The Landcode Initiative has its major foundation in the land rights movement which has been pivotal in promoting equitable access, use, ownership, and control of land across communities in Uganda. This has been mainly through project actions for ensuring people-centered land governance that recognise and protect the rights of the poor and vulnerable for fair land laws, policies and empowering rights holders for sustainable livelihoods.
The results of this earlier work have been very instrumental as a means to influence public policy and promote practice change in regard to land rights by engaging stakeholders as well as creating public demand through awareness raising campaigns, community sensitisation on land rights, public dialogue and stakeholder consultations, counselling, legal advice, mediation/ADR, free court representation, land mapping and demarcation of borders in communities, building capacity of community structures like agro pastoral farmer field schools, traditional/religious leaders, community-based paralegals/volunteers, women land rights advocates, male champions, community oversight persons, local council members and land management institutions.
Amidst this work has been the growing consideration of the post-2015 development agenda that focus on a world where extreme poverty has disappeared, everyone has access to adequate and nutritious food, decent jobs are available to all (including the vast numbers of young people entering labour markets, especially in developing countries), and natural resources are preserved and restored. This perspective gives birth to a new rationale for development which provides an opportunity to refocus policy emphases, community engagements, investment priorities and government-led partnerships to achieve development that is inclusive, sustainable and people-centred. However, there is a strong recognition of the centrality of land in this development process.
On this basis, Landcode is focusing its strategy towards actions for ensuring inclusive and fair tenure systems that can facilitate access to land, water, forests and other productive assets, supported by targeted activities that will promote women's opportunities to use and own these assets but also raise awareness of their legal rights as well as capacity to break power barriers so as to influence key decisions on resource allocation in their communities. There is equally a need to engage government to invest in key public goods that increase connectivity between rural and urban areas that enable remote communities to expand their productivity and access to wider market networks. Unfortunately, a number of land based investments at large scale in communities have been marred with lack of transparency in the transactions, little consultation with communities, poor involvement of women and youth, incommensurate compensation for foregone rights or interests, violation of certain fundamental rights and freedoms, to mention but a few.
Therefore, development efforts need to appreciate the requirement for increased infrastructural connectivity between rural and urban areas that enable remote communities to expand their productivity and enhance their competitiveness in accessing wider market networks. It is expected that when such investments involving large-scale transactions of tenure rights, including acquisitions and partnership agreements, are being considered, provisions will be made for different parties to conduct prior independent assessments on the potential positive and negative impacts that those investments could have on tenure rights, food security and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, livelihoods, ecosystems and the environment. Incidentally, these developments usually take place on vast land that is communally owned or sometimes where owners have not yet acquired formal recognition of their ownership rights and exploitation is prone to happen if no clear arrangement is put in place to protect the weak or ignorant. There is also a growing demand from the youth population for opportunities to engage in productive activities and increase their assets as a means of enhancing their livelihood options. It is evident that youth have the potential to overcome many traditional constraints in accessing productive assets, technology, finance, training and markets once they are effectively involved to become active stakeholders in community development. These are among some of the issues that prompt us to continually engage in innovative project initiatives that redefine successful community development work.