There is no doubt that land use and reforms are at the heart of Kenya’s political and economic future stability. In Kenya in particular, land has a central position in Kenya’s social, economic and political history. An estimated 75% of the country’s population depends on land for their livelihoods, making the ownership, management and control of the resource of great importance. Land is an enabler to support manufacturing, access to affordable and decent housing, universal health care, food security and nutrition. It is also a critical driver in urban development through regulating access to land and use to achieve security of tenure for all.
The webinar “The Land Reform Agenda for Kenya”, organized by the People, Land and Rural Development (PLRD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the University of Nairobi, the Kenya Land Alliance and the Land Portal on 10 October, 2018, addressed the land reform challenges in an attempt to define a path forward that will lead to equity and justice in land reform and use that benefits communities and increases food security. More specifically, panelists addressed the following questions: What are the implications of community land dispensation? How can the gender imperatives of land reform be actualised? How is digitization addressing underlying inconsistencies in land registries? What are the main challenges that need to be addressed in policy frameworks on land reform and use?
One of the recurring themes and ideas throughout the webinar was the fact that a main impediment to the land reform process in Kenya has been the disjointed duplication of efforts when it comes to land and natural resources. While what this points to is an eagerness and awareness that land issues are of critical importance when it comes to reducing poverty and ensuring food security, it also means that more coordination is still necessary to ensure that processes are as efficient as possible. As one panelist mentioned: “Government must realize that they can’t solve the land problem on their own and so they must be willing to engage. Actors must realize that criticizing government alone will not deliver land reform. This land is for communities and people in rural areas and they have to be on board.”
Knowledge generation and dissemination will be critical in supporting this. Clear and effective communication is necessary to understand who is doing what and how, and how different actors can play different, but complementary roles in the land reform process. Whether this happens in the form of press releases, reports or through other formats, this is where open data becomes a powerful tool for informed decision making at all levels. Miscommunication often occurs, not because of a lack of information, but rather because of disparities in information visibility, accessibility, consistency and completeness. The Land Portal works to help organizations both big and small, in bringing data that can often get stuck in the dark corners of the web, to the forefront, and to life. No amount of information is useful if it isn’t funnelled through to the right people and if we don’t allow if to get into the right hands and on the right desks!
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The webinar on the Land Reform Agenda for Kenya took place on 10 October, 2018. The webinar reviewed the land reform process in Kenya and addressed a range of challenges, with a view to defining a path forward that will lead to equity and justice in land reforms.
The webinar addressed the following questions: