Our Change Theory

We premise our theory of change on the major understanding that land is the most socially emotive, culturally sensitive, politically volatile and economically central resource across all communities - posing challenges relating to tenure security and equitable access - amidst aspirations for achieving sustainable development. A number of development strategies like the eradication of hunger and poverty, and the sustainable use of the environment, the infrastructural aspirations highlighted above, all depend in large measure on how the state, communities or individuals gain access to land and other productive resources. The livelihoods of many people in our communities, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to, ownership of and control over these resources. They are the source of food and shelter; the basis for social, cultural and religious practices; and a central factor in driving economic growth for most indigenous communities yet face challenges of being governed irresponsibly.

Notably, governance of tenure is a crucial element in determining if and how people, communities and others are able to acquire rights, and associated duties, to use and control land, and other productive resources. Many tenure problems arise because of weak governance and attempts to address tenure problems are usually ineffective because the most fundamental principles are not adhered to. These are replaced by corrupt tendencies which lead to weak governance - consequently having adverse effects on social stability, sustainable use of the environment, investment and economic growth. Hence, people are condemned to a life of hunger and poverty when they lose their tenure rights and livelihoods because of such practices or where implementing agencies fail to protect their tenure rights. People may even lose their lives when weak tenure governance leads to violent conflict. Responsible governance of tenure conversely promotes sustainable community development and encourages responsible investment.

On the basis of the above, Landcode is working with the Ministry of Lands to form groups of people in communities and registering them into communal land associations (CLAs) for any purpose connected with communal ownership and management of land, whether under customary law or otherwise.The CLA model is being promoted given its potential to provide a formal people-centred arrangement through which its members can go beyond holding land to managing shared use in order to ensure inclusiveness, productivity and competitiveness. This may include focus on actions such as streamlining grazing arrangements to control stock types or quantities in response to epidemiological studies and any other strategic considerations like negotiating concessions or granting leases. Such mechanisms provide a starting point to embrace government-led modernisation policies and programmes, investing in wider markets, linking with agribusiness firms, and creating necessary value-addition retail chains beyond the small local economy. But most importantly, the CLA model provides a formally-agreed arrangement that closes the existing tenure governance gaps by streamlining ownership and management of land especially in the rural communities. These community groups can now be easily engaged in activities such as building capacity, raising awareness, registering land, demarcating boundaries, influencing reforms, conducting research, exchanging knowledge, and the like.

But these social goals need to be sustained and impact investing provides a good balance to complement traditional grants. Impact investing can empower the families in the CLAs to have big dreams and think creatively beyond the ways of life that have been ordinarily assumed to be normal. This in turn prompts them to become explicit about their shared values and reflect these in their investment and wealth management decisions. A common land management scheme also provides a framework by which an impact investing strategy can be integrated to engage every generation towards the leadership and management of their assets or resources in a more sustainable as well as profitable manner. The investors or outsiders can benefit from this responsible business arrangement where there is return on investing in community assets and resources without creating conflict.

Some of the major benefits for the communities through this arrangement include the improved community mind-set towards productivity and competitiveness; increased level of transparency and accountability for the shared resources; enhanced systems for ensuring responsible land use practices; increased social action towards promoting inclusive growth for everyone in the community; improved physical planning for public-private partnerships during planned infrastructural investments; as well as formalised mechanisms for business negotiations, product development, market linkages, value addition and supply chain improvements. The CLAs can also serve as a local mechanism closer to the people for strategic environment assessment, conflict management, gender mainstreaming, climate change mitigation as well as disaster and risks management. As a result we are envisaging diversified livelihoods, protected tenure rights, increased food security, improved infrastructural facilities, efficient people-centred governance, reduced gender disparities, strengthened market economy, and an empowered local populace.