Learning about land governance

Gilbert Tarimo and Savior Mbele

With the support of two CTA consultants, a learning journey and documentation process took place in the OLENGEPA villages, in the Kiteto District in Tanzania, during the first days of June 2018. This was planned to help show the on-going reforms which are securing women’s land access and ownership, and a responsible land investment and sustainable rangelands management. Its goal was also to help appreciate the innovative partnership behind these results. 

The International Land Coalition (ILC) has been supporting the National Engagement Strategy (NES) for people-centred land governance in Tanzania since 2016. During the first implementation phase, the NES helped improve access to land by doubling the size of the available grazing area in the targeted areas, and secured land use by obtaining group Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCROs) to the livestock owners who use the grazing area. Through advocacy and policy dialogues, the NES ensured that the National Land Policy and subsequent legislations recognize and provide secure land tenure, particularly for women. The processes of joint village land use planning, securing of grazing areas, and the mapping of livestock routes are now nationally recognised, and the government and other actors see the benefits of protecting the land rights of women and girls living in poverty. In order to measure the impact on people’s livelihoods and set the ground for a next phase, ILC and the NES implementing partners planned a field visit as a “learning journey”.

On the road


In addition to helping share specific stories, the field visit was planned to help participants get a deeper understanding of the land reforms dynamics in Tanzania; appreciate the need for collaborative partnerships in order to succeed in supporting a complex process that is by its nature multi-sectorial and multi-dimensional; and appreciate the role that an international network like the ILC can play. To ensure proper documentation of the learning process, a team of knowledge consultants from CTA joined the group. Partnering with CTA, the ILC wanted to document cases that can help understand and show how equitable access to land helps improve agriculture and rural livelihoods.

Participants included partners who travelled from Italy and Kenya and from different parts of Tanzania regions. They included a team from the ILC, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery (MoLF), the National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC), the Tanzania Land Alliance (TALA), the Tanzania Natural Resources Forum (TNRF), the KINNAPA Development Programme, the HELP Foundation and a representative from the European Union (EU) delegation in Kenya.

What did we do?

The learning journey included going to the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP) areas in Tanzania, and meeting representatives of institutions at different levels. The purpose was to interact, talk and learn from project beneficiaries, implementers and governing authorities in the area, looking at the tangible and intangible outcome, and the long-term impact of the project known as “Fostering Gender Equitable Land Governance for Inclusive Agricultural Development including Pastoralism in Tanzania”. Financially Supported by IFAD, Irish Aid, the ILC, and the Government of Tanzania, this project used the NES, as a multi-layered and multi-stakeholders approach.

During the first day, the ILC and partners travelled to Dodoma: some participants came from Arusha whereas others came from Dar es Salaam, and this was a one-day trip. The two groups met in the evening for an interactive dinner where they all got to know each other. The second day started with a meeting with the representative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Christopher Liganga. After briefing him about the process, the team left for Kibaya, Kiteto, a trip that lasted for approximately 5 hours. At Kiteto, the District Commissioner, Mr Tumaini Magessa welcomed the team. A briefing followed this and closed the day.

During the third day the group went to the OLEGAPA villages. Here, participants met direct beneficiaries, heard from them, discussed, observed and documented their stories. The next day, a debrief meeting with the Kiteto District Commissioner and the District Council staff concluded the process.

What did we learn?

The journey helped identify many relevant issues, all of which were shared and have been summarised in a blog post on the ILC site: http://www.landcoalition.org/en/regions/africa/blog/inclusive-multi-stakeholders-approach-empowers-pastoral-communities-tanzania.

ILC online

But we also learned a lot about the process itself. Time, for example, was a big challenge. The nature of the process involved travelling for many hours, and we had little time for briefings, planning, informal talks and discussions. The briefings and informal talks made our documenting experience more interesting. Though there was not enough time to explain the experience capitalization approach, the informal talks helped us share information with a number of curious participants. We were able to meet many participants and collect many different opinions, but we feel now that this could have been better with more time.

We made a follow-up plan which would help us collect additional information, fetching contacts and materials presented during the meetings (previous activities reports). Another big challenge has been the slow response or feedback from participants who promised to talk to us after the field visit, but who later had no time for this. It was therefore difficult to get the clarifications, contributions and supporting materials we were promised. Looking back, we feel we should have tried to collect secondary information before the visit.

In short, we saw that the information shared largely surpassed our ability to collect it. This made us think of the advantage of having tools like tape and video recorders, especially when facing time constraints like we did. We can say that experience has helped us draw one big lesson. It helped us to understand that knowing the audience and planning every stage in the process of documentation and experience capitalization is not only a necessity, but also a priority.


© 2018, CTA. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation

CTA is a joint institution operating under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP Group of States (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and the EU Member States (European Union). CTA is funded by the European Union.