TITLE: Land and Corruption in Africa
DONOR: German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via Transparency International Secretariat (TI-S)
DURATION: 2015 – 2019 renewable annually via (TI-S)
LOCATION: Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe
The Land and Corruption in Africa project (LCA) has the long term development objective of contributing to improved livelihoods of men and women adversely affected by corrupt practices in land administration and land deals in Africa, through security of tenure and equitable and fair access to land in rural, peri-urban and urban areas. The project works alongside three results areas:
- A strong citizenship of men & women of different generations and social and cultural backgrounds is informed of their land and tenure rights, legally empowered to defend their rights, aware of solution mechanisms, and demands transparency and accountability and citizen participation and oversight from their governments to end corruption in the land sector
- Stakeholders from civil society, private sector and government are engaged in land related anticorruption initiatives, systematically act to promote good land governance, and prevent corruption in the land sector nationally, regionally and globally.
- Intergovernmental institutions, governments, and businesses have strong, equitable, and just procedures in place to prevent and redress corruption in land distribution, land acquisition, and land dispute management, as well as to sanction infractions.
Land deals can affect the customary users of land negatively. In Africa, a large portion of arable land is in tenure by small-scale farmers – often women. Vast areas of savannah and semi-desert land are in tenure by pastoralists and indigenous communities. Each land deal – whether transparent or opaque – deprives customary land users of two of their most relevant resources: water and land. Unfortunately, the results are often (more) poverty and hunger.
Transparency International’s LCA project is guided by the vision of guaranteeing the maintenance and development of land and tenure-based prosperity for men and women of all generations equally, respecting the dimensions of stewardship and socio-cultural relationships to land, and taking into consideration the special needs and rights of indigenous communities
In Ghana, GII has heavily focused on building relationships with the main land administration bodies including the Lands Commission as well as with traditional authorities and various citizen groups. To counteract the vulnerability of women, GII has been building the capacity of citizens and particularly women to understand and apply their legal rights in relation to land.
GII, in collaboration with InsightShare has supported a group of widows in Kulbia Village near Bolgatanga in the Upper East region of to produce a Participatory Video (PV) which captures the extent to which customary laws can have a negative and discriminatory impact on women. These laws fail to recognize women as legitimate land custodians. The PV has been screened to over 500 community members as well as in various international events including UN Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador; 17th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) held in Panama and the Cinema for Development (C4D) Festival in London, UK. Additionally, GII has had the opportunity to present the finding of a baseline on the interconnectivity between women, land and corruption in Ghana at the Annual World Bank Land and Poverty conference 2017. At the same event GII shared the PV video and a poster presentation of the widows cry to participants. It is worth mentioning that through this project GII through Transparency International has had an ongoing relationship with the School of International Public Affairs (SIPA) at the Columbia University in New York, As SIPA. The School invited the TI team (Represented by GII and a rep from TU) to present the findings of PV during one the masters in Development practice workshop of the Gender and public policy Workshop.
GII has also collaborated with Women in Law and Development in Africa – Ghana and the Lands Commission in providing basic legal knowledge to women’s groups (farmers, agro-businesses and traders) on property rights and key laws on land title registration, succession, customary marriage and divorce and related issues. We have also provided a simplified guide on key laws to strengthen grassroots women’s leadership at the community level.
At the national level, GII has been called upon to provide input into Ghana’s Lands Bill which is under revision. Furthermore, we are working towards establishing a formalized cooperation between GII’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) and the Customer Service Access Unit (CSAU) of the Lands Commission to ensure mutual exchange of information and collaboration in the resolution of cases related to corruption in the land sector.
GII has over the course of 2016 directly engaged more than 1000 community members on building capacities in land governance and anti-corruption. Furthermore, ten community representatives have been trained and community Paralegals to build capacity in basic dispute resolution mechanisms and bridge the gap in the legal system at the community level. The trained representatives would act as legal first aid service providers at the community levels.
Widow’s Cry – Participatory Video