    Customary Land Tenure

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