LAND RIGHTS AND NATURAL RESOURCE GOVERNANCE
IMPACT helps communities of Northern Kenya secure land rights and create sustainable resource management blueprints. What we do:
Strengthening the capacity of pastoralists communities to map, manage and share their natural resources in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
Training communities for the effective protection of their customary land rights, as defined in the Community Land Act.
Improving communities' capacity to negotiate with government, investors and other stakeholders regarding the sustainable utilization of their natural resources.
Mapping of community land as defined by the most recent community land laws.
IMPACT held awareness-building forums regarding the Community Land Act in Laikipia, Samburu and Isiolo counties.
IMPACT has guided various group ranches within these counties through the first steps of the land registration process. In 2020, IMPACT plans on expanding its land registration support to other group ranches.
LAND REGISTRATION PROCESSES
In January, 2021 IMPACT embarked on a journey to find out what remains of community lands in Kenya since the enactment of the Community land act in 2016, and where they are located. IMPACT started conversations with government agencies, CSO's and village elders to map out opportunities and challenges communities have in registering their lands. IMPACT also mapped out the remaining communities and their location. It was found that some former group ranches were dissolved into individual parcels and some were acquired by the government for projects.
IMPACT is supporting communities in Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit in registering their land. The transition of the undissolved group ranches to community lands in Laikipia and Samburu counties has been quite smooth, unlike the unregistered community lands evidence by lack of progress in Isiolo, Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera which are largely former trust lands.
15 communities have gone through the processes and received their title deeds ,that is Ilngwesi,Musul,Mayianat,Nkiloriti,Tiamamut,Lekuruki ,Kijabe and Ilpolei from Laikipia north and Ltirimin, Marti ,Nonkeek, Opirpi, Lpus ,Tinga B and Sere Olipi from Samburu ,some communities are still on the registration process while others are awaiting title deeds.
Conversations with government agencies
Learning on Community lands
Mapping out opportunities and challenges
STRENGTHENING INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP
Land and natural resource rights
Since its establishment, IMPACT has made efforts to promote human rights and inclusion for all among men and women of Indigenous pastoralist, hunter and gatherer communities in Northern Kenya, paying attention to key issues affecting them such as land rights and historical injustices, protection of the natural environment and climate change, all of which exacerbate gender inequality.
The social, economic, ecological, and political environment in which IMPACT operates has constantly been evolving.
As such, this presents challenges and opportunities for addressing gender equality in equal measures.
Opportunities may be linked to the enactment of new legislative and development frameworks at the national, regional, and global levels that seek to strengthen gender equality.
The Constitution of Kenya (2010) by the Government of Kenya includes the Bill of Rights, the Community Land Act 2016, and the National Policy on Gender and Development sessional paper N0.2 of 2019 (the Republic of Kenya, 2019).
National legislation is complemented by regional and global commitments including Africa Agenda 2063, Global Agenda 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda.
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of Indigenous People, the Covenant on social and economic rights, UNDRIP, UNFCCC and UNCCD and the Beijing Declaration have continued to guide and anchor the work of IMPACT.
Despite great progress that comes with established legislation for the advancement of human rights and gender equality at the national, regional and global level, there continues to be glaring gender gaps at all levels of our society.
Women members of pastoralist or hunter gatherer communities, those widowed or living with disability, single mothers and older women are often worse off than their male counterparts. Such women often suffer from double discrimination from being both indigenous and women. This requires the promotion of gender equality to ensure protection of their human rights, sexual and reproductive rights, civic participation and economic development in their communities, national and international levels.
As the counties face the challenge of urbanization that comes with devolved government, the need to scale up efforts to ensure women’s rights, including rights to commercial land and property, is a priority.
The section below contextualizes the work of IMPACT from women’s perspective.
A documentary of communities from Marsabit, Isiolo, Laikipia and Samburu who came together at Twala women cultural manyattas and shared their successes and challenges as they continue to register their lands .
