Enhancing agricultural land governance: Training the youth to solve disputes around land-based investments | Land Portal
Mesai Mitiku/GIZ RGIL
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Gambella Regional State in western Ethiopia is endowed with rich natural resources and fertile land for agriculture. This has attracted large-scale commercial investments in land which have been incentivized by the federal government’s agricultural development policies. Many of these    investments have led to conflicts over land with local communities who fear losing their land use rights. In this context, the Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resource (BoANRD) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has been working on land certification to secure local land users’ rights and to prevent conflicts between investors and local communities.

However, the process and performance of land registration and certification in the region has not met expectations. The major reason of  the process being hampered is due to a lack of mid-level trained personnel at district (woreda) and village (kebele) level. The inadequate surveying capacity of government staff has resulted in the wrongful delineation of communal areas and fishing grounds as well as investment areas in the process of land identification. This has incited conflicts between investors and local communities.

To respond to this pressing issue, BoANRD together with the Support to Responsible Agricultural Investment (S2RAI) project initiated a 3-years training on land registration and cadastral surveying for over 45 students from Gambella region at the Assosa Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education Training Center (AATVET) of the neighboring region of Benishangul-Gumuz.

“After completing [our] studies, we will be instrumental in resolving land related conflicts. [They are] a serious issue and we are to mitigate them that after having successfully graduated from the program,” says Korman Ujo, a student attending the training at the AATVET. Korman and his peers are confident to address various land administration challenges in the near future.

 Thirteen out of the 45 students are female, including Ajulu Gillo. Ajulu cherished the chance to attend the course, noting that “I am grateful for the chance to study on this campus because it gives me the confidence I need to be bold in the future.” After finishing her studies, she is certain that she will be employed as a surveyor in Gambella Region as she is then equipped with the necessary expertise to support both, her community and the region's land demarcation and registration efforts.

Her friend and fellow student, Ajulu Omod, adds: “Besides, we will act as key moderators in resolving land-related disputes between investors and the local community. I acknowledge that one of the main impediments to our region's overall economic development are land conflicts.”

All 45 students attend basic modules such as calculus, marketing, computer fundamentals, and entrepreneurship as well as specific surveying modules at the AATVET Land Registration and Cadastral Surveying Department. Such technical courses are salient for female students since their self-assurance is strengthened. Ultimately, they act as role model for other girls.

The GIZ S2RAI II project under the Global Program Responsible Land Policy is implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with financial support from the European Union.

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