The Maasai community of Musul have lived on the same land in Laikipia county for generations. It is their source of food and water, the heart of their culture and beliefs, and their ancestral home. But until recently, their legal rights to govern it were tenuous.
Matito Leruso was born and raised in the herding community of Lengurma in Isiolo County. Communal grazing land has been central to her community’s livelihood, wellbeing, and identity for generations, but they have never had their legal rights to govern it recognized. None of Kenya’s thousands of pastoralist communities have. This changed in 2016, with the passage of the Community Land Act. Since then, Matito has joined other residents of Lengurma in working to understand, use and shape the new law to ensure that their community land rights are respected and upheld.
By Deborah Espinosa and Patrick Gallagher, USAID’s Land Technology Solutions Program
Persistent and pervasive gender inequality is a global development challenge that constrains economic growth, educational opportunities, and health outcomes. It jeopardizes food security and undermines poverty reduction strategies. The world over, some formal and many informal laws and customs operate to hinder women’s empowerment and thus their full potential as agents of economic and social change.
Liberian NGO Green Advocates has been using OpenLandContracts.org to give rural communities more leverage in the decisions that affect their lands.
Access to justice is a key governance concern in developed and developing countries alike. Community legal workers aim to help poor or comparatively powerless people defend themselves against land grabs, obtain public services, and challenge corruption. Can this bottom-up approach counter powerful interests seeking to entrench their control? Can legal empowerment help respond to rising authoritarianism and repression of civil society?