COMMUNITIES’ ENGAGEMENT-CLA IMPLEMENTATION
Several community meetings were conducted at the village level as shown below;
Fact-finding and in-depth study
CLA awareness meetings- community-wide meetings, village level meetings, radio talk shows
Filling of CLA form 1
Advertisement and election of CLMCs
Acquisition of deed maps from NLC offices
Adoption of the by-laws, register of members, minutes, and signing of CLA form 3
Submission of the registration documents to the office of the community land registrar
Figure 1: Nkaroni CLMC elections in Samburu County
Figure 2; Signing of CLA forms
TWALA INTER-COUNTY LEARNING VISIT
This event took place in Laikipia County, Twala Cultural Women- bringing together communities from Northern Kenya to learn and share experiences, the aim was to generate key lessons from communities that have managed to obtain their community land title. It was attended by PARAN Alliance members; Kivulini, Waso Trust land, SWT, and DLCI
Representatives from 11 former group ranches in Laikipia county; Makurian, Kurikuri, Lekuruki, Tiamamut, Mayiannat, Ilmotiok, Musul, Nkiloriti, Ilpolei and Munishoi.
Representatives from 7 former group ranches in Samburu County; Tinga B, Marti, Opiroi, Lpus, Sesia, Ltirimin, and Nkaroni.
Community members from Isiolo county; Kina, Kipsing, Merti, and Leparua
Community members from Marsabit county; Laisamis, Sololo, and Moyale
KAJIADO COUNTY LEARNING VISIT
This activity was organized for communities to understand the whole aspect of registering their land as community land vis-à-vis the increasing urge of private land ownership and change of land use.
The appetite for land subdivision in Samburu West will potentially lead to an increase in loss of the grassland for livestock as land fragmentation is expected to increase due to population growth, hence affecting the herd sizes as a result of the shrinking common pasture and water.With rising population and political/ the wealthy interference, there is the tendency to subdivide land into commercially unviable portions which affect quality grazing, a cow needs a certain acreage and proper care. This will erode the traditional values and livelihood that had sustained pastoralism for ages.
Outcomes and lessons learned from the visit
Almost all the former group ranches in Kajiado have been subdivided, land sales began way before the dissolution of the said group ranches, individuals selling their signatures/names in the register of members.
The biggest beneficiaries of land sales in Maasai land are the surveyors, they always propose to be allocated a piece of land instead of money.
There was an upsurge of Maasai brokers inviting buyers into Maasai land.
All the age sets were involved in land sales; however, the percentage of the youth is higher. The youth in particular sells the land to buy cars which requires maintenance subsequently leading to more land sales.
There are case studies of those who sold their land and currently working for the land buyers. A certain elder works at Mila’s farm as a watchman, that land originally belonged to him.
Another elder sold 100acres of land and bought Toyota pickup and cattle, it was reported that the said cows perished during drought season.
Those in power also manipulated the community considering that the rate of illiteracy is high in the area. The majority of the public servants in the county then, were individuals from other ethnic groups who manipulated the community to subdivide the land.
There are cases where individuals exchanged their land for power i.e., gave out the land for a chief’s position.
As a result of land sub-division, it attracted an influx of migrants into Maasai land subsequently leading to loss of political positions for the Maasai people i.e., in Ngong the Maasai community has no single political leader.
The Embolioi group ranch was subdivided among 301 members all Maasai and currently, 60% of the land is owned by foreigners.
From Isinya to Kitengela 75% of the population are non-locals, which is appealing to the political class [high number of votes], leading to neglect of the Maasai population living in the reserves.
The traditional social cohesion was broken, the community members no longer share resources, visit one another frequently, and support each other, individualism has been inculcated.
There is a change in land use, loss of grazing areas i.e., Kaputiei plains which was initially a grazing hub for the Maasai has now changed into private farms.
COMMUNITY LAND SUMMIT
IMPACT, National Land Commission, and other partners convened a national community land summit which lasted for 3 days from 22nd to 24th November 2021. The summit brought together the relevant stakeholders in the land sector, delegates from the national government Ministry of land and physical planning, county government officials, community delegates from 24 counties, and CSOs.
The summit was convened to deliberate and reflect on the implementation of the Community Land Act No.27 of 2016 five years since its enactment. It was an opportunity for communities to engage government officials on the efforts and challenges experienced in securing their collective tenure rights.